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Wired for Creativity

A prompt to encourage your practice of creativity this week from Riversider and local author Larry Burns.

Do you need a low stress way to include seven minutes of creative contemplation into your week? Consider this your helpful nudge towards a slightly more creative life. If it helps, come back every week for a quick hit of creative contemplation. Each week I’ll share a new nudge. It will include a Thing (T), a Place (P), and a Sense(S) for your focus, a TPS creative nudge.

Last week, we took a trip along some well worn paths to see what lies beyond our front doors. For many of us, paths to creativity are just out there waiting to take us to something inspiring. As you shared the road for several minutes of creative activity, I hope you found a renewed appreciation for the small places that carry us through life. Perhaps you’ve added a little to a hidden trail yourself, or can now see a path ahead in your life that was not there before. Even if you just have a greater appreciation for nature’s trailblazers and those folks at our Street Services Division at the City of Riverside, you’ve enriched your day with a little bit of magical thinking.

This week, we continue to explore our magical kingdoms with a recognition that a city of arts and innovation requires lots of power. Our creative nudge this week recognizes what grounds and sustains us, while keeping those creative juices flowing. Everything we hope to create and be in life requires a source, so it’s fitting for us to turn our gaze towards what connects us to that reliable energy: wires. 

These bundles of phone lines, power cables, and who knows what else, serve as lifelines, powering our gadgets, lighting our rooms, and linking us to the vast digital world from the comfort of our couches. Have you ever looked at the wires going into a house and wondered if you could just cut a few of them? As an artist who often incorporates wires into assemblage work, I see these lines not just as utilities but as threads that bind together the moments of our day, offering both connection and division. 

I have a long defunct satellite dish just taking up space on my eaves; its foundation has been a base of operation for generations of sparrows. Personally I find their use to be a healthy application of media hardware. Not bad for those bird brains. I bet with a little creative nudge, a designer could create a satellite dish that captures the latest in entertainment and the support nesting habits of our feathered friends.

Maybe that someone is going to be you! Ready to find out? Let's explore the creative potential of these wires, drawing inspiration from their form, function, and the way they map our spaces.

Creative Exercises:

  1. Some Assembly Required: Gather old wires, twine, or similar materials to bind objects together, creating something new from the discarded or overlooked. 
  2. Dot Dash Dot: Pretend a new wire has been installed into your home: a telegraph line. Who would you send a message to if you could only use this ancient form of communication? How would you order Amazon packages or show people what you’re eating today?
  3. Up Close Magic: Take close-up photographs of wires, creating abstract images. Play with angles, lighting, and focus to distort the wires into shapes and patterns that challenge their identity. 
  4. Wire Walker: Pay special attention to the wires overhead or the bundles leading into homes. Sketch or jot down your observations, noting how these wires delineate spaces while connecting them. Reflect on what your own art house is connected to.

May this week's creative nudge inspire you to see the wires around you not as mere obstructions but as lines of possibility, drawing us together while offering endless avenues for artistic expression. Wires, in their ubiquitous presence, are the veins and arteries of our modern existence, pulsing with the potential for creative exploration. As we engage with these exercises, let's appreciate the intricate web of connections they represent, both in the physical world and in our imagination.

This column written with the help of ChatGPT Plus and related Plugins.