Archives for posts with tag: Thinking

Recently, I have had a bit of an obsession with process, it seems to me so much more important, more powerful, erotic even than the result of the process, the product.

Another way to say it is that the act of creating resonates so much more with me than the creation.

As a public performer, I may be biased because it is always about the act of creation, not the final product, creating is ephemeral, it is empathic.

In thinking even of failure, it seems the only way to truly value failure, is to understand the value of the process. Failure is critically valuable if the process was something we could learn from. And failure in and of itself is not so bad if the process was enlightening.

Theres something about process that allows it to be shared, shared in a way that really allows for creation.

Elaine Scarry talks about the third site of beauty being creation, in that, when we encounter beautiful things, we ourselves want to make beautiful things.

In this respect, I think process is even more empowering, because when we encounter a beautiful process, we are not only incited to create, we are also given the tools how.

In her talk at Parsons on Designing Big Society, Lucy Kimbell talked about how she and her husband built their home while living in it. It seemed to me that she was living the design process, inhabiting an unfinished space, making decisions on the fly, constructing from the inside, and working on a team with the neighbors and construction workers and handymen to make this happen.

I was most intrigued with the thought, that the neighbors, city officials and construction workers were exposed to a living, breathing design process, a way of living and of thinking, and I wonder, how much they empathized with it. How much of it bled over into their lives, their manner of thinking, their ways of making and doing.

Process just seems much more beautiful than its outcomes. Because it can be shared, because it can be adopted, reused and even recycled.

Earlier today I read a blog post by Frank Chimero called Designer’s Poison. In it he talked about what he felt some of the most crucial challenges for design, as we move forward. One particularly resonated with me. It was about a shift from teaching and valuing design as a noun and moving towards design as a verb.
And it seems the biggest debates in design and business right now center around this very notion.

We need to learn to love and embody process, not necessarily its outcomes.

How do we do it? Should we do it?

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I’ve been pondering this question a lot recently. It seems to me that most people run away from theory, they think its for the educated, that its excessively smart, beyond them, browbeating. There seems to be a hate and distrust for critical theory, philosophy, thought.

It seems to me that philosophy and theory are empowering, they are not ways in which we are told that we are too dumb, but rather i feel its one of our only defenses against the world.

We are fragile, and small, so small in fact that most of the time, it feels like the world may just overwhelm us, that things just seem to be so far out of our control that its easy to throw our hands up and hide our heads in the ground. Critical thought is a way to give our actions meaning, it allows us to think that we fit into some kind of framework, that somehow it all makes sense.

We look for meaning because meaning lets us feel powerful, its like saying “HA WORLD, I put you into my little thought box!” Its bringing order to nothing, its enclosing meaninglessness, and meaninglessness is frightening.

But it seems that most people don’t realize this, they think its just a bunch of educated people writing senseless things to make them feel stupid and dumb.

Or they just don’t need it.

Am I the only one that feels powerless and insecure? So insecure that I thirst for thought, to put the world in a box?

My problem with keeping too many tabs open in my browser has become so bad that I am actually developing a fear of links.

Because I worry I will find more interesting information, and it will be another tab, and more things getting delayed, and more information to process, when I already had so many open interesting things to read.

Sometimes I give up and solve the problem by creating bookmarks. But thats not a valid solution because those bookmarks also get unmanageable and inevitably I ignore the bookmarks because they are out of sight and open up more tabs.

Firefox in its beta version, maybe its new version, Havent used it, introduced a way to organize and group tabs by themes. This was good for a while, but it didn’t quite solve the problem.

But all of this brings up a different issue as well. Many times I keep tabs open because they are relevant to a project I am working on, or a post I am writing or something. And to close it, means that I won’t find it again. The information is not crucial enough to take up important space in my bookmark bar, so it never makes it there.

There needs to be a way to navigate and recall the information that i go through on the web.

I initially thought that I would be using twitter to keep an archive of information I found relevant, but I have increasingly discovered that it is not a valid tool for that, it has no built in search feature, no way of organizing data to other relevant data, no topics architecture, etc.

What I feel I need is the digital equivalent of a library or a bookshelf. A way to organize and archive my links and tabs, by topics, by author, by blog. With a dewey decimal system, or a dating system, and built in search. Its like my bookshelf but digital, so that I can come back to it, and glance over it.

Kindles are great and all, but the bookshelf in my apartment lets me glance at it and find many books relevant to what I am working on, and I can pull them all out. Kind of like opening a bunch of tabs.

Clearly, this would also need a section that organizes things that are most recent, that I didn’t get a chance to read yet, or perhaps that I haven’t organized yet. All of those open tabs are like a bunch of books on my coffee table that haven’t been put on their proper spot in the bookshelf.

I’m sure theres something that exists for this, somewhere, right? #milliondollaridea!!!

So the final question really is 2 questions.

1. How do we navigate through transient data (tabs that aren’t destined for bookmarking)?

2. How do we remember on the web?

Because learning and education are things that I think about a lot.

Because I am now 1 month away from being graduated.

Because of many other reasons as well, I have started to think about this question.

Being in a university, is a very safe experience. It is a lot like being spoon-fed, you have a traditional learning environment and teachers, and courses and majors and disciplines, and if you manage to get a very good advisor it is entirely possible to go through college without ever making any serious decisions about what you are learning.

This is not at all to say that decisions aren’t being made at all, but many times, we don’t questions certain things about our education. A graphic designer doesn’t ask why he has to take color theory, its already been decided. But a graphic designer also doesn’t ask why they aren’t taking calculus classes.

So essentially where I am headed is this idea that we get a spoon-fed education but in the end we don’t come out like gingerbread men out of a cookie cutter, we all have different skills and different competencies, even if we took the same classes.

Thats because we teach ourselves, somehow, somewhere. Some of us read, some of us write, some of us surf the web, etc. Theres more in depth discussion on how we learn here and here @ whataretheseideas. The second link discusses the differences between active learning and passive learning.

Now that I will no longer be a student, I will have to become way more active in my education, I won’t have the luxury of being spoon-fed anymore.

And so I have been thinking recently, that there are so many new innovative things happening related to education. MIT Open CourseWare, Khan Academy, Ted, Skillshare, Brooklyn Free School, etc.

The resources exist to teach yourself, how do we do it?

How does one remain an active learner after college?

Are there systems in place that can help one navigate new tools?

How do you learn?

Something that I have been thinking about a lot recently is that question above.

In my own experience, I am never as creative as when i’m hurt. I start to write poems, and write letters, and draw things. I blast music really loud and start dancing, making up rhythm and motion, creating a dance.

I wonder where this urge comes from, to make, to create?

Maybe it has a lot to do with going back to being human. – all that Heideggerian stuff — Man is as Man Dwells thus Man is as Man Makes.

And that when we feel hurt, we do the only thing we can which is create, bring things to life, love. We do that which is the most human thing we can do, we try to feel like we are a part of something, a part of humanity, a part of culture?

Maybe its like the argument Elaine Scarry makes on beauty and that it unselfs you and makes you want to protect?

We try to make beautiful things to step outside of ourselves, to then see that beauty.

Or her argument in “Body in Pain” where creation is the act of taking away someones pain?

Worldmaking?

Is creation a healing process?

Am I the only one who creates after heartbreak?

 

There will be a series of posts on this topic moving on as I am currently reading The New Capitalist Manifesto by Umair Haque.

So far, its mouthwateringly exciting. And I have only read the introduction by Gary Hamel.

But there is already room for discussion. Hamel gives us some new facets that the businesses of old capitalism will have to re-think.

One of these, is the idea that businesses will have to start thinking about customers as more than just the people who purchase their products but as all the people who are influenced by them and their products.

This is certainly revolutionary, or maybe its not so revolutionary in that we are slowly realizing that you cannot ignore the people around you, thats just bad for business.

So what does that mean? Who are the customers now?

What are they buying if not only the products?

How do we understand the currency that is influence?

what does that mean for corporate fairplay?

And what does this mean from a service perspective?

I am sure that many of these questions will be addressed as I progress into the book, and many more will come to mind.

But lets start with these no?

I was talking to a friend today and he went on a rant about a conference at Columbia about business in china. The talk he was angry about was the talk on green tech and alternative energy.

He was angry about the fact that the extent of the problem solving going on was technological i.e. replace polluting cars with electric cars.

They gave no consideration to service design and tackling the problem non linearly. i.e don’t rethink the car, rethink moving.

Why do our corporations and businesses have such a hard time thinking non linearly?

How do you think laterally?

How do you think multi-dimensionally/(circumferentially)?/(circularly)?

I just watched a video of Masahiko Yendo, an experimental architect, talking about his work. My first question was “what is experimental architecture, and what good is it if it isn’t real?” He answers that first part pretty early on:

“My take on experimental architecture is non-built, and is the pursuit of trying to figure out or trying to understand the meaning of building, construction, destruction, or assigning function, rather than function itself. As an architect, I try to embrace as many non-architectural issues as possible, because the technological aspects of architecture are very much solvable…. My process is the process of discovery, so experimentation is other than a drive to some sort of conclusion or solution. LINK TO VIDEO

He mentions later about a story of two kids, where one is imprisoned somewhere, but then he counters that “it really just depends which side the lock is on”. Its an interesting thought: Israel is currently building a wall around the Palestinian Territories, but in effect, it is also building a wall around itself, locking itself almost as much as it locks Palestine.

With that in mind, here’s a few questions to think about:  To what degree do fantastic ideas like M.C. Eschers change the way we think about architecture, do Borges’ and Burroughs’ word games change the way we thinking about knowledge and writing? How important is it to have something unreal or fantastic for reality to chase after?

And most of all, the core of problem comes from the idea that all communication is miscommunication. How important is the unattainable ideal, in relationship to the real, and thus how does that failure shape our world?   RK