Saturday, November 16, 2013

When we were creative

I used to believe the age of creativity in business, was the wave of new products based on the Internet and the future wave following the expiry of 3D printer patents (2014). When I read Niels’s paper, I understood the collapse of craftsman-age creativity at the beginning of the industrial era, but I didn’t connect it to the different objects I saw, touched and used in my life.

Last week, I visited a West African Museum in Lyon and I would not have expected this tour to open my mind to the different building ages.
While we were walking in the museum, the guide explained the objects exhibited and we understood most of the collection was composed of pieces bought from the end of 19th century to the mid 20th. The objects created by one tribe were totally different from objects sculpted by another. Also, the signification could be totally different from one tribe to another and also us. Those objects were considered as art by Western people at this time, but in fact were day-to-day objects made by craftsmen. The museum guide told us they are unable to gather further descriptions of the objects’ usage and significance due the lack of knowledge of living people.  The awareness of this culture has dramatically dropped the last 50 years due the new style of life and the plastic/chinese-product invasion.

Back home from the museum, I started to realise the shift that occurred in African culture had also occurred in mine. As the full shift happened earlier in Europe, most of the living generations have no awareness of it. Regarding objects built before the industrial age in our Western countries, I started looking for them in our habitat. Apart from a few pieces kept with love, most antique furniture, even pieces I used in my childhood, have been sold to other countries or thrown away to make room for more modern/industrial ones.

We have lost our creativity, preferring standardised furniture. We delegate the design to a few people and do not even think of challenging them. Wood and metal are not easy to model and we do not have the tools to work them anymore.
The software industry has tools made by experts for experts and there is no room for others.  3D printing will be used to copy object, but I’m not sure it will help us to get back to creativity back.

How could we reverse this trend?

Quartz: 3D printing will explode in 2014, thanks to the expiration of key patents
Lyon West Africa museum: Official website

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