As a visual artist I am used to having pre-formed images pop fully formed into my head. It is a weird and magical experience to have one drop into view like the next slide in a cosmic powerpoint. I love these moments. Even so, I was unprepared for the power of the instant that lies at the heart of Hardshell Labs. I had just given a presentation to the Desert Tortoise Council on our early tests of lasers as raven repulsion devices with my laser building friend Pete Bitar, of XADS Corp. The talk went well and created a buzz. At dinner Pete and I were talking and he said, “I’ve been thinking of making a laser that could be controlled over the internet and using it for zapping pigeons on ledges. Make it a game.” The picture that statement formed sank deep into my mind. I told Pete I thought it was brilliant.
At four the next morning, four stories above the pavement of Las Vegas in Sam’s Town Casino and Hotel, I awoke, thunderstruck by the idea that conservation work could be a series of games played by people not physically present. The thought that the world wide web could be used to save the wild world web and help people fall in love with this planet of wonders seemed magically elegant. The care of this idea has fallen to me and I am humbled by the assignment. I don’t know where ideas come from but this one has never felt like “mine”. It feels like “ours” and my job is to share it.