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creativity (104 posts)
Maybe I read too many haunted house books as a kid, but there's always something about an abandoned building that makes me shiver. It's so sad to see a storefront, once some entrepreneur's hard-won dream, empty and shuttered; depressing to visit a city neighborhood and realize there's nowhere to buy an apple. So I love this photography project envisioned by Emily Schiffer, called See Potential.
A public arts initiative, See Potential seeks to take vacant lots and abandoned buildings and transform them with large-scale photographs portraying healthy food shops or community gardens. According to the website, "In the South Side of Chicago, a lack of access to affordable, healthy foods is holding a community captive to circumstance."I love the idea that these large photo installations not only create striking images, transforming dilapidated buildings into art galleries, but also encourage the community to appreciate the potential of where they live (and get involved themselves by contributing photographs and ideas). Here is art that not only comments on a problem but seeks to transform it. It's gutsy, it's exciting, and it's a call to action to see the potential in even the most depressed of places.
Or guerrilla fruit grafting. As the Huffington Post reports, "For the past year, the renegade group has been secretly splicing San Francisco's strictly decorative apple and pear trees with fruit-bearing grafts, causing the city's previously barren trees to become heavy with fresh apples and pears. The group aims to use the city's preexisting trees to provide 'delicious, nutritious fruit for urban residents,' and basically feed anyone who is hungry in the process." The group's open source code site offers advice on finding graftable trees and tracks how the grafts are going. Okay, so some San Francisco city officials may be symbolically throwing their wet rags to the ground ("The City considers vandalism a serious offense," Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru told the Examiner). But really, how upset can anyone be over beautiful, delicious fruit?
Art is Everywhere:
Lunch Bag Art
At least for the next few weeks. And so it goes in the world of New Year's Resolutions. Which is why I was so pleased to learn about the 50/50 challenge. The 50/50 challenge is the kind of year-long-commitment that actually sounds fun and enriching and—what!—like I might actually do.
The idea is to read 50 books and see 50 movies in 2012. (That's about one book and one movie a week, mathematicians.) You can sign up on the website, but don't be scared by words like "commit" and "rules." You don't have to know what you're going to read or watch. They don't even have to be "good." As the website says, "Go ahead, read Kardashian Konfidential, we won't tell."
This year, there are few long-term projects that I have been working on that I've seriously been considering abandoning. Number one is cooking. I am not sure if I am better cook that I was a decade ago, despite my experiments with intimidating ingredients like shellfish and kale, not to mention new cuisines like Indian. Why not give it up for 2012 and eat nothing but fast, easy chicken breasts? The same goes for playing the guitar. It takes me months to learn one measly song. I am tired. I have kids. I have a job in the morning. Why not relax at night and watch TV instead?
Then I stumbled this short film by Denis Chapon on Laughing Squid. Every day for the last three years, Denis has drawn 12 drawings, each on piece of leftover paper he found in his company's copier room. At the end of the 795 days, he had 9,540 illustrations, which, when put in order made this four minute, two second long film:
Creativity even when you're afraid.
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