Garr Reynolds has a great series of posts (1, 2) on Wynton Marsalis‘s new book “Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life” which has me itching to pick up the book.
The points Reynold’s brings out of Jazz’s mode of creativity as a method for creativity for design and for living I can personally testify to. As a jazz dancer and amateur washboard player, the affect living in a jazz-immersed culture has drastically changed my perceptions of the world and of myself.
From the perspective of a new designer I had never explicitly brought together my understanding of jazz and the creativity of jazz with my far more limited understanding of design and presentation. The notions of simplicity and accessibility coupled with the deep and intelligent naturalness of jazz make for a solid principle of design.
One of my favorite quotes that he pulls out:
“Our desire to testify through some type of art is unstoppable. A palpable energy is released when inspiration and dedication come together in a creative art. The energy is transformative in an individual who is innovative, but it is transcendent when manifested by a group. There are no words for the dynamic thrill of participating in a mutual mosaic of creativity.”
The notion of communal artistry is even more provoking for me as I meet and get to know more creative artists, teachers and people from a variety of fields. The energy that I gather from being around like-minded artists who have had the influence of jazz in their life amounts to something unassailable by words alone. It is an immersive experience where I feel enriched and have at my disposable a previously unknown font of creative energy.
Play Auditorium is a spectacular puzzle game created in Flash by CipherPrime.
It combines excellent graphic design with an intuitive and simple interface and a fascinating puzzle concept.
The concept centers around redirecting a stream of sound particles to VU meters using directional objects. When all of the VU meters on the level are maxxed out you progress to the next level.
Initially you have only white sound particles and your directional objects are limited to relative directions (up, down, left, right) but as you progress through the levels additional colors are added to match alternate VU meters and gravity objects become available. It seems in the full game many more options and challenges will be included.
I could describe it more but seeing is believing – this clip is of one of the last levels in the demo.
What’s most fascinating is the simplicity of the interface and the interplay of visual objects with sound objects. These three elements along with the immediate affect your control has over those objects draws you in.
I’ve found myself going back and playing it again and again as I attempt to work out different solutions to the puzzles. While not necessarily a productivity tool it evokes playful behavior which can be all too lacking in our everyday.
The TED Talk by Tim Brown points out the effectiveness play can have in the creative workplace and PlayAuditorium brings excellent design and playfulness together.
It’s currently in beta awaiting a full release but definitely give it a play.
This is a great presentation by Tim Brown, the CEO of Ideo, on the role creativity and play should have in the design process and the work environment. It is fascinating to explore how we often leave the openness of play behind as we become adults. That it is that willingness to make believe which enables the birth of great ideas.
All too often apologies are issued for mistakes which are really no more than experimentation, that pushes the boundaries, those same mistakes which enable us to grow. Is it really the mistake that we are apologizing for or our embarrassment?