February 14, 2009

an artifact field trip

I decided to check out this discussion where an organization is focused on the multidisciplinary study of imagination at the Psychoanalytic Society & Institute....yes it is a place where smart people (much smarter than me) collaborate. They held an event there called Creative Ambiguity in Scientific and Humanistic Thought which I really got to geek out on. The panel was brilliantly comprised of Eva Brann (author and teacher for half of a century and one of my personal favorites), Heather Dubrow (accomplished writer, lyric poetry, Shakespeare genre, and lyric theory), Donald Pfaff (moderator and accomplished neuroscientist and head of the Laboratory of Neurobiology and Behavior at The Rockefeller University), Robert Shapley (Professor of Neural Science, Psychology & Biology at New York University and Director of the of the Program for Theoretical Visual Neuroscience), Michael Shelley (Mathematician, who has solved many theorems, who uses theoretical modeling, analysis, and computer simulation to understand complex systems arising in the physical sciences and in biology) , Sandra Sherman (accomplished author of many books, law professor at several universities and held positions at the Justice Department and Department of State). I of course leave out many many accomplishments by many, but wanted to give you an idea of the group because it was one of the best panels I have ever been to. Because of the diversified disciplines of the group the conversations were robust and covered much beyond what I originally expected. Having psychologists, neuroscientists, mathematicians, law professors, and artists come together on one subject has definitely provided a much more valuable and constructive dialogue.

It got me thinking about how relatable this is to marketing and the disciplines within communications. I occasionally go to conferences where there are multi-disciplined panels discussing a topic, but it pretty much ends there (which does absolutely nothing for clients and the industry). There really is a power of bringing together multiple expertise under one roof and working cohesively together to solve problems and come up with new ideas. It also highlights why Integrated Marketing Communications is still not being optimally implemented. I am speaking in general and the majority of core communication strategies being built of course...there are some in the game that are doing a terrific job (will make next post a highlight of one such company!).

OK, back to the conference portion...I think I should share some cool stuff that was dished out. Please note that much of the conversations were hard to fully wrap my head around to understanding concepts in completeness....so here is the artifact version::::
Obviously paraphrased - ambiguity is not something we should be solving to define and bringing to a complete answer as elements that are ambiguous bring about happiness and excitement. It gives us something to think about because it is not complete. We can make our own attempt at solving or we have freedom of creativity with the concept. People gain enjoyment from ambiguity because it is exciting to have possible outcomes.
- Heather referring back to a conversation she had with a professor "I can't write about this because it's too ambiguous. You can't define what this means truthfully." Professor: "Then write about the ambiguity of the situation." She took on a whole new life from that...
- Eva "I don't use the word creative or creativity. To me there is only one creative person and that is the ultimate power who is the creator. He creates from nothing. I don't want to be a creator. Can we stop using that word. What we are doing [defining creativity] is simply searching or getting to the truth." <--- I love that...going to bring that into client discussions....i am building you the truth!

Oh, and the room we were in and the surrounding rooms was holding exhibit Typographica. Dedicated to the 'evolution and expressive beauty of the letterform' had some good looks at classic pieces of calligraphy to full graffiti layups. Below are a few graf pieces captured on my mobile (mind the glare and poor image quality). I read the exhibit was created from a Helvetica roundtable they had exploring Typography and Imagination...damn I wish I made that one! Great documentary here on Helvetica btw.


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