Integrating the project into the MIT museum:

I’ve been thinking about how this project might be unique to MIT in particular, and I thought of how the mission statement was about turning MIT “inside out”. There’s a lot of projects showcased in the museum, but not so much about the people and the culture at MIT. I’d consider life at MIT an aspect of the “inside” that isn’t really shown to the “outside”. Although I can’t speak for grads, PHDs, and all the other people involved in the community, I can definitely speak for the undergrads.

Firehose culture!

MIT has a lot of stereotypes, some true, some not so much. There is what we call firehose culture here though! Here’s MIT Admissions comment on it:

What does “drinking from a fire hose” mean? Getting an education from MIT has been likened to taking a drink from a fire hose—the sheer number of opportunities and rigor of our coursework can leave students feeling hosed. So it’s only fair that students must pass a swim test in order to graduate!

Although this may or may not be experienced by other visitors, I felt a similar experience going through the MIT museum. There’s so much cool stuff happening and being showcased, yet at some point, I ended up feeling “hosed”. There’s a lot, almost too much. I’m curious about them all, but can’t at the same time because there’s so much to think about.

The exchange space on the second floor can be a wonderful place for visitors to pause and reflect on the exhibits and take a mental break before going to the 3rd floor, which is even more packed with various cool gadgets and things to explore. To expand on the initial concept, I was thinking of using this place when it’s idle to show visitors MIT’s culture (the “people” side of the “inside”) and also express the importance of pausing to swallow before continuing to drink from the fire hose.

My GRA asked me yesterday what I do with my free time to reset. While I was able to give a firm answer, many others weren’t. Most breaks were unintentional, and don’t really feel like “breaks”- but rather a time skip to the next drink. She told me that she’s been trying to be more intentional with her breaks. It’d be nice to be able to introduce that with people.


As for contents displayed on the screen at the exchange, I was thinking of introducing 4 types of meditation and where/when they could be used, as well as an example practice for each. This would be in addition to introducing “firehose culture”.

  1. Grounding practices, in comparison to
  2. Inquisitive/Exploratory practices.

  3. Open awareness practices, in comparison to
  4. Practices for Focus.

Practices include:

  1. Ice diving/bath, ujjayi breath (breathing like Darth Vader through the nose)
  2. Following the breath- where does it go? Can you feel it at weird non-intuitive places? Listening to your internal sounds- plug your ears and listen!
  3. While meditating, asking yourself what you are/your identity is, and ask where that comes from.
  4. Trataka- gazing at a lit candle (with a set of instructions)

These can be relatively short practices, so visitors can easily move on to the third floor afterwards with a fresh state of mind.