Monthly Reflections | Spring 2023

February | Monthly Reflections

It has been rather motivating to have so many wonderful engagements and conversations around Collaboration over these past few weeks. Amongst the chaos of life, it is blissful to have a place to ground the work, alongside others who are just as focused. The end of February brings along the end of reading break as well. I’ve had the opportunity to step away from the work over this time and it has been helpful to spend time marinating. It’s also given me the time and space to reflect on works from the semester so far, such as the Lego explorations and Cards Against Lethargy. All the while, continuing to have conversations and engaging in collaboration. 

I spent a lot of this time trying to sort out the direction of my inquiry. I feel the pressures of interim thesis, not in terms of building or delivering a presentation, but more so to have an articulated direction. The Lego tests were filled with “play” and gave me a chance to be a viewer to serendipitous moments of connections between people’s experiences and processes. The Cards Against Lethargy gave me a tool to externalize my process, showed intuition and inspiration in the process, and was an effort to make an artefact that would be a tool to support workflow during collaboration. 

I enjoy living in other people’s worlds and witnessing how their creativity works. A friend once described feedback as therapy for creative block. This is an aspect of collaboration that I aim to focus on. This moment of feedback, bouncing energy off someone, leading to that moment of collective creation and problem-solving. Through the Cards project, I realized in trying to steer “flow”, that the design of the cards and the actions provided created too many clear actions for the Collaborators. It was too specific. The intention was to jog the mind, to get thinking flowing, for that thinking to then lead to actions. When I was deeply reflecting on the Cards, I made an exciting connection between the similarities between flow state and “shower thoughts”. 

During my undergraduate studies, I was enrolled in a class with Craig Badke. We were given a project called Souvenirs of the Anthroprocene. In this work, we were tasked with exploring an aspect of Humanity that has been lost. My colleague Greyson Kelly and I dove deep into research and it took us much time to shape our project. Craig was very supportive, yet we continued to face walls with our thinking. One day, we sat together in the library at Emily Carr, and we simply did nothing. Just relaxed, observed our space, and zoned out. In that process, we came to realize what our project was: boredom, and how we have lost it due to over stimulation from the every accelerating, connected world we live in. We thought about how with stimulation, there is less room for your own original thoughts – less space for your flowers of inspiration to bloom. I thought back to this project during reading break, thinking about what the mundane does to our minds and what it provides to our creativity, and how we might be able to design for that. 

I was making a late trip home from campus recently, mid-February. It was pouring rain, and I hadn’t seemed to hit play on the bluetooth yet. The sound of rushing water drowned everything out. The large, highway streetlights loomed tall as they accompanied the myriad of headlights and taillights. The lights danced as they reflected off the slick ground and refracted through every bit of water on the windshield. The repetitive wiper blade gliding across and creating a rhythm to the symphony.  It was mundane, but it was magical and felt like being in another world. It was what flow state felt like.

The cards, my process for collaboration, the intention to push flow forward, it comes from this desire to be a better collaborator; pushing people to their creativity, giving feedback, & building out their world. I know that when I resolve the issues I have with creative block it’s attached to a feeling of flow state. I believe that in my attempts to become a better Collaborator, I hope to master this notion of flow-state and then go on to design for a collective flow. 

What’s next is to dive into the idea of “flow”, understand it’s parameters and the subjectivity around it, and ultimately, to extract what is does to us. From there, it would be a matter of designing that for a collective. I understand now that this process of collaboration is what can afford me my “flow”. By understanding what the ingredients are to this flow, and conscious of it’s subjective nature, I aim to extract them and apply them to a collaboration. Using feedback / input as a way to input flow as a Collaborator.

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