If you see this site while traveling through the woods of New Hampshire, you might think you’d stumbled across the set of Stranger Things III. But actually, you were lucky enough to see the results of Camp Beamer, a youth camp with kids just as cool as the Stranger Things cast themselves.
Ninety children joined artist Shing Yin Khor in the woods to create Salvage Station No. 8. Salvage. Station No.8 is a participatory immersive art installation that transports visitors into an abandoned space station in the woods. The massive project was accomplished in just one week, with each participant dedicating long days to creating the finely detailed props and set. The space station is full of abandoned equipment and specimens from out of space that really convince visitors of the intergalactic narrative. The children also created stories and performances to help make their creation come to life.
The Beam Center "builds together with NYC youth, artists, engineers, makers and educators to connect people to projects that have purpose," according to its website.
"Young people learn to collaborate and create while learning skills in welding, physical computing, carpentry, ceramics, textiles, video, programming and design. Projects help young people build their character and self-esteem, develop skills that are useful in today’s workplace, and prepare for a life of continual learning and meaningful action."
Another incredible sculpture from Summer 2017 was the Kinetic Cluster (see video below). The campers designed the structure to be hyper-reactive to human movement, it even includes origami paneling.
Usually, its activities take place in the classrooms of New York schools but every year Beam Camp takes children to New Hampshire to focus especially on building and collaboration. In the past, the camp has created other incredible projects such a giant flip books and kinetic pavilions. The Beam Center provides both full and partial scholarships to ensure that kids of all demographics are able to participate. The Beam Center is currently looking for projects for the 2018 camp. If you have some idea, then you can get in touch with them to get involved.
Artist, Shing Yin Khor aka Sawdust Bear creates comics, 'zine, and installation artist. Their practice focuses on revealing human ritual and our yearning for other words. Her large immersive installations are designed to transport visitors to another world. They have exhibited these installations in galleries and festivals across the US including Burning Man Festival. Sawdust Bear's work as a cartoonist has been published in The Toast and Bitch Magazine, and they recently completed their first full-length graphic novel about traveling Route 66. The graphic novel is going to be published by Zest Books in the winter of 2017.
Teaching children practical skills like basic carpentry and machine usage instills a sense of purpose and builds confidence. It can also equip them with the ability to logically think through problems and understand the way things are constructed. It can also help prevent disaster DIY projects in the future. If you weren't lucky enough to be involved with something like The Beam Centre as a child, it is never too late to learn some hands-on wood skills. There are many community tool shops out there where you can take a beginners course that will set you on the path to building your own space control center.