Seeing is not Believing

When is seeing not believing? Beginning at about the three minute mark of the video below, Harvard physicist Lisa Randall and architect/designer Chuck Hoberman engage in a brief discussion about what our sense of sight has to do with knowing. As Randall points out, scientific method offers passage beyond our immediate sense of the world. After all, our sense of sight is dependent on a particular narrow wavelength.

It's the mediated experience that ironically, can offer more and better evidence for the veracity of a claim, a proposition that artists and designers continually exploit.

The suggestion also strongly reminded me of the "Science of Magic" session at the 2008 IdeaFestival, where Teller brilliantly demonstrated, first with a trick, and then with an explanation of the trick, how our senses can easily be fooled.


Marc Yu - "The thing is, you have to love music"

A prodigy at the piano, Marc Yu wowed IdeaFestival audiences last year with his mastery of complex music. In this IdeaFestival Conversation, he says any child can be as good as he is as long as she is dedicated. But, he added, "the thing is, you have to love music."

For another take on the relative roles of nature versus nurture in producing extraordinary talent, check out this IF Conversation with the world's greatest juggler, Vova Galchenko. Wayne

"Idiosyncratic" means brave

 At the wonderful blog Museum 2.0, Nina Simon describes the power of idiosyncrasy in the museum experience, and contrasting it with the the natural desire in difficult times to find "proven strategies" to satisfy ownership and boards of directors, says it's important for organizations to find "their own way forward."


I understand why retail establishments benefit from becoming bigger, more homogeneous, and more distributed. People like to buy from chains because they know what they are going to get. But consistency should not be the number one value when it comes to providing visitors with educational, aesthetic, social, and hopefully transformative experiences. I'd argue that one of the top reasons people DON'T visit museums is that they think they already know what they are going to get. Especially when it comes to small museums with limited collections, a distinctive personality is often the best thing the institution has to offer. Trying to cover it up or smooth it out in favor of "best practices" does a disservice to the museum and the audience. It creates another forgettable museum.

For festival goers who take in Sean Carroll's views on time, or see Diavolo dance or hear Daniel Tammet describe his life as a prodigious savant, or listen to "Push" author Sapphire or Avatar co-producer Jon Landau discuss their lives and art, or see any of the accomplished individuals that will be in Louisville during the IdeaFestival in late September, the only constant will be lives bravely led. Each has found their way forward.

And so can you. The IdeaFestival never discriminates on the basis of ability.


Image: Geoff Oliver Bugbee


Backstage: The IF Insider Pass


Note: The IdeaFestival speaker lineup is here. You may purchase Insider Passes here.

When the agenda, speaker lineup and brand new web site for IdeaFestival '10 are revealed - soon, we promise! - you will have the opportunity to buy for a limited time a special IF Insider Pass that in addition to being the lowest priced all-access pass, will also provide these benefits:

  • A personal invitation to the “Insider Look at IF” hosted by IF Founder Kris Kimel and selected speakers on Wednesday, September 29th at 3:00pm at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.
  • An IF Gift Bag filled to the brim with lots of special gifts chosen specifically for our IF Insider Pass holders.
  • An invitation to the IF opening reception for sponsors, speakers and All-Access Pass holders on Wednesday, September 29th at 6:00pm at the 21c Museum+Hotel.
  • Discounted tickets ($15) to Louisville Orchestra’s 2nd performance of Frans Lanting’s LIFE: A Journey Through Time.
  • Entrance to all IF events (excluding Thrivals @ IF, IF Kids and The Main Course).

The first 55 people to purchase an IF Insider Pass will also receive a ticket to the Janelle Monáe concert to be held September 29 at 8:00pm in the Bomhard Theater.

Don't go anywhere!



"Tyranny of the explicit"

Facilitator and "improvateur," Johnnie Moore, released his latest podcast on the "tyranny of the explicit," which I highly recommend. It's often important to approach a goal indirectly, and as you will hear in the brief podcast linked above, insisting on the numbers can get in the way of a better result.


Put another way: Because the creative process is very often not one of pinning down, but of loosening up, it's sometimes better to let some ideas announce themselves.

Joy can be a business strategy.


Image credit:

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