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“So that when I look up at the night sky and I know that yes, we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up – many people feel small because they’re small and the Universe is big – but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars. There’s a level of connectivity. That’s really what you want in life, you want to feel connected, you want to feel relevant you want to feel like a participant in the going on of activities and events around you. That’s precisely what we are, just by being alive…”—Neil deGrasse Tyson
“In case you haven't noticed, we're all standing in the eye of a global youth movement. There's no historical analogue for a generation of young people as globally connected and influential as us and our peers. History is speeding up - more news was written this year than last, ad infineum. And I'm betting you're starting to notice that more and more of it is being written about people you know, too. I can't tell you what the future looks like, except that it won't resemble the society we grew up in. It's up to us to decide what kind of a world we want to live in and what kind of lives we want to lead.”—By Nicholas Molnar, via – and with the full text of Nicholas’ experience at Burning Man 2011 – Dave Radparvar.
Where do we draw the line when stealing someones ideas?
“Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new at all.” - Abraham Lincoln
In this day an age, originality is almost nonexistent. History is constantly repeating itself and anything we think is an original idea has been done before, just in a different context or form. From the most iconic of ideas such as E.T, as we all know Michelangelo did this first with “The creation of Adam” (1508-1512.) By taking the form of the “finger-touching” we have two completely different ideas, that are connected by the same form. Take Mari Sorrenti’s YSL ad campaign.
This image origionated from Gabrielle d’Estrees et une de ses soeurs (c. 1594, unknown artist).
Sorrenti took the form of the piece and replaced the context. The original notion of this piece was about Gabrielle d’Estrees’ pregnancy and her maternal side. Where as Sorrenti’s image holds the same form but is obviously about fashion. He was inspired by the original and and reconstructed it to suit a different target audience, focusing on the upper class and the fashion forward. This shows that it’s not stealing if you take the form from one thing and the narrative structure from another.
I feel ideas similar to this have been done to death. Even people who take the same narrative and put it into a different form always end up with similar outcomes. Take a minute to go and type “Ophelia” into Google Images, each picture is similar. A woman, with long hair, and flowers in a river. I feel that if artists and designers were to look a bit deeper there is great potential to create something with meaning, that hasn’t been done a million times over.
There is a fine line between stealing and “homage to” and Rankin has conquered it. He did a project called “Seven photographs that changed fashion”, recreating some of the most iconic photographs of the twentieth century.
Erwin Blumenfeld - 1950s Vogue and Rankin’s “Homage to Erwin Blumenfeld” (Model : Heidi Klum)
Richard Avedon - 1955 - “Dovima With Elephants” and Rankin’s “Homage to Richard Avedon” (Model : Erin O’Connor)
David Bailey - 1963 - Jean Shrimpton and Rankin’s “Homage to David Bailey” (model Tuuli)
Helmut Newton - 1975 - “Le Smoking” and Rankin’s “Homage to Helmut Newton”
Rankin’s photographs portray the elements of pastiche, I guess you could call it imitation. I feel that this is not steeling because - obviously - he’s been commisioned to do it, but also because he took the form, and made it appropriate for the twenty first century. Audience is a key factor whenever we design or create something and by modernising a historical idea to suit the audience is a skill in itself.
Image Source :
My intimate relationship with connectivity.
The mobile phone and the internet have done some amazing things which have completely revolutionised the way I live my life.
I cannot imagine studying and working without it - a quick search through an online database saves many physical hours spent at a library - and I cannot imagine communication without email and social media sites.
It still blows my mind that we can video call someone halfway across the world in live time and have a conversation with them as if they were right in front of us. Technology is truly extraordinary.
At the same time, I’ve realised that the internet has not only enabled me to do certain things - but it’s also disabled others. I sleep with my phone in arms reach (mostly because of the alarm function) but it is nevertheless the last thing I put down before I sleep and first thing I check in the morning. I will browse through my email inbox before my brain has even started itself up properly, and I will reply to text messages before I have time to say good morning to my family.
In other words, I have a pretty intimate relationship with my phone, and its ability to connect me to the rest of the world. If there is WiFi connection, I will be very tempted to check my email. Because of this connectivity to the rest of the world, I am basically on call to the rest of the world some 24 hours a day.
It sounds a bit ridiculous but it’s true. We are slaves to, and now build our lives around connectivity and the movement of data around the world - it’s no longer about how strong or smart you are, but about how fast you are in getting connected.
We are now playing a data game, in a world ruled by information.
Lately, as I prepare for exams and trudge through my thesis, I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of being able to focus. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time.
When I was in middle school I was given Retalin to help me focus. I don’t remember if it actually worked, but I do remember that the side effects were terrible, and I quickly stopped taking it. I eventually managed to get over my issues with a combination of persistence, and help from my parents and a few tutors. I made it through high school, then into Washington University in St Louis, transferring to Harvard sophomore year to complete my bachelors, and this fall I hopefully will be receiving a masters from Oxford. If you asked any of my middle school teachers where they thought I would end up academically, I assure you they would have been wrong.
I’m not going to debate the issue of medicating an increasing number of children for ADD & ADHD, as I simply don’t know enough of the science to argue whether it exists and if it’s actually worth medicating given the side-effects. I do believe, however, that regardless of one person’s propensity toward distraction, we are all faced with exponentially more stimulus in today’s world than ever before, and no human is properly prepared for it.
Given this, I believe schools should teach ‘focus’ as a core discipline in K-12 education. It’s such an important skill - necessary for success in just about everything, yet totally undervalued in our society. Do you check Facebook, Twitter, or your email every 10 minutes? Do you pull out your mobile during dinner or mid conversation with someone? Then you have the problem too.
I struggle every day to overcome it, and I hope someday soon we can prepare kids in advance for dealing with all this stimulus – without the stigma – as they enter an ever-increasing world of connectivity.