The Rotten Lemon of Enlightenment


Creativity in my workplace

As much as I would love to study full-time the realities of life make this impossible. So when I’m not at university chasing my dream to be a visual artist I’m in an office processing masses of data and making maps for the oil industry. Which brings me to this awesome software we have helped test and develop for its creator (Dirstein and Fallon, 2011). I think it makes for a great case study for bringing in elements from different disciplines and industries to really revolutionise the way this industry looks and processes its data. It also makes for a great insight into coming up with amazingly creative ideas from existing technologies.

In the oil industry seismic data is collected and often displayed in 3D for the evaluation of coal and hydrocarbon exploration. To do this a geophysicist has to pick individual horizons which more often than not takes months to complete and only covers the zone of interest. This is where this software is great it enables the automated picking of all horizons in the dataset in hours or days at most. What is truly amazing and creative is how this software does this. It’s based on the Human Genome Project.

So what goes the Human Genome Project have to do with finding oil?

This is the really creative part. The developer saw that the waveforms from seismic data weren’t all that different from the human Chromosomes. Or at least they could be analysed as data in a very similar way. By matching similar waveforms the software is able to create horizons from the data. So without getting bogged down in the technique aspects I’ll leave it there, however I’ll attach a link to a .pdf file of a recent magazine article on the software and the extra work we do with it for those interested.

This illustrates a lot of the topics and ideas addressed so far in this unit.

  • To be always aware and have a genuine thirst for knowledge.
  • To look outside your field or profession for inspiration.
  • To entertain all ideas.
  • To take a risk or leap of faith and chase those ideas.
  • To surround yourself with people who stimulate you and your ideas.
  • To make it your passion.

It is really inspiring to be involved with these sorts of projects as they are dynamic and ever-changing. It’s like being invited on a journey of discovery. It’s also unhindered by established dogma and rules because whats around the corner is unknown. I find it all very exciting for it’s as much about the journey as the destination. It is for this reason I consider myself creative.

References

Dirstein, J.K. and Fallon, G.N. (2011, April). Automated interpretation of 3D seismic. Preview, issue 151, p30-37. Link to .pdf



Creative Project #011
May 17, 2011, 9:01 pm
Filed under: CCA1103, Creative Project | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wasn’t a big fan of my last attempt so had another crack tonight. I really like this version and think it works well as a whole. I opted to keep the left side photo quality to really draw the focus to the creative side. I think I managed to strike a good balance between recognisable and childlike.

What do you think?

Third time is a charm



Creating a creative atmosphere

In week six for our tutorial on creative environments, there was a particular activity that caught my eye on the handout (Tutorial Activites, 2010).

Begin to consider the ways in which you might create an “atmosphere” of creativity (for example, using lighting and images, or activities such as chanting, arranging objects, improvising lyrics to bongo rhythms – whatever you can think of).

In your own time, try to create an “atmosphere” of creativity using some of the techniques discussed, and report on the relationship between the altered environment, your altered mental state, and your subsequent thought processes and creative activity.

Now that I have had some time to think about and experiment with this I have come to some conclusions. The most important being that your creative atmosphere should reflect who you are. Personally I thrive on organised chaos and only rein it in when it starts to unravel. My filing system is the floor, I forgot what my desk looked like a long time ago and I make my bed once a week when I change the sheets. Sure most people see this as dirty but it’s really just messy. There is a difference…right?

So what does this have to do with my creative atmosphere?

After considering for some time as to why I am by nature a messy person I began to realise that it was exactly how I think. I file things on the floor so they are easy to access. When I put them away and out of sight I feel they become forgotten. Just as when I have an idea or see something interesting I make a mental note and keep it at the forefront of my mind. I need to keep things I consider important within reach. So in regards to my creative atmosphere as a physical space or studio I need to be able to see all the items, tools, materials, books and information for the particular project I am working on. One of the reasons I don’t make my bed everyday is because by leaving it unmade it feels as if I had never left. I don’t have to toss and turn to get comfortable because it feels familiar. It allows me to just focus on going to sleep. Which is the exact same atmosphere I tried to recreate. One that syncs perfectly with my though process so I can focus on creating and not trying to force it.

I also have strong internal dialogue that clashes with any external dialogue. So if  there is music it cannot have lyrics. I tend to listen to ambient music with brain waves played through the speakers if I choose to listen to anything at all. Complete silence is preferred as distraction is often met with frustration. It’s not until the tasks become less mentally challenging that music and conversation with others creep back in.

When I create I generally like to be alone. It enables me to be myself and removes any sense of self-consciousness and doubt. Many of the stages of the creative process I find to be intensely personal or extremely social. The social and interactive part coming during the formation of ideas and criticism of work when requested.

Finally the exclusion of clocks within eyesight. By excluding time from the process, that connection to reality is severed and I can completely immerse myself in my work.

By creating an environment that reflects my personality I was able to enhance my creative process. In a comfortable and familiar atmosphere it was easier to slip into a creative flow and maintain it. Much like returning to an unmade bed and feeling like you never left.

References

Tutorial Activites. (2010). sccaOnline | CCA1103. Retrieved from https://lms.sca.ecu.edu.au/units/CCA1103/workshops/cca1103_activities_2010_2_w6.pdf 
Download .pdf



Creative Project #010
May 15, 2011, 8:50 pm
Filed under: CCA1103, Creative Project | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Had another play around with the creative side tonight. Focused on getting the mark making right. Finding the right balance however is proving difficult. The orange marks I think work well though I will have to balance the colour on the right. The contour lines on the other hand look too sophisticated for my liking. I want it to be recognisable but still look as though it was drawn by a child.
 
Feedback is always welcome.

another portrait.



The six thinking hats
May 14, 2011, 9:31 pm
Filed under: CCA1103, The six posts for Mark, Tutorial | Tags: , , , , , , ,

The six thinking hats (De Bono,1992) is a technique that has seen considerable popularity in the business world as a way to separate ego from performance. Thinking by nature is a deeply personal and subjective process so it’s not surprising that we become quite attached to our ideas. With this technique teams are able to address problems, ideas, etc in a objective manner. They are able to see the topic from different angles. As the group moves through the various hats the conversation is allowed to run it’s course without resistance or descending into the the inevitable argument.

The six hats are as follows;

The white hat is all about research. It’s the collecting of all relevant information.

The red hat is emotion. Your gut feeling. Your intuitions.

The black hat is reality and caution. Risk management.

The yellow hat tries to address the issues brought up by the black hat. It’s the optimistic look at all the possible benefits.

The green hat is the creative hat. Dedicated time put aside to be creative. Allowing time for creativity is not a natural thing. Just as positive thinking towards an idea we do not like is not natural.

The blue hat is about the big picture. After going through all the hats is it still viable. What is the verdict.

So this is all well and good in the boardroom but how about the individual? These hats represent behaviors that are in all of us. However, some hats are more dominant than others depending on the individual. With this technique you are able to take a more even and systematic approach to your thinking process. Enabling a more balanced approach to your creative process.

References

De Bono, E. (1992). Six thinking hats. Serious Creativity (pp. 77-85). New York: HarperBusiness.
Download .pdf



Creative Project #008

A self-portrait based on Freud’s primary and secondary process using the concept that the right side of the brain is the creative side. The right side is the primary (childlike) process while the left is the secondary (adultlike) process. The primary being associated with creativity and therefore on the right side.
 

self portrait



Theories of Creativity

In preparation for my creative project and with the intention to make strong ties back to the unit I’ll be revising the readings and tutorial activities. I’ll be doing this with particular interest to how I can relate it back to my creative project. First up will be the Theories of Creativity (Davis, 2004).

Creativity is a hard thing to define as I believe it is a very personal experience that can be strongly influenced by the environment the individual finds themselves in. I think this is reinforced by the various theories in regards to creativity itself. All have a little truth to them for the masses but are likely true to the individual. What fits for them doesn’t always fit for others and just as what fits others doesn’t always fit them. For me it’s more about the bigger picture and picking what best suits you and your creativity. A good friend of mine didn’t want to share her ideas for a project in another unit which I found a little difficult to understand at first. Personally I like to share ideas freely and build on the ideas created by the ‘flow’ of the group. These new ideas excite me and push me to further build upon them privately. For reasons unknown to me this very thing I find helpful to my process could stifle hers. She could see it as a dilution of her ideas. However I digress, my point being that while these theories might not fit you perfectly they’ll help you understand your creativity and what works for you.

Sigmund Freud

First up is probably the most famous and controversial, Sigmund Freud‘s psychoanalytic account. Putting aside Freud’s obsession with sex he did have an interesting point about the primary and secondary processes. One that I could possibly relate back to my creative project. According to Freud our thinking process could be broken into two different categories; the primary and secondary processes. The primary being a childlike regression where the mind is free, relaxed and able to fantasize without restriction – an ideal environment to be creative. While the secondary is the adultlike way of thinking where reality and logic restrict our thinking. So I could in corporate a childlike element into my portrait for the right side. Maybe even dig up a childhood portrait of myself. I could also use crayons as the medium.

Ernst Kris

Ernst Kris worked closely with Freud before coming up with his own slightly modified version. Like Freud he was also focused on sex but felt aggression was an important factor too. What an interesting pair these two would have made! Kris believe creativity was a preconscious activity and therefore ideas just happen as an “Eureka” moment and had very little to do with conscious thought. I couldn’t disagree more so on to the next!

Lawrence Kubie

Lawrence Kubie breaks down creativity into three states; the conscious, preconscious and unconscious. He claims the conscious and unconscious are rigid and uncreative. The conscious anchored in reality while the unconscious is vague and meanings hidden or repressed. However through various techniques you can reach the threshold between the two and understand the unconscious while remaining in a conscious state. It is the ability of the individual to access this state (preconscious) that determines their creativity. Another theory I don’t agree with personally. I believe we have a more active role in our ability to create than Kubie gives us credit for.

Harold Rugg

Harold Rugg ‘s theory although basically the same as Kubie’s does have one important difference that make’s it more feasible in my opinion. That the preconscious is a more easily attainable state than what Kubie would have us believe. Much like Freud and his theories on primary and secondary thinking the preconscious is the childlike state and the conscious is the adultlike state. The preconscious state brings the ideas to life while the conscious state brings them to reality.

To be continued…

References

Davis, G. A. (2004). Definitions and Theories. Creativity is forever (pp. 58-73). (5th Ed.). USA: Kendell/Hunt. Download .pdf handout

Ernst%20Kris (n.d) In Google Images [Digital image]. Retrieved May 10, 2011, from; http://www.apsa.org/centennialstatic/Notable%20Psychoanalysts/Ernst%20Kris.jpg

HaroldRugg (n.d) In Google Images [Digital image]. Retrieved May 10, 2011, from; http://www.sandiegoyesterday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/HaroldRugg.jpg

Lawrence%20Kubie (n.d) In Google Images [Digital image]. Retrieved May 10, 2011, from; http://www.apsa.org/centennialstatic/Notable%20Psychoanalysts/Lawrence%20Kubie.jpg

sigmund-freud-med (n.d) In Google Images [Digital image]. Retrieved May 10, 2011, from; http://www.nndb.com/people/736/000029649/sigmund-freud-med.jpg