Whenever I hear the word STEAM, I don't think of a better version of STEM. I think of steam punk. And when I think of steam punk, I think of hipsters. And it has me thinking about what a hipster STEM lab would look like.
I imagine a gamification area, complete with old Nintendos and maybe a Commodore 64 or two. Instead of a blogging area, there would be a set of typewriters and stamps. Maybe some Moleskines on the table, along with some markers. And a graffiti wall with real graffiti along with a coffee table book of Banksy art. I'm imagining Poloroids, real ones, the kind that you shake, instead of Instagram.
The recording studio would have magnetic tape or maybe just cassettes, because, you know, that hissing sound makes you feel nostalgic. I'm guessing we would have an overhead projector replacing the SMART Board, because, it is, you know, really vintage these days.
We would have a steam punk area, too. Real, steam-powered objects. Kids could weld together those strange glasses and make their own top hats and perhaps a pocket watch or two. We could do this while listening to This American Life.
And then it happens.
I start missing those things. I start wanting to visit this hipster STEM space for another shot at Tetris and maybe a chance to sketch something in a Moleskine. What begins as a farcical idea becomes a reminder that what some people view as hipster pretentiousness is really just a recognition that there is value in what we left behind. Maybe music sounds better on vinyl. Maybe. And maybe there is a simple beauty in a typewriter. Maybe it allows people to be more careful with words.
Maybe we could use a hipster STEM lab.