Well I was a few weeks ago in a city I had never visited before. I happily wandered alone for hours, “nose in the wind”, and I entered an concrete official building.
The sun was shining and the light was joyfully playing inside of it. Like all happy Instagram kids who discovered a spot, I unpocketed my phone off to take a couple of pictures.
But the guardian jumped off his shack and groped my shoulder like : “Mister you can’t take pictures here”. Then, sweetly solemn : “The Architect does not allow it”. He probably closed his eyes for two seconds, in sign of Respect…
Don’t take pics in museums or in concerts, that’s normal, right? But in the hall of a building… Why? A desire to control the uncontrollable? A fear of being ideas-stolen? Pure meanness? Shame?
If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun, says K. Hepburn, who is here a little red devil in my head. But in the same way my little white angel on the other side of my head provides me a teaching like “Maturity is to do things even if your parents told you to do it”. Errr… That’s a dance! Go tango, white and red!
Between this and that in a choice, I choose both, most of the time. Obedience is OK under your country’s Laws, but for the rest… Damn rules! When you feel like they are a moronic way to invent problems, you ask yourself :
“What if I kill the rule, now, in this second? What will happen REALLY?”.
Mmhh. Maybe something I ignore.
OK, here’s the picture. Red guy won. Argh.
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I own a book named “About Ambiguity in Architecture“, by Robert Venturi. The title itself is promising, right?
There’s a Wikipedia page about Ambiguity.
It’s not the “vague” meaning here, but a way to be this and that “at the same time”.
At a very simple level, we all understand that. A gallery is a room and a corridor, and a dam can also be a bridge. In the same way, a road can also be a frontier, right?
Then, when you have this “tool”, you can begin to play.
Ambiguity as a force, not a weakness.
- Is “double function” the same as “at the same time” (obviously not)? Explain.
- At the same time : function of signification?
- Double function now, or at different times?
- Something can be esthetically pleasing and useful at the same time, right? But what other and more surprising uses/couples can you invent?
- What if you show there’s an ambiguity? Why? How?
- How a contradiction could be a strength?
- What happens when something is tragic and funny?
- Can a friend also be a lover?
What’s your field? Teaching? Photography? Poetry? Blogging? How would you apply all this? When is it a game? A path to progress? When is it a danger? Do you have to explain ambiguity? What if you don’t?
Have fun. And a nice day! Thanks for reading !
“The struggle of maturity is to recover the seriousness of a child at play”.
Call it “cheap structuralism”, because it is what it is. Or topography.
Here I choose to casually watch two territories, A and B.
It can be two apartments, two countries, but also two states (healthy/sick, or single/in couple), two styles, two blogs, anything by two.
Then you can begin to play :
- If there’s a A and a B there’s a frontier. What is it made of?
- Is it a line, like between two countries? Is it a wall? Symbolic?
- A place (called C) which is a “space between”?
- Do you have to study or focus on C?
- Is there a door or many doors? Who opens, closes?
- A bridge? Who build it?
- Are A and B bonded? By what?
- A and B can be different things (a house/outside) or the same nature (two people?)
- When you have A and now also B, you own both. Kill the frontier, or keep both distinct territories inside you, like two facets? Like the two Germanies?
- A becomes B is a mutation. Then where’s the border?
- Rubicon process : once you crossed the border, A doesn’t “exist” for you anymore. Burnt bridge!
The tool is funny to use : determine if your problem can be structured as A and B (Do I have to live in the same place as my lover? Should I merge my two blogs? What is convalescence?).
Thanks for reading!
It’s an old tool many artists know : many constraints are fruitful. Mainly because a constraint is a problem calling for a solution, therefore you have to move, to be creative.
All jobs and activities have constraints : budget, environment, other people, time, space, your skills, your tools.
If it’s too loose, though, you feel a freedom, which can be messy. You can not catch anything. Stuck. You maybe need to tight something up, to find “your” freedom within a new frame.
Brian Eno invent the Oblique Strategies (mainly for musicians) as a card game. You pick a card and you have to obey (sometimes it’s terrible!). Some directors are well known to tell the actors to follow precisely something (the dialogs, or the places they have to move on the set, etc) before shooting. Some digital artists sometimes go out in a park with a pencil and a notebook. A photographer can go outside with the limit of 20 pictures taken, not much. And G. Perec wrote an entire book without the letter “e”.
Constraints are fruitful. You probably have many disposable levers for these. A poet can obey : write something in alexandrine; without any letter “p”, in less than 5 minutes. You may have to present a project in ONE minute only, and… with no words. What are your levers?
You can pull a lever to Zero, it’s the Total Constraint. For example, you’re a photographer and you go out without any camera. Just your eye. You’ll feel the need, you’ll feel your brain simmering. As you can only watch and… think, you’ll maybe have bursts of ideas (instead of taking pictures).
Of course it’s an example of “Amor Fati”, being content with what happens to you, even if it seems bad. Embracing fate : every constraint, if you can’t avoid it, should (and will have to) be danced with.
Thanks for reading!
Instagram : f_pilvi
William Carlos Williams, recalling his first viewing of Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase : “I burst out laughing from the relief it brought me! I felt as if an enormous weight had been lifted from my spirit for which I was infinitely grateful”.
Art advance can open paths for other arts. If you’re interested you’ll study the links between WC Williams and Duchamp. BUT you even don’t have to, to activate some ideas.
Duchamp’s abstraction is about decomposing the movement, of course, but there’s also a game with the title. If the title was “XY-56”, your mind wouldn’t have been engaged the same way, right? What would be the same in poetry? What can this bring to a poet? A game with a title? A decomposing symbol/word/frame process? A sense of freedom, and daring?
Whenever you feel stuck or not, it could be interesting to explore “other fields”. Maybe if you’re a musician you should study avant-garde architecture, and if you blog, maybe you could read about strangeization? You’re a manager? Why wouldn’t you read anthropology, then?
Thanks for reading!
Le Corbusier was a French architect. I just found a quote and I try to translate in English. It’s a good tool you can use to be creative (if you need to) :
When a task is given to me, I use to put it inside my memory, which mean I don’t allow myself to draw any sketch, for months. The human head have a certain independence : it is a box in which you can pour loose elements of a problem. One let then “float”, “simmer”, “ferment”. Then, one day, on a spontaneous initiative of the inner being, a click happens : one takes a pen, one gives birth on the paper. The idea comes out, the baby comes out : he comes into the world, he is born.
This is a great tool, and it can be mixed with other “common sense” plans (creative people know, for example, that they “work” in front of their blank page, but also that they get “ideas” elsewhere, walking in the street, washing the dishes or after making love). So, think about your problem and go talk to the birds, or bake a cake!
Also Google : Serendipity
Thanks for reading!