Bowie, Eno and serendipity

Tim Harford (previously) writes, "My TED talk just went live - among other things it's about Bowie and Eno's creative process on the Berlin albums. It's rather sadly timed but I hope you like it." Read the rest

How imaginary friends went from a parental worry to a badge of honour

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For a long time, kids' imaginary friends were a cause for concern: Dr Spock recommended taking kids to "a child psychiatrist, child psychologist or other mental-health counsellor" to figure out what kids with imaginary friends were "lacking;" while Jean Piaget saw imaginary friends as a sign of failure, not of an active imagination, because "The child has no imagination, and what we ascribe to him as such is no more than a lack of coherence." Read the rest

What "Star Wars Minus Star Wars" says about creativity

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Rob beat me to the blog this morning with a post about Star Wars Minus Star Wars, a stupendous video in which Kyle Kallgren retells the entire story of the first Star Wars movie with footage that either inspired George Lucas or was inspired by him after the movie's release. Read the rest

Genetic links between creativity, schizophrenia, and autism

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How is creativity related to schizophrenia and autism? Psychology professor Scott Barry Kaufman looks at a scientific paper suggesting that "creativity and psychosis share genetic roots" in the context of his own research on how different forms of creativity might relate to the schizophrenia spectrum and the autism spectrum. Read the rest

VISUALIZE: Daily routines of accomplished creative people

This chart summarizes data from Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, providing that rarest of treasures: an infographic that actually improves the legibility of information. Read the rest

Is American invention at risk?

Comedian, commercial director and documentarian Jordan Brady hosts a great podcast on commercial filmmaking called Respect The Process. He recently interviewed Ryan Berman, Chief Creative Officer for San Diego ad agency I.D.E.A. The interview is a smart casual conversation between old colleagues about the modern advertising agency, the challenges of staying forward-thinking, and keeping your team fresh and energized.

Late in the podcast (14m30s), the talk turns to Berman's own documentary film on the current state of U.S. patent law, Inventing To Nowhere, which recently screened at SXSW. Though Berman is quick to point out this was a sponsored project for The Innovation Alliance, a tech-industry lobbying group, it is not branded content. The doc is an impassioned plea for inventor protection under whatever patent reform comes from congress.

The Innovation Alliance website SaveTheInventor.com features a petition declaring:

...we oppose efforts by some multinational companies in Washington, DC to weaken patents and make it harder for inventors and start-ups like us to live out our dream of creating something and calling it our own. With our ideas, willingness to take risks, and hard work, we have just as much right to succeed as they have.
On a lighter note: also check out the hilarious PSA Brady directed, Scooter The Neutered Cat which he made for animal protection group GiveThemTen.org Read the rest

Reddit isn't the future of creativity, but it is a vital part of it

The site has emerged as an important creative platform, but getting—and keeping—an audience there is a tricky thing.

Open-source 3D scans of museum items generate amazing new creative works

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Artist Oliver Laric worked with the Usher Gallery and The Collection in Lincoln to create 3D scans of their collections, then made the files available online. The art that emerged is varied and sometimes astonishing, like the work above by Leah Ferrini. Read the rest

Come ask me questions on IO9!

I'm doing a live Q&A on IO9 about my book Information Doesn't Want to Be Free at 1PM eastern/10AM Pacific today -- come on along! Read the rest

Video: Ferdinando Buscema on "The Magic of Breaking Ideas"

At the recent TEDxCaFoscariU in Venice, our co-conspirator Ferdinando Buscema, magician/author/engineer, explores "The Magic of Breaking Ideas." And don't miss Ferdinando's Boing Boing feature, "The Magic of Hacking Reality!" Read the rest

Confessions of an Outlaw

"My attitude as an artist," says World Trade Center high-wire walker Philippe Petit, "grew out of the realization I’d arrived at from an early age: that my intellectual engagement, my imaginative freedom, had a price: that of the forbidden. Whatever I decided to do, it was not allowed!"

Kickstarting Storium: turn writing into a multiplayer game

Mur Lafferty sez, "This week, Storium launched its Kickstarter and reached funding ($25000) in the first day. Storium is a web-based online game that you play with friends. It works by turning writing into a multiplayer game." Read the rest

The Gap: animation of Ira Glass's inspirational rant about overcoming fear of creative suckage

Robbo writes, "Daniel Frohlocke has made a wonderful short film based on David Shiyang Lius' interview with Ira Glass, where the gap between one's taste and one's skills is observed and examined. It's a lovely visual representation of the gnawing conundrum that eats at the heart of every artist."

THE GAP by Ira Glass (Thanks, Robbo) Read the rest

Creativity, math, and 12-tone music

We've featured doodling, fast-talking YouTube mathematician Vi Hart a lot here, but her latest, a 30-minute extended mix, is absolutely remarkable, even by her high standards. For 30 glorious minutes, Ms Hart explores the nature of randomness and pattern, using Stravinsky's 12-tone music as a starting-point and rocketing through constellations, the nature of reality, Borges's library, and more. On the way, she ends up with a good working definition of creativity, and explores the dilemma of structure versus creation. Brava, Ms Hart, you have outdone yourself! Plus, I like your copyright jokes.

Twelve Tones Read the rest

Works that would be in the public domain today -- if America hadn't extended copyright terms in 1976

In 1976, the US Congress decided to extend the copyright on works that had been created with the understanding that they would enter the public domain after about 56 years (depending on whether the copyright was renewed after 26 years). This decision set the stage for a series of subsequent copyright extensions, each one coinciding, roughly, with the imminent entry to the public domain of the earliest Mickey Mouse cartoons. Effectively, the public domain has ended

Every year, Jennifer Jenkins and James Boyle at the Duke Center for the Public Domain publish a list of works that could have entered the public domain on Jan 1, were it not for the 1976 Act. James notes, "as always, scifi seems to dominate. Points to notice... Minority Report would have been in the public domain, Around The World in 80 Days -- the movie -- should have been Around The World in 34,699 Days."

What books would be entering the public domain if we had the pre-1978 copyright laws? You might recognize some of the titles below.

* Winston Churchill, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Volume I and Volume II * Philip K. Dick, Minority Report* Ian Fleming, Diamonds are Forever* Fred Gibson, Old Yeller* Billie Holiday, Lady Sings the Blues* Alan Lerner, My Fair Lady* Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey into Night* John Osborne, Look Back in Anger* Dodie Smith, 101 Dalmatians

Here are a few of the movies that we won’t see in the public domain for another 39 years.

Read the rest

Ball of Whacks magnetic creativity toy/tool

I gave "Ball of Whacks" to my 6-year-old son as a Hanukkah gift and I wish I'd have given it to myself. It reminds me a bit of Rubik's Snake but it's much more free-form and fun as the individual blocks aren't permanently connected but rather held together by 180 rare earth magnets. The blocks fit together in a 30-sided rhombic triacontahedron and can be recombined into animals, stars, and other geometric wonders. The Ball of Whacks comes with a guidebook suggesting lots of neat configurations, creativity exercises, and tips but we haven't bothered with that yet. It's addictive without any instruction. Ball of Whacks is available in red, blue, black, and multi-color which is what I, er, my son, was given. Maybe next we'll go for Von Oech's X-Ball, Y-Ball, or Star Ball magnet toys! Ball of Whacks

Read the rest

Great comic on creative work in the Internet age

The Oatmeal's "Some thoughts and musings about making things for the web" really captures a lot of the joys and sorrows of working in a creative field in the age of the Internet, especially the toxicity of spending too much time reading nasty comments, and the difficulty of maintaining self discipline. My one quibble -- and it's a major one -- is the business about "inspiration."

For me the major turning point in my working life was when I figured out that the work I produced when I felt inspired wasn't any different from the work I produced when I felt uninspired -- at least a few months later. I think that "inspiration" has to do with your own confidence in your ideas, your blood sugar, the external pressures in your life, and a million other factors only tangentially related to the actual quality of the work. If creative work makes you sane and happy (and if it supports you financially), it's terrible to harness it to something you can't control, like "inspiration" -- it sucks to only be happy when something you can't control occurs.

Some thoughts and musings about making things for the web (via Neatorama) Read the rest

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