8 verdancy

Multiplication and abundance.

“You start by sketching, then you do a drawing, then you make a model, and then you go to reality – you go to the site – and then you go back to drawing.  You build a kind of circularity between drawing and then making and back again.”*

‘Then I pushed the sheets of paper all over my office, rearranging them into piles, and then a stack, the order of which I coped back onto the computer.  That’s how the book was made – hands first, then computer, then hands, then computer.  A kind of analogue to digital loop.’**

There is a to and fro-ness being lost in our digital age, a loop of skill-building is lost when a computer programme can design a building, or put together a book, or design a course, or create an advert, cleanly and in quick-time.  The digital age is made up of bits and bytes – everything being able to be broken down into small components and reassembled into an endless number of possibilities – lego-like.

In the last two days I’ve mentioned spaces of possibility and cities that listen, in which people are able to learn how to be seekers again, makers and creators joining head and heart to become crafts-people once more.  The team co-creating these spaces are very capable of putting something together quickly and efficiently, delivering a generative environment for others, but they have seen the possibility for more and are taking it slowly.  There’s no substitute for what happens in people and between people who come together with an idea, as they both encounter it as individuals and together.

Richard Sennett’s counsels, ‘simulation can be a poor substitute for tactile experience,’ ‘CAD [computer aided design] can be used to repress difficulty,’ and provides overdetermined design ruling out the messiness of life which needs to ‘abort, swerve, and evolve.’^  Sennett is encouraging us not to abdicate responsibility to the computer, but to be craft-people, using the digital tool as part of a larger creativity.  Austin Kleon offers an example of how he works between a digital space and analogue space – he doesn’t allow one to stray into the other.

We exist within randomness.  Success is far more about chance and luck than it is about predictability.  Dealing with randomness is where we find humans at the top of their game; we’re so good at dealing with it that we don’t even notice we’re doing it.  But we’re seeing more and more how our success depends on meeting people at the right time, saying yes instead of no, or no instead of yes, trying something on a flight of fancy, and so it goes on.

‘[W]e must treat unexpected problems with unexpected responses. … If we allow more people to solve problems without permission, and if we tolerate (and don’t vilify) their mistakes, then we enable much larger set of problems to be addressed.’^^

A creative loop of digital and analogue, shared with creative others, provides us with one of the most verdant fields.

(*Architect Renzo Piano, quoted in Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman.) 
(**From Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist.)
(^From Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman.)
(^^From Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc.)


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