Here is a video from the Dean K. Simonton lecture: Scientific Creativity, the Science and the Art.
Archive for the ‘Creativity in Science and Technology (Spring 2010)’ Category
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Posted in Creativity in Science and Technology (Spring 2010), Csíkszentmihályi Response on May 4, 2010| 1 Comment »
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Posted in Creativity in Science and Technology (Spring 2010), Crewdson Response on May 4, 2010| Leave a Comment »
Gregory Crewdson talked about his path to photography and the process of creating his photographic works of art. He created a connection between his photographic compositions of American homes and neighborhoods and his childhood years of growing up in a Brooklyn brownstone. He mentioned the surreal composition of his works were a probable connection to his childhood curiosities of the inner sanctum of his father’s pschychiatric office, which was out of bounds for him. He likened his neighborhood to that of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear window” where a viewer could get a voyeuristic view of the interiors of neighboring homes. He mentioned being inspired by painter Ed Hopper’s portrayal of people in his compositions, much like his own.
Crewdson commented on his dylexia and his difficulties with writing skills which made it difficult for him to use writing instruments. As a result, he never visualizes his concepts on paper, as most creative thinkers do. His process of ideation relies on his inner feelings which he dwells on during isolated moments to find creative inspiration. He mentioned swimming as one of those times which allows him to reflect and get ideas. After concepting an idea, he works with his team to produce the artwork. His work is strongly influenced by works of film makers of the fifties. Like the making of a film, his work is dependent on intensive pre-production and post-production schedules. He explained though that the stark difference between any film and his work was that his work captured only an instant in time, unlike films which have a continuity with the past or the future.
Though he wanted to be a pschychiatrist and had no plans of pursuing a career as a photographer, there is an interesting connection to Crewdson’s life story in a song he composed and titled “Let Me Take Your Foto”. The song was composed in his teenage days as part of a rock group he had formed with his friends. Years later, in 2005, after he gained fame through his photographic works, the song received publicity as part of Hewlett Packard’s promotional advertisement campaign. Interestingly, the title of the song chosen several decades earlier, seemed perfectly appropriate when used for the corporate publicity.
Posted in Creativity in Science and Technology (Spring 2010), Nersessian Response on May 4, 2010| Leave a Comment »
Reading Dr.Nersesian’s book and attending the group meeting followed by her lecture last Thursday was a valuable experience for me. Apart from the insights derived from her talk capturing the way scientists think, it helped me reflect upon the thought process involved in problem solving. This session was especially beneficial following Dr.Simonton’s talk the week earlier with his views on the big “C”s referring to the pschycology of scientific and creative minds.
Dr.Nersesian discussed how throughout history we have evidence of scientists using analogical reasoning in the “social-cognitive-cultural-context” where they applied what they already knew to new domains to reach breakthroughs in their fields of work. What I found unvaluable was the outline she offered the group to follow for drawing analogies, both near or distant and applying it to imaginary models. Simply put, she advised the use of analogy or imagery and to look at the reasoning process in an integrated manner. She stressed on the initial part of the process as the stage to begin constructing from basic concepts, followed by developing physical or relative concepts. This would precede the step of deconstructing the information obtained when an individual needed to start thinking intentionally and self-question “What am I trying to do?” She encouraged the listeners to break free of constraints and dare to be different from the existing situation at that moment. And, finally she suggested the use of diverse advancements in technology to find futuristic solutions, and test for plausibility. Throughout her talk, she reinforced the concept of using concrete imagery to introduce abstract concepts.
I agree with Dr.Nersesian’s views on creative inventions happenning as a result of model-based reasoning for problem solving. Though her talk focused on scientists and scientific discoveries (she offered examples of Maxwell and Rutherford’s work), I tend to believe the reasoning process would apply to other fields as well. As a graphic designer, I have always relied on the ‘design process’ as a guide to arrive at visual communication solutions for creative projects. I would hesitate to entirely eliminate the circumstance of the birth of a new concept arising in a flash of inspiration. It does happen, though it is definitely not an everyday occurence.
Posted in Creativity in Science and Technology (Spring 2010), Simonton Response on May 4, 2010| Leave a Comment »
Posted in Creativity in Science and Technology (Spring 2010), Research Projects, tagged export on May 3, 2010| Leave a Comment »
At the start of the project I was very interested in teaching the “creative process” using games. Starting the semester I had no idea where to begin or what the creative process really was, at least in a demystified enough way that could then be translated in the logic rule structure of a game. At the time, I had no idea what it was I wanted to teach specifically or who the audience for the game would be. Basically I had no starting point.
Meeting with Dr. Simonton in the morning help start the process in my brain. I was instantly fascinated with the Mutilated Checkerboard problem he described mainly because of the sequential process the experiment took on getting increasingly abstract yielding better and better results.
At the very end of Nancy Nersessian’s presentation during the the Q&A she mentioned how her idea that the doodles in Newton’s notebooks and the importance of abstract relationships was completely lost in the current American education system. That was the void that presented itself for me to fill. That was when I knew where to focus the game and what to focus on.
At this point the common theme that started presenting itself is the idea of metaphor and applying abstract elements to solve seemingly unrelated problems. I knew I wanted to teach an element of the creative process instead of just creating a game that helps facilitate creativity. Metaphor was that element. From here it seemed like the best way to teach this concept of metaphor was by using the Mutilated Checkerboard problem that Dr. Simonton presented to slowly try and get the player to come to the solution.
Meeting Crewdson was reassuring because it was a practical example of metaphor in practice. Crewdson getting his ideas while swimming is a prime use of metaphor and was a huge confidence boost that I was on the right track.
Unfortunately, while meeting Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was incredibly informative, it began a series of road blocks making this challenge increasingly difficult the deeper I looked into the problem. One key road block that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talk about is how to achieve flow in a learning environment. It requires a constant feedback loop between the teacher and the student so the challenge is always matched to the student’s skill and there aren’t any external distractions. This constant feedback is a problem many games deal with. Constant tweaks to AI are required, difficulty levels, and various control schemes are used to try and simplify this feedback loop. Naturally this problem became amplified in this project because maintaing that flow is so important in causing the player to have the “Eureka” moment to solve the problem.
After this first setback was a process of a few steps forward and a few steps backwards. Every time I had a good idea of how to tackle a flaw in the design a new flaw would present itself. By the end I think there are still major flaws with the design that requires a fundamental change in the core concept of how to teach the concept of metaphor.
The “Eureka” forum was very encouraging for me because of Dean Dennis Kratz’s anecdotal story about how the “Eureka” moment may not hit you for years after you stop working on a problem. He too had an idea he was dissatisfied with that he had to continue and see through to the finish, but he was still able to reach the resolution he was searching for years later. This is how I feel right now with this project because it just does not feel right, but I may still come to a realization some time in the future that will give me the breakthrough I have been searching for all semester. I still think games can be used to help teach part of the creative process, but this game is not it. It is a good attempt and sometimes an idea has to fail before it can succeed.