Volkswagen’s Fun Theory Reviewed Dec14

Volkswagen’s Fun Theory Reviewed...

A recent Volkswagen commercial demonstrates a lighthearted experimental process that they have termed the ‘Fun Theory.’ In the commercial, the Volkswagen team wire a set of stairs inside a metro station to become a piano keyboard that interacts with those pedestrians who choose to take the stairs. As the pedestrians travel up and down the newly refurbished staircase, they suddenly discover they are playing notes on a piano. The sensors in the key pads that pedestrians step on were programmed to create the sound appropriate to the note played by the relative piano key. In doing this, the Volkswagen team wanted to know if more people would take the stairs because they had made taking the stairs ‘fun.’ This social experiment brings art, architecture and music together in one sensory experience. The commercial demonstrates several reactions to climbing musical stairs and each pedestrian seems to have a different response to the idea of creating music on their way up the staircase. Piano music of a whimsical and fun nature plays in the background of the commercial, fading in and out at key points to demonstrate that people stopping to press a key on the staircase are also playing the piano with each step they take. The result of the commercial is spontaneous, warm and encouraging to the viewer. But what is the Fun Theory ultimately? Volkswagen’s team stops at the word fun as if fun is to be the only necessary element conveyed in the re-purposing of a set of metro stairs into a piano keyboard. Instead, let’s look deeper into what sort of purpose and pleasure the pedestrians might have been getting by the exercise (no pun intended) and, lastly, what does this say about music and the arts — about creativity itself?...

Musebreak: A Vision

When I contemplated the idea for Musebreak, I envisioned an online magazine dedicated to bringing the world information about The Arts. A place where everyday people could take a break from their everyday world and learn about the muse that inspires us all. What we deal with as artists, where we come up with our creative ideas, where our challenges lie. I believe that as creatives, we are obligated to explain our choices and talk about what drives us to do what we do, so we can break down the barriers holding us in an awe-inspired isolation; an enigma to the rest of the world. I envisioned Musebreak as an outlet for this purpose; a way to share creativity to those who have not found theirs. Most creatives tend to hang with other creatives, because they share a common bond and draw inspiration from the symbiotic relationship. They feel understood. There’s no need to explain behaviors that don’t necessarily conform to the norm. Unfortunately, that leaves the rest of the world shaking their heads and wondering why this type of person does what they do. My vision for Musebreak would enlighten those not privy to the artistic world—I had no idea what a challenge this would be. Being 100% volunteer, getting writers to volunteer their time has been a struggle. It is here that I have to sing the praises to the writers who have chosen to help me in this quest. Their weekly contributions are done without any type of feedback or pay. The only thing I can offer is to promote whatever artistic venture they are involved in and a space to write, free of strict deadlines or strict editorial constraints. I also feel the need to apologize for my attempts at...

Inspiration Sep08

Inspiration

As an artist, I have learned that inspiration can come from anywhere. That’s why I think it’s important to balance your play time with your work hours. To be creative, you need to open yourself up to new people, new places, new experiences and gain input, so that your creative well keeps flowing. Too many times I’ve seen artists get stuck in a rut and become uninspired. They can’t think of anything new because they themselves aren’t inspired. “Because of our routines we forget that life is an ongoing adventure.” — Maya Angelou As a graphic designer, I’m constantly hit with clients needing creative ideas. If I let myself, I could work 24/7 and never come up for air. Experience has taught me that if I did this, eventually I would run out of ideas and suffer burn out. This is why I make sure that I schedule in enough play time to fill the well. I can’t be a good source for creative ideas, when I never do anything new to inspire me. For me, play time encompasses many different events. I don’t actually have to be “at play”. I can be inspired just going to a fabric store and looking at all the fabric. Color and pattern surround me in a way that is different for the average fabric shopper. I get inspired by the artwork these fabric artists have created and mentally store away the visual find. The same holds true with a walk in the park or a trip to the beach. Nature is my visual artist and I draw inspiration from its artwork. The pattern of petals on a flower, the color of the changing leaves in fall, almost anything can be my inspiration. People and places can also...