Tag delight

{ The Zigzag Walk } Rethinking Google Maps …*

{ The Zigzag Walk } Rethinking Google Maps ...* | rethinked.org - Photo: Elsa Fridman

The starting point of my Zigzag Walk …*

 

Last week I wrote about Stephen Graham’s delightful little game of the Zigzag Walk, which is a framework for exploration that enhances opportunities for discovery and serendipity. The rules are quite simple: you select a starting point and from there turn left and then right at subsequents crossroads. Being in San Francisco for the first time, I was eager to try out this exercise for myself and spent part of Monday morning going on a Zigzag walk. I started at a corner a few streets down from the apartment where I am staying where, on the pavement, was engraved the phrase: ‘ask questions’. It seemed a particularly appropriate starting point.

My Zigzag Walk was a delightful experience which allowed me to get lost in the best way, discovering new streets and neighborhoods. It was also the perfect antidote to Google Maps. Since I’ve never been to San Francisco before, I have been relying pretty heavily on Google Maps to get me to where I need to be but I’ve noticed that whenever I ask it to lead me home it always highlights the same, and rather boring, route. I’ve since come to realize that this may be to help me avoid San Francisco’s many (and often ridiculously steep) hills. But I’m only here for a short time, I don’t want to keep going over the same route, even if it saves me from a few hills. I’d rather endure the slight discomfort of huffing and puffing my way up hills for the tradeoff of discovery and serendipitous discoveries in this beautiful city (sounds like a metaphor for something else…*) Until Google Maps puts out a “Serendipity” option on its routes (which, by the way, Google, please take note), the Zigzag Walk is a brilliant and free way to discover a city and its many hidden treasures.

e x p l o r e   &   r e t h i n k   . . .

{ Wondrous Wednesdays } Using Painting to Keep Zoo Animals Happy & Healthy …*

{ Wondrous Wednesdays } Using Painting to Keep Zoo Animals Happy & Healthy ...* | rethinked.org

Artist: Jack, Western Lowland Gorilla | Source: BioParkSociety.org

The abstract masterpieces of such unlikely artists as Prehensile Tail Porcupines, goats, hissing cockroaches and vinegaroons (had to Google that one) are sure to infuse your Wednesday with a hefty dose of wonder and delight. This budding art collective is the result of an enrichment program from the ABQ BioPark Zoo. The therapeutic and enriching benefits of painting, it would seem, extend to animals. “Getting them to use their brains and to figure things out keeps them happier and healthier,” says zoo manager, Lynn Tupa.

The animals at the ABQ BioPark Zoo have learned to paint as an enrichment activity, purely for their own pleasure and mental stimulation. To ensure that painting remains enjoyable for the animals, the opportunity to paint is an occasional treat, not part of their daily routine.

From primate Picassos to buggy Botticellis, our stable of talented animal artists has increased this year to provide an even greater variety of original masterpieces that will thrill collectors and animal enthusiasts alike. Choose from a number of genres and styles that include (but not limited to) elephants, gorillas, parrots, marsupials, alligators, insects and more!

Head over to the Bio Park Society website to view (and perhaps purchase) the paintings (all done with non-toxic tempera paint) by this unlikely band of artists. All proceeds from the paintings directly support that animal’s program at the ABQ BioPark. You can also ‘meet’ some of the artists through their endearing online bios. From Shona the Warthog, who has found the activity “very therapeutic since her mate, Chip, recently passed away,” to Sarah the Orangutan who, “reserves her favorite colors, like silver, to paint her hands and feet and uses her least favorite colors on the canvas,” (a girl’s gotta have her favorite things), you’ll learn about the unique manner in which each artist approaches his or her craft and some intriguing facts about their species. Some of the animals, like Crocket the Raccoon, have instantly taken to the activity while others, like Tonka the Orangutan, are more reticent. “His appearance is very important to him. He will pick up his very long hair as he tries to avoid mud puddles. This is why we are still working on his painting. He goes to great lengths to avoid getting his hands dirty and will continuously wipe the paint off them.”

delight, wonder & rethink …* 

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Artist: Calloway – Banded Armadillo | Source: BioParkSociety.org

{ You Don’t Need to Travel Far to Unhouse Yourself } Being Open To the Potential All Around Us Is A Choice …*

{ You Don’t Need to Travel Far to Unhouse Yourself } Being Open To the Potential All Around Us Is A Choice ...* | rethinked.org

A few weeks ago, I shared a list of the top five things that walking 500 miles helped me understand in a deeper or different way. Here is a bit more context around the third lesson- be open.

Earlier this week, Jenna remarked that we have both been writing a lot about travel these past few months. Perhaps even with puzzling frequency given that this is a learning innovations blog. Yet few activities compare to travel in terms of speed and efficiency at making the ordinary unknown–a critical condition for deep learning, cultivating empathy, curiosity and a host of other learning and flourishing-enabling capacities that fascinate (obsess) us, here at rethinked …*

When we travel, the scope and definitions of what we know become more malleable; we shed our routines and leave behind our habits. Our assumptions are questioned–whether by will or circumstance, or both.

This enlargement of the mundane through added awareness and presence is one of the most fantastic aspects of travel. But what I realized during my walk is that it is possible, easy even, to capture this sense of mystery and presence inherent to travel in one’s everyday. It is a question of choice, of choosing to be open to the present moment.

When I was walking, I met new people every single day–people of all backgrounds, ages and interests. In fact, some of the most meaningful friendships I made were with people I would likely not have been open to meeting at home in New York. I felt significantly more social on the Camino and more excited by the things around me–I peeked around corners; I entered decrepit buildings; I climbed bell towers; I looked up in churches. I felt so eager to interact with the life all around me and I found that many of the barriers I experience in New York, things like anxiety or tiredness, were absent. I wondered why that was and thought how nice it would be to live one’s life as if perpetually in foreign territory. And that’s when I realized how accessible it is to do just that. When I set out for my walk, as I almost always do when I prepare to travel, I set for myself the intention of being open and attentive to the new people I would meet and the new places I would visit. And then I did exactly that, and it was enough, it worked, I lost myself in the best way in the present moment all throughout my trip.

All one has to do is decide to be open to the potential that surrounds us. It seems obvious and it is. But so often we get caught up in the flow of things and we forget that our daily surroundings are teeming with potential for new discoveries, connections and experiences.

There’s a quote from one of Martin Amis’ brilliant novels, Time’s Arrow, which I love and which I’ve shared here before:

Mmm—people! It seems to me that you need a lot of courage, or a lot of something, to enter into others, into other people. We all think that everyone else lives in fortresses in fastnesses: behind moats, behind sheer walls studded with spikes and broken glass. But in fact we inhabit much punier structures. We are, it turns out, all jerry-built. Or not even. You can just stick your head under the flap of the tent and crawl right in. If you get the okay.

We have these ideas of the world being much more impermeable than it actually is. The places, people and experiences that surround us have infinite potential to surprise and delight us, if we just remember to be open. If we make the choice, daily, of asking for the okay.

{ Sand Castles Etched On Actual Grains Of Sand } Making Reality Unknown To Question & Rethink Its Possibilities …*

“The interesting thing about projects that connect scientists and artists, I think, it comes down to the point where we feel that we are all looking for the same thing—we’re trying to understand the wold around us.” – Vik Muniz

Enjoy this wonderful video which explores the process behind photographer Vik Muniz and designer Marcelo Coelho’s sand castles drawn on actual grains of sand. Here at rethinked…* we believe in the power of transdisciplinary projects and teams to create objects, ideas and processes that have the capacity to truly make reality unknown so that we may rethink its possibilities. And this project does just that.

“When somebody tells you,”hey this is a grain of sand,” there’s this moment where the reality that you have in front of you sort of falls apart and you have to reconstruct it. You have to really take a step back and rethink what that image is and what it means.” – Marcelo Coelho

*

“It is a great moment to be a photographer today because photography is completely obsolete in terms of its relation to reality. We’re pretty much at this point where painting was around 1839 when photography was invented. Painting was sort of released from its relation to the factual world. Painters had to think, what is painting? In a similar fashion, the relationship between photography and reality has changed significantly with the advent of digital imaging. It’s becoming as what Leonardo mentioned as cosa mentale – it’s something from the mind, which has always been.” – Vik Muniz

delight & rethink …*

Etching Sand Castles On A Single Grain Of Sand via The Creators Project, published March 27, 2014.

Maira Kalman on Her Buddhist Bowling Shoes, Curiosity > Knowledge, & How Love & Work Protect Us From Sadness & Loss …*

“To slow down time, that’s something that’s very important to me, and what I did was I bought this pair of shoes which are two sizes too big for me, in a thrift shop in England […] These bowling shoes are two sizes too big so when you wear them, you have to really be careful of what you’re doing and you have to walk quite slowly and quite carefully. So it forces you to be in the moment, so I call them my Buddhist Bowling Shoes.”  – Maira Kalman

Maira Kalman: What I Choose To Illustrate And Why via Ink Talks published February 6, 2014.

Infuse your day with wisdom from the great Maira Kalman. If you don’t have time to view the video yet, catch some highlights below.

think & rethink …* 

“You don’t really have to have knowledge, what you have to have is curiosity. So she [Kalman’s mother] was a woman who loved to read and who took me to the library when we came to the United States–to the opera, to concerts, to museums–all the time, but there was never a test. There was never having to prove yourself. And that kind of freedom–allowing you to absorb all that there is around you without ever having to perform–is an extraordinary level of confidence in somebody and self-confidence building and it’s a very hard thing to do–to step back and let your child just experience what they experience with all the mistakes that they make.”

“And basically the idea is that you really have to stop and look at everything–everything that arrests you, everything that delights you has to be noted.”

“What is important and what is the meaning of life? Why are we here? Which is the question that I ask myself at least a dozen times a day, if not every minute. But when you go outside yourself, of course, and you’re looking at what’s around you, it’s endlessly extraordinary.”

“That sense of humor, that lightness, that irresponsibility about not knowing what’s going to happen and kind of not caring is necessary.”

“The moral of the story is it’s not bad to be bored. And actually, boredom, and fear of boredom, is a great motivator. The sense that you allow yourself to get bored and then you get so frustrated you say, ‘Okay, now I really have to do something.'”

“The question that we ask ourselves is: “What protects you? what protects you in this world from sadness and from the loss of an ability to do something?” And for me, what protects me, of course, is work and love. And I think that those two things cover pretty much every single thing because who you love, what you love, and what you do with your time is really the only question that you have to answer.”

Hat Tip: Maira Kalman On Curiosity, Courage, Happiness, And The Two Keys To A Full Life, via Brain Pickings, published February 11, 2014.

{ Happy Friday …* } The Vegetable Orchestra – Exploring & Refining Performable Vegetable Music

The Vegetable Orchestra, photograph by Heidrun Henke

The Vegetable Orchestra, photograph by Heidrun Henke

Infuse your Friday with play, wonder and whimsy thanks to this video recording of The Vegetable Orchestra‘s brilliant performance at TEDxVienna.

Source: Who Says You Can’t Play With Food? The Vegetable Orchestra at TEDxVienna – via TEDxTalks, published January 11, 2014.

“The Vegetable Orchestra performs on instruments made of fresh vegetables. The utilization of various ever refined vegetable instruments creates a musically and aesthetically unique sound universe.

The Vegetable Orchestra was founded in 1998. Based in Vienna, the Vegetable Orchestra plays concerts in all over the world.

There are no musical boundaries for the Vegetable Orchestra. The most diverse music styles fuse here – contemporary music, beat-oriented House tracks, experimental Electronic, Free Jazz, Noise, Dub, Clicks’n’Cuts – the musical scope of the ensemble expands consistently, and recently developed vegetable instruments and their inherent sounds often determine the direction.

A concert of the Vegetable Orchestra appeals to all the senses. As an encore at the end of the concert and the video performance, the audience is offered fresh vegetable soup.

In artistic, aesthetic and infrastructural decisions of importance all members of the orchestra have their equal vote. The ensemble is a mix of people with different artistic backgrounds – musicians, visual artists, architects, designers, media artists, writers and sound poets all come together here.

The further exploration and refinement of performable vegetable music is a central part of the orchestra’s aesthetic quest. Every individual background that is brought into the project is of vital importance in sustaining the fundamental artistic objective of the Vegetable Orchestra.The broad variety of creative approaches at the same time secures the artistic autonomy of this unique ensemble. “

Michel Gondry on Animating Noam Chomsky & The Power Of Drawing To Move People …*

“I have this relationship with drawing because it’s a way to make people smile and do something a bit artistic and narrative. Well, let’s say, for instance, I wanted Audrey Tautou to play in my new movie–I draw it. So I draw myself writing a letter, and flying from America to France, dropping the letter, then I cut my arm…I mean it’s completely absurd but I do it because I think she’s going to be maybe a little moved or touched by the effort I put into it.”

Enjoy this whimsical behind the scenes, brought to you by The Creators Project, of Michel Gondry‘s process for his new documentary, Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?: An Animated Conversation With Noam Chomsky. The documentary, which is now available on iTunes, explores “the life of controversial MIT professor, philosopher, linguist, anti-war activist and political firebrand Noam Chomsky. Through complex, lively conversations with Chomsky and brilliant illustrations by Gondry himself, the film reveals the life and work of the father of modern linguistics while also exploring his theories on the emergence of language. The result is not only a dazzling, vital portrait of one of the foremost thinkers of modern times, but also a beautifully animated work of art.”  

As for this short behind the scenes doc, it’s a delightful peek into a creative  playful mind and what it takes to visualize ideas and make them more human…*

Animating Noam Chomsky | An Afternoon With Michel Gondry | via The Creators Project, published December 10, 2013.

[ H/T – Behind The Scenes of Michel Gondry’s Film “Is The Man Who IS Tall Happy?” via Booooooom, published December 12, 2013. ]

 

Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? Official Trailer (HD) Documentary, Michel Gondry | published October 28, 2013.

{ Fitzcardboardalo by Robin Frohardt } A Delightful & Whimsical Take on Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo…*

Screen Shot from 'Fitzcardboardalo' by Robin Frohardt

This brilliant three minute animated rethinking…* of Werner Herzog‘s 1982 masterpiece, Fitzcarraldo, shot and edited by Robin Frohardt, made my day. Fitzcarraldo, one of my absolute favorite films, tells the story of a man–Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald–and the absurd grandiose dream of building an opera house in Iquitos, Peru that consumes him. To finance his dream, Fitzgerald decides to open up a tract of rubber trees on a completely inaccessible parcel of land. Ever the wild dreamer and constant rethinker…* of the impossible, Fitzgerald attempts to remedy this accessibility issue by hauling a large steamer over a mountain from one branch of the river to the other. Featuring the hauling of the steamboat, Frohardt’s animation, done all in cardboard, adds an extra dose of whimsy and delight to an already incredible story that explores imagination, passion, creativity and the realities of translating dreams into action.

Enjoy & rethink* 

FITZCARDBOARDALDO by Robin Frohardt; published on YouTube, May 29, 2013.

[H/T]  FITZCARDBOARDALDO: A CLASSIC FILM RECREATED WITH CARDBOARD via Junkculture, published May 31, 2013.

Infuse Your Monday with Whimsy & Imagination Thanks to Carl the Talking Piece of Cardboard…*

Play, imagine & rethink…* with this delightful short animation from FaceHeads, a growing art collective based in Moscow, Russia, dedicated to making original content and releasing fresh creative projects. Meet Carl, the talking piece of cardboard, who has devised a fun little exercise to “support the growth of imagination in both children and grownups.”

Instant Face Maker from FaceHeads on Vimeo.

 

[H/T]  Instant Face Maker via Booooooom, published March 8, 2013

On Delight, Whimsy & Love Created in the Streets ~ BLU’s Stunning Street Art Animations BIG BANG BIG BOOM & MUTO

Enjoy this welcome reminder of the whimsy, love, and delight that can come out of our streets and neighborhoods with these two street art animations by wonderfully disruptive and imaginative Italian artist, BLU.                                        

MUTO ~ An ambiguous animation painted on public walls. 2008

 

BIG BANG BIG BOOM ~ A short unscientific story about evolution and its consequences. 2010

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