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Creativity: Find the flaw

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An article by Stéphane

Published on 20 October 2006

Short URL: http://nota-bene.org/135

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Here’s my little contribution to Molly’s Creativity Jam Session. My office is my living room, so I just got up from my computer, turned around with my eyes closed, opened them and looked for a flaw in the range of my vision. And there were the CDs right in front of me.

Here’s my little contribution to Molly’s Creativity Jam Session. My office is my living room, so I just got up from my computer, turned around with my eyes closed, opened them and looked for a flaw in the range of my vision. And there were the CDs right in front of me.

A few years ago we went to a Gaul village in the South of France, where archaelogists rebuild traditional habitat, thatched-roofed mud-walled houses. We bought a few earthen artifacts, the benefits of which go into funding the ongoing building. The idea behind this enterprise is to better understand the way our ancestors lived by tring with the only means they had at the time to build houses, make clothes and food. Very competent historians with their hands in the mud are even ore competent.

The artifacts were made the way they were done two thousand years ago, baked in an oven in the ground. Their colors are irregular, because they derive partly from the earth that went into them as well as how they were oriented towards the flames. We got three small amphoras that we hung together on a wall with a rough string, and a small, dark-brown-earth vase.

When we moved into our new house two years ago we installed all our CDs in shelves in the living-room above the television. Strangely, the second shelf’s left peg attached into the wall did not hold as well as the others: did I drill differently? Was the wall softer at this precise spot? I don’t know.

If you look very closely, you can see the shelf protruding a little, very slightly aslant and askew [1] from the wall. It’s not like in Ikea catalogs where everything lines up perfectly: real life has decided to put a flaw in an otherwise simple three-shelf alignment.

To prevent the shelf from falling off the wall altogether, we resolved to load it a tad less than the two others, and decided that the small brown vase would do well on the shelf: it’s much lighter than CDs and as a bonus is a great-looking pen-holder.

The vase and the askew shelf

Between the frantic, modern and capitalistic I-want-them-all CD collection and the small brown vase that took much time and patience to come into existence, a new balance has been found, a place between palpable, practical, past and solid art and present, ephemeral holders for virtual music.

The flaw created an irregularity but was the reason for the new balance that we would not have found otherwise. How’s that for creativity, Molly?


Footnotes

[1Yes, I know they’re synonyms, but how often can you use those two marvelously-sounding adjectives in a sentence? Aslant! Askew!


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