Building the Maze

I built a simple maze out of wood, with an entrance and an exit. I made it pretty forgiving - there are no dead ends.

To make it more complex, I created a rule: you had to start with a ball at BOTH ends of the maze and simultaneously get each ball to its opposite exit. This was hard but more fun to play. 

Explaining it to a friend, I said this like trying to optimize for two separate things simultaneously. You often make progress on one while losing ground on the other. After playing it a few times, it's clear you need to focus on one, make some progress and then switch to the other. Despite your best efforts, you're still just alternating between two single optimizations.              


At the start of this project I was reading a memoir by an artist that day and she wrote how many hundreds of sketches she does, some of them are the basis for a future work, some of them are just part of the practice. This piece was sort joyful to make - fun to just build a maze, deciding piece by piece on the next turn.

Partway thought I stopped and this is what I saw. There was a partial-maze and then an opening. It felt like a great metaphor - part of life is a maze, but maybe part can shift and begin to feel much more open. It’s no longer a set of reactions, or at least not the same set of reactions.

It felt like an art piece. So I kept working, trying to make it into a toy.

When I finished the maze, it was a toy. I played with one ball version, then the two ball version discussed above. 

Now I’m finished with it and it’s a sketch again. I’m thinking of the next maze. How much will I pre-compute and design what I’m going to make? Will I just start cutting and building? Can I just let the process be open-ended and, like the partial-maze, see what shows up?

Someone wrote me with the question, "Can I get out of the maze and enjoy liberty in the balance of my life? What's the key to liberation?" 

It's almost like the predicted the next maze.


It is a maze, at first, that then opens into a world where the walls are gone. There are just people, other balls, and in this design they're glued down. It’s the movement from a sort of single player mode where life is obstacles or achievements to multi player game where life is understood and enjoyed through relationships.

Excited to see what the next version brings!