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Random Acts of Creativity

If a Xylophone is Played in a Forest…

xylophono

Some days, my drafts folder is overflowing, full of posts just waiting to be published, and other days, the inspiration just isn’t flowing. That’s how I was feeling today, until I came across this clever project/video/ad that put a smile on my face:

A giant wood xylophone in a forest. Sure. Why not.

It’s for the new Touch Wood cell phone by Smart. (Which will be made from “locally sourced cypress trees” – somehow I don’t see how the “locally sourced” argument works for logging. Is it any better because it’s local?) But I don’t care. I still love this random, random installation.

Random Acts of Creativity

Lost Pictures of New York Blizzard

bk found film

This is SO This American Life!! Apparently I’m waaay behind on this one, but just in case some of you were too, I had to share it!

Guy resolves to have more adventure in life. It snows in New York, he decides to ski in Prospect Park for some adventure. Finds a film canister in the snow. Develops it. Makes a film about and puts it on youtube to try to find its owners. The video gets over a million hits, and emails pour in from people who believe they may have clues for him.

I don’t want to give away the end of the story, because it’s just much better if you watch the videos. (I will tell you he travels to Europe as a result!) Definitely watch part 1 (about finding the film and requesting help finding the owner) and part 3 (about his journey to Europe).

 

It’s convenient that he, Todd Bieber is his name,  makes films for a living– I can’t remember for whom now, I think it was Upright Citizens Brigade– so the story is really well told in the video.

 

I think storytelling as a thing is underrated– it’s something that everyone loves, but perhaps not consciously, as it’s not often discussed as it’s own thing. People love movies and great conversation, but it’s rarely discussed that it’s because we all enjoy great storytelling. But why else would this video have gotten over a million hits? Anyway, I think this is one of the best examples of storytelling I’ve come across in a while. The actual “plot” is awesome, and Todd is a wonderful storyteller, not only giving you the facts, but drawing some wonderful conclusions at the end. Enjoy!

 

 

Random Acts of Creativity

The City of Lights at Night

paris

This video, by Luke Shepard, combines two of my favorite things: stop-motion animation and Paris. Composed from 2000 photos of Paris at night and set to a song by the XX (why is their music so sexy??), the video takes you on a mesmerizing journey around the city.

I also loved the answers (below) Shepard gave in this interview with one of National Geographic’s blogs– they gave the video an added endearing, personal quality, knowing that the video was inspired by his love of exploring the city at night. And it made me want to start going on long bike rides through San Francisco at night just to discover a new dimension to the city.

You call this project a personal project. What inspired you to create it?
Well, a very rough version of the video was made for a video production class I took at my school, but after that I became attached to the idea and continued to work on and improve it for a long time afterward. As to where the inspiration came from, it was my love for walking around Paris late at night. I have walked home from opposite ends of Paris very early in the morning after long nights out with friends, and it is always amazing. In most areas, Paris dies in the middle of the night: there is no one to be seen, the lights are turned off on all the monuments, and very few cars pass by. I feel as though this video shows this other side of Paris that I love. I feel that not everyone sees it, especially not tourists who might spend most of their time exploring the city during the day.  As a night owl, this is the part of Paris I often see.
I love the mood the video evokes. Why did you choose to shoot at night? Was it intentional?
Paris in the middle of the night is beautiful and not something that is often witnessed. One of my favorite things to do in Paris is go on bike rides around the city late at night because there are very few cars and people. It gives me a feeling as though the city is mine. Also, shooting at night, while the lights were off on all the monuments, allows for long exposure photos. Stringing hundreds of long exposure photos together provides a really interesting visual aspect. It helps show Paris from the different perspective for which I was aiming.

Random Acts of Creativity

Modern Love

hookchasup

Yesterday I was telling my roommate the story of my parents’ engagement, which involves a telegram, and I couldn’t stop thinking afterward how much the world has changed since then.

Not so long ago, my parents got engaged via telegram, the only method of communication available to them, and in the dating world of today we are all constantly connected to the ones we love (or the ones we met Saturday night, or the ones we wished love us) via Facebook, texting, email, Twitter, etc. Add to that the ever-present potential to find love from your couch while surfing online dating sites, and the array of forms of modern dating becomes potentially overwhelming.

 

Chas, via the above personal ad (for lack of a better term, though I’m sure Urban Dictionary will coin one soon), has created another potential route to love, one that also capitalizes on modern technology and communication, but adds crowd-sourcing to the equation. Ready to settle down and with some extra cash to help him do it, Chas has set up a website describing himself and offering $10k to whomever introduces him to his future wife.

It’s just so clever. Sure, it might seem crass to offer money to find a wife, but if that is what will motivate the crowds to source a wife for him, and the point is that he’s ready for love but can’t seem to find it, isn’t it also quite romantic? All this work in the quest for the right woman?

 

I’ll admit, there’s a chance I’m also just swayed to argue on behalf of this guy’s efforts because of how well the website was done, because this guy executed the same concept in a very different way and the whole thing really grosses me out! But on Chas’s site, the storytelling style of the photography is excellent, the site itself is very clean and cool, and the copy is amazingly endearing considering what it is. Simple, witty, charming, and refreshingly not overwrought. Even the name of the site is funny.

I did a little investigating on this guy, and he is actually an advertising exec, which makes perfect sense, since he created such an impressive advertisement for himself! Surely if he doesn’t find love, he’ll at least get a lot of freelance work out of this!

 

And one final note, his last name is McFeely. So I’m hoping if this thing goes viral, he’ll be the new McDreamy/McSteamy… First there were the hunky guys on Grey’s Anatomy, now there’s the clever ad exec committed to finding love. Could the name McFeely be any more perfect for his mission?

Random Acts of Creativity

Missed Connections

nygirl of dreams

Y’all know I love the Missed Connections illustrations based on the craigslist category of the same name, so I’m sure you won’t be surprised that I have never forgotten this little incident. This happened four years or so ago, when I lived in New York, and I’ve never forgotten it and just had to share it with you.

So here’s the story. This guy, Patrick, sees “the girl of his dreams” on the subway, fails to make a move, and decides to create a website– NYgirlofmydreams.com– with the above illustration to try to find her.

The site and illustration went viral, ending up almost immediately on the cover of the AM New York and Metro, the free papers that are handed out as you head onto the subway in the morning, meaning that pretty much everyone in New York was following this story and wondering if they knew the girl. A terrific example of crowdsourcing, the case was cracked pretty quickly when a staffer for BlackBook magazine recognized the girl as one of their interns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speculation swirled as people wondered if this was a publicity stunt by either BlackBook or Vimeo, which Patrick worked for, or both, but I like to believe that it was sincere. (And if it was a publicity stunt, it was freaking brilliant, so I guess I’m fine with that too.)

You can search if you’re curious for the end of the story, there are gossip accounts out there, but I prefer Patrick’s ending that he posted on the site: he said he was going to stop updating the world because unlike romantic comedies, we would have to imagine our own ending to the story.

And why not? Isn’t it enough inspiration just to know that someone would go to such lengths to find a potential missed connection, and moreover, that we clearly still believe in fate and romance as a society, if the whole city would be interested enough to become totally obsessed with the story and trying to set them up?

 

Random Acts of Creativity

Up-Inspired Floating House

UP

How is this for wonder?! On Saturday, National Geographic launched a 16×16′ house into flight, inspired by the Pixar movie Up, in what was the largest balloon cluster flight in history.

Launched from a private airfield outside LA at dawn, the creation was over 10 stories tall from top to bottom, reached an altitude of over 10,000 feet, and was in flight for over an hour.

A film of the event will air as part of a National Geographic series called “How Hard Can It Be” in fall 2011.

 

Is National Geographic getting their act together or what?! I have another post lined up for this week about another project of theirs! Who did they bring in? Suddenly they are doing tons of cool news-worthy stuff that is making them relevant again! Must do some investigating…

Random Acts of Creativity

The Yellow Umbrella Project

yellow umbrella project

I love this concept.  Here You Go, a Pittsburgh-based community project, hands out free yellow umbrellas to people caught in the rain.  In exchange, the recipients are simply asked to pass along an act of kindness.

With the umbrella, they are given a pre-addressed, postage-paid, waterproof postcard on which to write what they did for someone and to drop it in the mail to Here You Go, who then posts them on their website.

What a lovely reminder and inspiration to do random kind things for others.  Do you ever check out The Happiness Project? One thing Gretchen notes, in her findings on happiness, is the maxim, “Do good, feel good.”  It really is true.  My mom told me recently that she paid for the groceries for the man behind her at the store, and in addition to making that guy’s day, she felt simply buoyant all day and was inspired to keep up the random acts (not that she’s not already the kindest person ever).

I’ve read a few times that even if your motivation for doing something nice for someone else is selfish– to get the warm fuzzy feeling– it still does make you feel good, and it of course still brightens that person’s day as well– it’s a win-win.  So why not!

Random Acts of Creativity

The “Let’s Colour” Project

The “Let’s Colour” Project, sponsored by Dulux paints, is on a mission to color over grey spaces (ie, plain concrete) around the world.  While I do think that color can add energy and happiness to a space, I’m not totally sure how I feel about the project as a whole.  Regardless, the video they’ve made of their work so far is pretty cool… check it out and see what you think!

Random Acts of Creativity

Random Acts of Creativity >> Moss "Graffiti"

 Living walls + silhouette art + random acts of creativity + street art = just too much.  In the best way. 

Living (or green) walls, also called vertical gardens, are such a cool concept, and Mosstika, an “Urban Greenery” collaboration between Edina Tokodi and Jozsef Valyi-Toth, has turned them into silhouette art using grasses and moss, and then, even better, they put their pieces on public walls.

 I love how their work challenge the traditional notion of graffiti and the effect someone can have on a public space when “making their mark”– both through the content and the medium. 

I love that it is something living on the wall, and reminds you of the nature that might have been there before all the buildings were.
Rather than just leaving a tag or a cryptic design, their street art gives something to the passerby– just a small moment in which he or she gets to stop and marvel at the fact that an anonymous stranger spent their time making something beautiful for them to see.
It’s an experience that is capable of making you feel more hopeful about the world for a moment, knowing that someone put that there expecting nothing in return.

Mosstika website here.

via twig and thistle

Random Acts of Creativity

Random Acts of Creativity >> Looking Into the Past

 
This flickr group, Looking into the Past, is too cool.  People find these old photos of recognizable locations, and hold them up in front of the modern day scene.
  
 
Of course there are books that do things like this, overlaying the old and new (my dad gave me one for Christmas a few years ago about New York and it’s so cool), but I love that this one is just random people recognizing places they know in old photographs and contributing to the project. 
 
 
 It makes it a little more personal– you wonder how they found the photo, or what association they have with the place or the buildings that used to be there.  Did thier grandparent work in the building that was there?  Do they live near this spot now and they wondered what used to be there and looked it up?
Definitely provokes some wonderment…
flickr set here
found via Swiss Miss

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