Jun Fukiwara is capturing music in a bottle

Artist Jun Fukiwara has created a bottle that captures everyday sound and turns it into music. It is so amazing and beautiful.

To record a sound, you uncap the bottle and to stop, you cork it again. Using hand motions, you can record, save, play and delete.

I love how the aim of this was to bring joy through easily creating music from relatively mundane sound. It draws our attention to an audio-scape that we tune out when we’re having conversations or in a rush.

This could have been another white device that you fit into your pocket and plug into headphones, instead, Jun Fukiwara has created a shared interactive experience through the sound bottle.

To record sounds, there’s a big physical action of uncorking a bottle, you don’t press a button then shove something into your pocket. This is a very visible and fun recording device, it isn’t intimidating, and in the second video, you can see that people really get into it within seconds of interacting with it.

I like that you have to put the bottle upright and uncork it to listen to the music. It’s like you can see the sounds escaping upward and around the bottle.

Who doesn’t love a little instant gratification? Creating a song made of sounds you’ve just recorded is a freaking delight.

“It is a work which everyone can operate automatically by having taken in natural behaviour of people to the interface. And the point of re: sound bottle is of having given the user pleasure of beginning to make music by oneself is more wonderful than anything (sic).” – Jun Fukiwara

I hope this brings a little bit of sound-shine into your day. And maybe until re: sound bottle is available to the public, we cn start recording audio with our phones and mixing it at home.

Why kids are so imaginative

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Kids can easily reach a brain wave that makes them more imaginative than adults. There’s a delightful way in which they play with items or think about things. This is because it’s really easy for them to reach theta brain state, one of four brain states a human can go into over the course of their lifetime.

With little tricks you can reach theta-level creativity more easily.

Adults reach theta state when we’re relaxed but not asleep. It’s the state you’re in when you get a-ha moments.

That doesn’t mean us adults are regulated to mundane ideas.

Here’s some things we can do to get more theta-friendly:

Daydream. But do something to remember your ideas.

Leave a notebook by your bed and take notes just before you doze off.

Thomas Edison used to power nap sitting upright in a chair. He’d have a handful of marbles and a tin underneath. He would think about his problem and as he fell asleep, the marbles would drop and he’d wake himself up and take notes on whatever was in his head. Interrupted sleep sounds like my worst nightmare, but you can give that a go!

Have toys that you can distract your mind with when you need to come up with the next great idea.

You can also sometimes reach a theta state by doing something mundane and automatic, like showering or driving home. I love driving for a couple of hours – it’s where I get some of my best distillations of ideas.

Theta waves can be experienced by an adult through dreams and deep meditation. So give meditation a go.

So, to have the imagination of a kid:

  • Daydream with a pen and paper
  • Take notes on any ideas you have just before you go to bed or get out of the shower
  • Try jotting down ideas during a road trip
  • Distract your mind with easy tasks
  • Meditate

A short history of storytelling

A short, curated history of storytelling:

Humans started making art and creating burial rituals around 200,000 years ago, during the middle Palaeolithic era.

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Stories were told within the nomad team.

Around this time, jewellery, cave art and statues of curvaceous women started to get created. When there’s a ritual, there’s a story.

150,000 years or so after that, great storytellers in Ancient Greece would collect fables and speak to gathered audiences. Dance, chants and acting were incorporated.

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In the middle ages, storytellers would work in the marketplace and royal courts as minstrels.

They were the verbal newspapers and could be asked to recite poetry, report the latest thinking of the local university, tell simple cures for ailments and reveal gossip in rich colour.

Stories were created to protect us as well as protect things of value.

Almost every saying or turn of word has a story attached to it.

At one stage, mirrors were ridiculously hard to make and were very valuable, hence the seven years of bad luck if you break them.

Stories were built around the birth of modern agriculture. The mother goddess and horned father mating in the spring and dying in the winter. These would be sung in the fields or acted out in festivals.

The Grimm brothers wrote down all the children stories told throughout Germany, changed them so it reflected their values then made a book.

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Oral stories started to be told through film, where at first, they talked loudly, because they were used to projecting their voices during plays.

A new visual language started to be created. The zoom, the detail, the colours being used.

There was a moment where someone invented the camera pan, a technique so prevalent that we don’t even notice it anymore.

Then television allowed even more voices and stories to be heard. Productions needed to fill the grey noise. 24-hour news channels that play in the background of every American airport.

Now – the internet.

It’s as if we’re back in the cave 200,000 years ago. Everyone telling everyday stories to their nomad team using either closed off social media or blogs.

It’s interesting to see how this will evolve.

When I look back at history, it looks like we started off telling stories to people that care about us, expanded our stories to give lessons on whatever morals were important at the time, then invested in elaborate fantasy stories through media.

I feel like we’re going back to telling more cave stories as well as consuming an eclectic mix of fables and news at our choosing.

What do you think about it all?

To get great ideas, share your half-baked ideas

“Good ideas may not want to be free, but they do want to connect, fuse, recombine. They want to reinvent themselves by crossing conceptual borders. They want to complete each other as much as they want to compete.” – Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From

Steve Johnson has a whole book on how to make great ideas.

The most salient point for me was that you should share your ideas.

Don’t hold your ideas as if they were secrets.

Allow your ideas to connect with like-minded people.

Chew the fat and talk it through. It won’t dilute your idea, it will add flavour.

“Most important ideas emerged during regular lab meetings, where a dozen or so researchers would gather and informally present and discuss their latest work. The ground zero of innovation was not the microscope, it was the conference table.” – Steve Johnson

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The Emily Dickinson bubble

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Emily Dickinson was a complete introvert, and maybe, because of that, her art is stronger. She communicated with others through letters and short conversations. For her time period, Dickinson’s poems are unique little bursts of ingenuity. I fiercely love her poems.

I’m wondering (and this might be obvious to you, let me know if it is), do we need to spend more time alone to create stuff?

“It’s actively anti-social. On the other hand, it’s pro-creative.” – Twyla Tharp, dancer and choreographer

Lately I’ve been filtering out noise as an experiment in creativity. Noise as in social noise. I deactivated Facebook. I’m skipping an afternoon at the pub with friends to write this letter to you instead.

“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.” – Rollo May, existential psychologist

This new found time and space has given me more gaps to think, more time to really get a feel for who I am and what I’m trying to say. And I’m translating that into little art pieces.

The funny thing is, as I’m working on these pieces of work, I’m so terrified of what you’re going to think.

But fuck it, I’m doing it anyway.

How to reset your mood

These five steps appear so simple that it’s easy to disregard, but sometimes the simplest things are the best ones.

This works when you’re feeling overwhelmed and meh and you just need a reset, a complete start over to your day.

Close your computer down, put the phone away and just indulge on a simple pleasure in life.

  1. Get your favourite album. Could be something released last year, could be a classic. But be honest with yourself and choose your favourite album of all time.
  2. Start playing it as loud as you can
  3. Lie on the floor
  4. Sing along, do a floor dance, play air guitar, close your eyes, do air running men. Absorb. Simmer in the music.
  5. Don’t get up until the album is complete, even if you think there are more important things to do, even if you get distracted.

Soul reset complete.

I did this last week on a particularly tiring day and it was so inspiring. My favourite album of all time is Abbey Road. It builds and circles in on itself and finishes with a bang and then a diddle. Love, love, love it.

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Get on with your day, wild tiger!

How to really listen

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Whether we mean to or not, every human brings assumptions and internal monologues to a conversation

It’s not a reflection on our personalities.

It saves time. It saves brain space. Our minds are just trying to take the path of least resistance.

Try this the next time you’re having an unpleasant conversation.

Take a deep breath. Really listen, intently, to what the other person is saying. Then listen to what they’re saying in the spaces.

What are their fears?
What are their needs?
What are their motivations?
What are they really saying?

There are so many nuances, so many little things that go on in a conversation but often we’re too rushed to notice.