This blog will clinch my reflection on the value of creative workshops arousing imagination.
In the past I conducted my workshops and presentations in not just the different states within the USA, which in itself offers insightful dissimilarities, but also in such countries as Poland, Germany, France, Canada, Venezuela, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Hong Kong, Costa Rica, Turkey, Japan... You cannot imagine how contrasting the experiences of working with Mid-Western students is from that of those in New York City or even Boston, and how much more extreme these distinctions become in, for example, cases of Korea and Costa Rica.
Currently I am exploring possibilities of conducting my creative workshops in India. Based on my previous visit to this fascinating country, is would seem to me that students who are growing up in the environment that is so ancient, with such rich heritage, and yet radically diverse and intensely vibrant, would be truly fascinating. If Indian art, legends, myths, film, dance, culture, ways of life, their energy, passion, spirit and “hot blood” are indicative of the imaginary potentials of the Indian students, than this could truly become a “mind blowing” experience. As such it could radically expand my sensibilities and horizons, and thus scope of future impact on those I hope to mentor over the years. And I am always ready for more.
Why do I find the process so enriching, enlightening and inspiring? It is precisely because these activities are conducted in such diverse geographic, political, cultural, ideological, socio-economic and even climate settings. The opportunity for interaction with students who are growing up molded by these environments, their unique attitudes, perceptions, rules and mentality is truly thought provoking. At the same time it is revealing of what is ahead for these countries and their cultures, since their future, their cultures, politics, arts, economies, relationships with the rest of the world, will all be impacted by these young future creative professionals, by their ideas, visions, aspirations, hopes and even dreams. But only if these students of given occasion for discovering these values within themselves.
Yet there is another very important factor worth stressing. In all my travels I find that the variances that set us apart are much lesser than you would think them based on the ways they are portrait, stressed and accentuated by our political leaders or by the mass media. I mention it because too many people I speak to echo the thinking pervaded by mass media. That is also why encouraging independent thought is so vital to our freethinking and ideas.
As I had mentioned above, my workshops focus on inspiring greater imagination through what I refer to as "gravity free & reality independent" ideation. After introduction to this concept and methodology, this unique approach is practiced either through metamorphic and animated short storytelling, or concept designs exploring potentials of interactivity with and within an augmented - mixed reality space, one that fuses reality with virtuality.
As a Film Directing graduate, one who has never studied animation, I discovered that the uniquely metamorphic and animated short storytelling liberates us from the numerous constrains of life action filmmaking. After all, animation represents a magical time based media. It can be truly personal. As such it positions an artist as the ultimate Creator of the world of his or her imagination. Within it reality, or its various qualities, rules, gravity, time, spatial limitations or other such parameters, do not apply, do not even exist, but only if the Creator wishes to avoid them or elects to invent other rules of own making, devised by his or her own imagination. This is total freedom, one that is limited only by the scope of the Creator’s own imagination. And that is exactly why cultivating imagination is imperative.
And when it comes to concept design, my explorations are dedicated to interactivity and its power to act as a “magic wand” in the hands of our inventively creative and ideating minds. Interactivity will soon infuse life into all the facets of our currently passive environments. Thus, through artificial intelligence, it will bring all and everything around us to “life”. This will be a truly exciting time when artist will be called upon to design the various elements of our environment as characters with personality, emotions and responsiveness that will allow them, and us humans, to interact and dialogue in ways that will change everything.
Conducting these explorations totally independently of technology liberates students from any limitations associated with tools for eventual execution of their ideas. Thus it releases them to explore infinite potentials of their imagination, or of the future, or the ways they would like to impact it, or their own magic wishes, aspirations and even personal dreams. It is through such a process that students are enabled to distill their unique identities. Once they graduate it will be too late, for this is when reality, pressures, pragmatism, competitive markets, interviews, employment applications, and other sobering responsibilities hit them straight in the face. For the most, no more time to explore, probe, experiment, dream or fly.
We now live in an astonishing time. Technology has reached truly amazing levels. Acting as our “magic wand” it makes us more powerful than ever! It can make our farthest-reaching ideas, dreams, conceptual designs and wishes come true. But what we often forget is that technology is most powerful when invisible. And, on its own, IT does nothing; it does not make us creative, imaginative, meaningful or inspiring. Hence cultivation of imagination is so vital. For technology in the hands of mighty imagination transforms us into magicians.
Shaped by political prosecution in a country famed for its creative and independent spirit, furthered by contrasts subsequently realized in my travel, I have become a ardent believer in global education deriving inspiration from the contrasts and unique richness of different cultures, their ideas, ideologies, creativity, arts and historic experiences which shaped their sole character. In my view, global exposure is vital to abolishing prejudices and suspicions separating peoples who otherwise have so much in common. And therefore, whatever the medium, creative expression represents a mighty, poetic, visual and, best yet, a nonverbal language understandable by and to all. Through it people worldwide can communicate and inspire each other, shaping appreciation and mutual respect. When fueled by a sincere and deeply felt personal expression, such a language turns into an influential herald of ideals, feelings, cultures, aspirations, dreams and hopes. That is why creative workshops are vital.
To conclude, for those of you who are students, fight for exposure, for the right to and time to experiment, explore, make mistakes, bounce your head against the walls, rebel, even if only to find out what it feels like. Above all, seek out who you are, what make you - “YOU”! Expose yourself to a diversity of ideas, ideologies, cultures, thinking, and perspectives from around the world. Too many of you are too focus on getting the grades, the piece of paper, on acquiring the “skills”, learning the tools, on “How to” instead of “Why”, or what is all this about, how do I feel about it, how do I want to impact it, what is my dream, my aspiration, my reason for being, my voice, my mission in life. Life is too short for anything else, or less.
For those of you who have elected to become the mentors of the next generations, and here is the very dicey proposition and recommendation, but never the less. Do not “teach”, but instead embolden “learning”. In my view the difference is truly titanic. You can make your student sink or you can make him or her fly. Therefore, create a climate of self-discovery, exploration, brainstorming ideation. Resort to any incentives that will inspire and groom individuality and imagination. Once these are awakened from hibernation, cultivate them through challenges incited by global exposure. That is where creative workshops are “it”.