January 2014
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Month January 2014

{ Celebrating Art’s Birthday } Question, Experiment, Observe, Create & Imagine …*

Robert Filliou lighting the cake at Art’s 1,000,010th Birthday Celebration, Aachen 1973. Photo: Neue Galerie, Stadt im alten Kurhaus, Aachen (scanned from – Robert Filliou: From Political to Poetical Economy, Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery, Vancouver, 1995, ISBN 0-88865-308-5).

Today, January 17th, is Art’s birthday! No, not your great uncle Arthur, but ART–that unquenchable human need to create, question, experiment, reframe, imagine and dive in all colors of feeling tones.

“It all started the 17th of January, one million years ago. A man took a dry sponge and dropped it into a bucket full of water. Who that man was is not important. He’s dead but Art is alive. I mean, let’s keep names out of this.” 

Art’s birthday was first proposed by French Fluxus artist, Robert Filliou in 1963. Filliou suggested that 1,000,000 years ago, there was no Art. But one day, on the 17th of January (which is also Filliou’s birthday), Art was born. According to Filliou, it happened when someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water.

So gather your friends, grab some pencils, napkins, the wire and cork off a champagne bottle, make something and listen to a recording of Filliou reciting his 1963 poem/lecture, Whispered History of Art. You can also head over to artsbirthday.net for more background information on the holiday and to peruse a list of global network events taking place between January 15 and 19, 2014 to celebrate Art’s birthday.

How will you celebrate? What will you create? Send us some pictures!

party & rethink …*

“The 17th of December, one year ago, a man took a dry sponge and dropped it into a bucket full of water. Who that man was is not important. He will die soon but Art is alive. I mean, let’s keep names out of this. As I was saying, a 17th of December, one year ago, a man took a dry sponge and dropped it into a bucket full of water. He waited 5 seconds, then he took the sponge out, he pressed it, he saw–nevermind what he saw. I’m not trying to conclude, not trying to conclude alone is important.” Whispered History of Art, Robert Filliou (1963)

“Own your attention — it’s all you really have.” – Jonathan Harris on Navigating Stuckness …*

"Own your attention — it’s all you really have." - Jonathan Harris on Navigating Stuckness | rethinked.org

“We have these brief lives, and our only real choice is how we will fill them. Your attention is precious. Don’t squander it. Don’t throw it away. Don’t let companies and products steal it from you. Don’t let advertisers trick you into lusting after things you don’t need. Don’t let the media convince you to covet the lives of celebrities. Own your attention — it’s all you really have.” 

-from Jonathan Harris‘s Transom Manifesto, “Navigating Stuckness,” – an autobiographical journey with teachable moments (Set aside some time to read the full thing, it is well worth your attention.)

[H/T: Don’t Wait via SwissMiss, published January 17, 2013. ] 

{ Dirty Car Art & Bicycle Symphonies } Finding Wonder In The Everyday And Creating Delight Out Of The Ordinary …*

At the heart of our team, mission and work is a deep commitment to framing and experiencing the everyday and the mundane with delight, curiosity and wonder. We seek to make the ordinary unknown in an attempt to better uncover its vast untapped potential to make life more salient, human and fulfilling. But it is sometimes all too easy to lose track of this perspective, to become distracted by the superficial and overlook the magic of the mundane. I was thrilled to come across the works of the two artists featured below–Scott Wade –The Dirty Car Artist– and composer Johnnyrandom–whose art, each in his own way, is about finding wonder in the everyday and creating delight out of the ordinary. A welcome reminder of what’s important.

delight & rethink…


“Through music, I want to change the way that people perceive their surroundings and I hope this will inspire others to look at every day objects with more curiosity and wonder.”

Johnnyrandom | Bespoken from Johnnyrandom on Vimeo. [ Hat Tip: Making Music With A Bike  via Colossal, published January 15, 2014 ]

Composer Johnnyrandom breaks new ground with musical compositions made exclusively from everyday objects. His debut single, “Bespoken”, explores the full potential of sounds generated from bicycles and their components, transcending the role of traditional instrumentation as the accepted method for creating beautiful and thought-provoking music. 

Head over to soundcloud to sample a breakdown of selected sound elements combined in Bespoken – from tire inflating to handlebar tube hits. You can also download the full single on iTunes.

 [ …*

“It’s weird because dirty cars are so much a part of our culture and when we see a dirty car we think, ‘Oh God, that’s ugly, it’s an eyesore, you have to go wash it.’ When you can turn that into beauty, then it challenges our perception of what’s beautiful, what’s not beautiful. Plus, dirty car is a mobile art gallery.”  – Scott Wade

The Dirty Car Artist – Scott Wade [ Hat Tip: Dirty Car Art, by Scott Wade via My Design Stories, published January 13, 2014 ]

Roman Krznaric Launches The Empathy Library – “The World’s First Online Empathy Collection”

Empathy Library 2014


“Empathy is the imaginative act of stepping into the shoes of another person and viewing the world from their perspective.”

Intriguing new resource alert for rethinkers * The Empathy Library: “the world’s first online empathy collection and a treasure house for catapulting your imagination into other people’s lives.” The Empathy Library, which was founded by writer and cultural thinker Roman Krznaric, “is full of recommended books to read (fiction, non-fiction and children’s books) and great films to watch (from feature films to documentaries and video shorts.” You can browse the library’s collection by theme, title, top ten charts or you can join the library “and become part of a worldwide community of empathic thinkers and activists. By joining you will be able to add items, comment and give ratings.” It will be interesting to see how this new resource shapes the empathy conversation (and actions!).


enjoy & rethink …


{ If You Build It } New Documentary on Project H – Reviving Communities, Rethinking Education & Empowering Youths Through Design & Creativity …*

IF YOU BUILD IT (Official Trailer) from OCP Media on Vimeo.

Educators and design thinking enthusiasts rejoice, today is the opening of a new documentary–If You Build It—which features the work of Emily Piloton and Matt Miller’s Project H and their students. Project H, “uses the power of creativity, design, and hands-on building to amplify the raw brilliance of youth, transform communities, and improve K-12 public education from within.”

From the director of WORDPLAY and I.O.U.S.A. comes a captivating look at a radically innovative approach to education. IF YOU BUILD IT follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller to rural Bertie County, the poorest in North Carolina, where they work with local high school students to help transform both their community and their lives. Living on credit and grant money and fighting a change-resistant school board, Pilloton and Miller lead their students through a year-long, full-scale design and build a project that does much more than just teach basic construction skills: it shows ten teenagers the power of design-thinking to re-invent not just their town but their own sense of what’s possible. Directed by Patrick Creadon and produced by Christine O’Malley and Neal Baer, IF YOU BUILD IT offers a compelling and hopeful vision for a new kind of classroom in which students learn the tools to design their own futures.

If you’re in New York, the documentary is premiering today, Friday 1/10, at NYC’s IFC Center with filmmaker & designer-teacher Q&As all opening weekend!


enjoy & rethink * 

{ “Thinking Is Embodied & Acting Is Mindful” } The Connection Between Movement & Creativity …*

{ "Thinking Is Embodied & Acting Is Mindful" } The Connection Between Movement & Creativity ...* | rethinked.org


“Scientists speak of “transient hypofrontality”: a state-of-mind promoted by pursuits that require physical exertion but little thought or concentration. The parts of the brain that coordinate general concepts and rules are turned down, while the motor and sensory parts are turned up. In this state, ideas and impressions mingle more freely. Unusual and unexpected thoughts arise.” 


Source: If Exercise Was Good For Charles Darwin, It’s Good For All Of Us, via The Guardian, published January 1, 2014.

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