urbanus vulgaris

urban life & culture / ideas & insights / innovation & development

Category: societal insights

Today is a great day to publish an insight on creativity.

by jiookrednav

150104_John Cleese on creativity

Well I started to get interested in creativity about thirty years ago, because I went to a conference at Cambridge and I started reading the research and I started comparing it with my own experience and I got very, very interested in it and I also got interested in the fact, that basically once you’ve established one or two principles, that’s all you can say about it, because to sum up something I sometimes take three hours to say:

All creativity comes from the unconscious. If creativity came from logic and intelligence, then all the logical and intelligent people could do it. But they can’t. It all boils down to getting to a playful and relaxed frame of mind. Most of it has to do with relaxation, because unless you’re relaxed you can’t hear the promptings from the unconscious.

Nobody ever had a bright idea when they were attacking a machine-gun-nest. You see what I mean? If you’re occupied with activity -and that is one of the reasons why there’s so little creativity at the moment, because nobody gets any peace any more, because these damn things are ringing all the time, and beep there and you know. You sit down, another e-mail comes in. It’s absolutely poison, because interruptions and anxiety will kill any kind of creativity.

You have to get in an atmosphere where you’re a little bit in a cocoon of you’re own, you close the door or you go sit in the park and you just stay quiet and for 20 minutes nothing happens, because you can only think of the things you ought to be doing: You know, people you forgot to telephone…, so you have to have a little notebook and you write those down and after 20 minutes, the mind starts to calm down, just as it does in meditation, it’s almost an identical process. And then if you start thinking about the subject, not too hard, you don’t want to get tense, play with the thought, and you get little ideas start popping up, but if you’re mind is full of, zoom, zoom beep, beep, you’ll never hear those little ideas, it’ll be drowned out you see what I mean?

This remarkable insight was explained by John Cleese in this interview, starting at about 52 minutes: http://www.npo.nl/college-tour-special-john-cleese/25-12-2014/VPWON_1234760

And here’s some more from Cleese on this blog:

As well as identifying that ideas and breakthroughs percolate in the deep recesses of our brain, Cleese talked about some of the key, practical traits of truly creative people. In doing so he told a story of Brian Bates, a psychology professor at Sussex University. Intrigued by how the creative mind works, Bates chose to study the work practices of architects, because the profession required the combination of two brains in the creation of beautifully groundbreaking yet structurally sound buildings.

“He did a very simple test. He asked various architects to name who, in their opinion, were the most creative architects in the field. He then asked those creative architects to tell him what they do from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed. He then went to the uncreative architects—without perhaps explaining that’s why he was talking to them—and asked them the same thing. Then he compared the two. He discovered two differences, and neither was to do with intelligence.”

“The first thing he discovered is that the creative architects knew how to play. They could get immersed in a problem. It was almost childlike, like when a child gets utterly absorbed in a problem. The second thing was that they deferred making decisions as long as they could. This is surprising.”

“If you have a decision to make, what is the single most important question to ask yourself? I believe it’s ‘when does this decision have to be made’? When most of us have a problem that’s a little bit unresolved, we’re a little bit uncomfortable. We want to resolve it. The creative architects had this tolerance for this discomfort we all feel when we leave things unresolved.”

“Why would those two things be importance? The playfulness is because in that moment of childlike play, you’re much more in touch with your unconscious. The second is that when you defer decisions as long as possible, it’s giving your unconscious the maximum amount of time to come up with something.”

Summing it up, he narrows it down to 5 Lessons in this lecture (transcript here). “Creativity is not a talent, it’s a way of operating”:

150104_John Cleese on creativity 02

  1. Space (“You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”)
  2. Time (“It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.”)
  3. Time (“Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original,” and learning to tolerate the discomfort of pondering time and indecision.)
  4. Confidence (“Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”)
  5. Humor (“The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.”)

 

Advertisements

Flashback: Some 25 years ago some people had their first banana.

by jiookrednav

titanic-banane

Meet “Zonen-Gaby”  from the Germany Democratic Republic. This year the “Mauerfall” is 25 years ago and I saw this legendary magazine-cover from 1989 in today’s newspaper. ;)

The cover takes a pun at traditional media of the time, that portrayed the new Germans with western consumer goods and western products reducing new found freedom to, well, consumption.

Die Zeit: New life on the Stalin Allee in Berlin

by jiookrednav

henselmann

“Berlin, this post-war rubble. Today it is mangy and sexy, cheap and showy, brash and noble. A city of contrasts, which is converting towards the most exciting city in Europe. The signs are everywhere. And especially in one particular street. A street whose history reflects the post-war history of Berlin.

The Karl -Marx -Allee begins near the TV tower at Alexanderplatz, extends nearly three kilometres to Friedrichshain and is wider than the Champs- Élysées with 90 meters. “The last great European boulevard built”, said the Italian architect Aldo Rossi about it.

Built as the Stalin Avenue in the early fifties in “Soviet-pastry-house style”, Germany’s first socialist main road should impress the rest of the world. The workers of the GDR should be awed and delighted. A few months later these workers lit the popular uprising of the 17th June 1953 on the Parkway . The Red Army had to help quell the launching revolution.

More than two decades after the street was renamed Karl -Marx -Allee, East Berliners again demonstrated on their boulevard, now for the fall of the wall. Then: the German unification, euphoria, disappointment, unemployment, the rediscovery and Gentrification of the avenue.

There are still people living here, who have experienced it all. And many newcomers. We have visited them. For the portrait of a road.”

Beautiful website by the influential German newspaper “Die Zeit” presenting the Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin:

http://www.zeit.de/kultur/karl-marx-allee/index.html#prolog

Tip: Google Chrome offers automatic translation!

Why you will fail to have a great career

by gailiute

Well this is definitely one of the funniest and the most inspiring talks i heard recently!

Failed Architecture platform

by gailiute

Though it does not explain much about Failed Architecture platform, this video gives nice short overview about the position of the architect in the  minds of society.

Becoming local

by gailiute

Rasa Anaityte shared a nice reminder-documentary film about how our societal habits became so mass production/ artificial and unhealthy, that buying and eating local food is such fascinating thing to do, instead of being obvious (thank God we still have grandmas and grandpas in the villages and  cherry and apple trees in summer gardens in Lithuania :P :)

Description:

Do you know where your food comes from?

In the past ten years, the organic food industry has become big business and consumers have been left wondering exactly what the word “Organic” means and how they can really know what they’re eating.

With the rise of farmer’s markets and more and more chefs sourcing their ingredients from local farms, consumers are now able to meet and talk to the people who are growing their food.

LOCAL discusses the rise of the local food movement, the challenges of sourcing locally and how it’s become a growing part of the Austin, Texas food scene.

This documentary is the November film in my 12 Films Project, where I make one short film every month in 2011. To see the other films or to learn more about the project, visit the website at:

12filmsproject.com

Welcome to Lagos

by gailiute

I want to share with you great documentary series from BBC  that explore some of the most extreme urban environments in the world. The first one is about the dump in Lagos, city that hosts ~16 million people.

As the editors of the programme says:

“The dump became   symbolic of everything we were trying to achieve in the films. It looks at   first sight like a rough, lawless, dangerous place, and most people in this   country will be horrified to see people working there. But in actual fact,   through the eyes of the people who actually DO work there, it’s a   well-organised place where there’s good money to be earned. Decent, honest   people choose to work there, preferring a life of grime to a life of crime.   Some of them are university graduates. They are proud of   the fact that they earn an honest living, and are making a better life for   themselves and their families through sheer determination and hard work.”

The second documentary is about Makoko – the huge floating slum, a home to 100 000   people living on houses built on stilts. This video is the start of the second documentary set. Since I did not find the full one, the rest you can follow on youtube. Makoko is quite famous as I understood, it has a website, www.makoko.org,  where projects dealing with this environment, are presented. I did not know, thats new for me.

The last part is about the sandy beach in the city of Lagos. Sunny and nice, it is an attractive place – and actually ~1 000 people reside there. Well squat the area to be more precise. And not because of the attractiveness or suitability of the area, but because they have nowhere else to live. The video is also the first set of part 3.

In the end after watching all of this, I got confused. Not that I felt urgent need to change my life, or to be a good will ambassador, or to help the poor – I just got confused because it seems that we exaggerate all problems. We have none :)

Good watching!

 

Suburbia is starting to die?

by gailiute

1335545624-suburb-intro1

While scanning through numerous articles about suburban life, I came over a few articles and posts that american dream of living in a nice suburban house actually is not a dream anymore. Well, at least for a small, but constantly growing part of society. Authors basically support this idea of decreasing amount of car users in generation Y (by the way, I did not know that we are called generation Y, that’s something new for me!) and increasing per cent of suburban poor, which means, according to the authors, that higher educated or “smarter” or anyhow “better” people tend to exchange suburbs to a better & compact city life. Of course, the authors admit that there will always remain those, who, despite anything, will adore suburban life.

Well, could be true, could be just a nicely played with a few statistical figures, but good to know.

And as for us, in Lithuania, I don’t think that suburbia is going to die soon, we’re just in the middle of creating it. Still need some time..

Pictures taken from here:

http://www.archdaily.com/230276/infographic-burbs-going-bust/

1335807541-suburbia3

Taking back the city – One of the most recent inspiring talks

by gailiute

At the beginning of this talk I was a bit sceptical hearing the claims such as “the colours decreased the crime rate”, “citizens started belonging to the place”, etc. Because I thought it’s a bit nonsense. Nonetheless, the more I heard, the more I am convinced that every word from this politician and a man is 100% true. Of course it is not only the colours that changed the situation in the city; he managed to do some pretty incredible things for citizens well-being in the last twenty years too: clearing riverbanks and giving back to public, creating lots of parks, planting trees, demolishing illegal constructions, diminishing corruption in the administration level, bringing green tax in action (and what is more important – achieving that everybody pays it) and as I understood many others.

I highly recommend to view this talk to get a good dose of optimism and inspiration. And I really want Kaunas would have at least half of this politician! Imagine, then it finally would become a real city! :D

Here are some images of painted Tirana:

http://blog.ted.com/2013/02/08/9-views-of-tirana-albania-with-its-bright-multicolored-building/

We could argue that it looks odd, childish, stupid, etc. However I think that it is better like this, then like nothing is done.

Cheers!

Doug Saunders: Arrival City

by vytasvulgaris

About nothing new-urban and rural relationship:  about often unnoticed and undervalued potentials of immigrant neighourhoods, social traps of  restrictive zoning  policies, planning and design. (Once again a great journalist appears to be an even greater urbanist. )

%d bloggers like this: