HW 17 – Creativity

1. what did you find

1.1. interesting about the article?

I found many things interesting. The idea of face poesis by mutual aesthetic choice was interesting. More interesting than that was the fish-scale analogy that explained how to go about creating positive working environments with enhanced creativity. Also I was very glad to see the CodeBroker program. It is a great idea.
I was also very interested to see that the ATLAS program is one of 5 listed examples of programs that encourages the creation of renaissance communities as opposed to rennaisance scholars. I have very distinct memories of talking with an ambitious schoolmate of mine, let's call him Lawrence, back when I used to be in engineering. He ended up going to Carnegie Mellon to study HCI and I am still somewhat connected to him through a mutual friend. One time I was talking to him about a student, let's call him Joe, who couldn't hack it at our engineering school, and ended up enrolling somewhere else at some other college (coincidentally I couldn't hack it either, Cooper Union was a tough school and the attrition rate was high.) So Joe, Lawrence snidely remarked, had grown a beard and fancied himself a modern day rennaissance man. Lawrence found that exceedingly funny, and I guess that shows how much he was suited for Carnegie Mellon's program. Lawrence rapidly graduated and now has a job in the field he wanted to be in. Right now I see this as a cautionary tale. Don't be like Joe.

1.2. not interesting about the article?

It was generally very interesting. It covered many of the themes that have been established as important in this class.

2. what do you consider the main message of the article?

That it is important to work with others, be it in groups or in groups of groups. The renaissance man is a thing of the past right now.

3. pick ONE of the four systems described in the article (Envisionment and Discovery Collaboratory, Caretta, Renga Creations, CodeBroker) and discuss which aspects of individual and social creativity they support!

Renga Creations promotes the independent creation of several individuals, and then attempts to blend these creations into a larger creation that incorporates the design sensibilities and aesthetics of several designers. It is a good example of very much practice with only a small amount of process, in my view. Nevertheless, it remains manageable due to the graces of the designers and the structure imposed by the poeisis technology. Manageablity, it should be noted, is second in priority to innovation in the case of Renga.

4. have you encountered interesting “boundary objects?” which ones? what features made them interesting?

Just about any social technology is a boundary object, I would argue. The smallest linguistic elements of language are boundary objects just the same as videoconferencing software are too. Cell phones, computers, pagers, other things like this are boundary objects. All of these objects and constructs allow various groups to coordinate and work in groups. Paper used to be the primary tool for producing a record of mental efforts. It may be replaced by emerging technologies. To some extent it already is. Text messaging on phones has organized people in large crowds in Manila. Texting has served as a replacement for paper notes. This is just one example of how emerging technologies will shape the future of distributed cognition.

5. describe the most creative activity from your OWN life and analyze the individual and social aspect of your creative act!

Honestly, I have been most creative on my own. I still recognize the importance of working with others, however. My most creative effort has been finishing an album of electronic music. I have done this recently, in my spare time, while I go to school. I am actually thinking right now that this wiki is also a very creative project which I have helped contribute to.
Nevertheless, I have spent _a lot_ of time making my own music. I am now in a band with 5 others, but I do not consider our project to be more creative than what I have done on my own yet. Whether it will be depends on how well I work together with the rest of my bandmates. The situation definately has better potential. What is hardest for me socially in this situation is being distanced from the rest of the band since I am the only musician with a computer. Technology can be a boon, but it can possibly also alienate you from others. I am still working out ways to explain how I do what I do to my bandmates. It is very tough. This will change, I think as miniaturization efforts advance.

6. which computational systems do you know which support individual and/or social creativity?

A great example of one that supports social creativity is the Rocket Network which was part of Steinberg's Cubase product. Cubase is a virtual studio environment for making music, and the Rocket Network allows users across the world to work together on producing songs. A similar, and more recent tool is simply called Collaboration. It is part of the electronic music program called Fruityloops. Now I know about other things mentioned before in class, too, like the EDC, Renga, Carretta, etc.