Ideas “r” us

Posted by on Oct 23, 2011 in creativity, just for fun | No Comments

Pre-Ramble:  Almost as good as a cupcake high is checking in on the websites of great thinkers … to see what they’re thinking.

On that score, Daniel Pink’s site is a must-read — he’s a triple-threat-thinker: 1) insightful; 2) articulate; and 3) the kind of decent all-around good guy that you’d want to sit down and have a cupcake with.

Well, so, in a recent post, Daniel discussed an art installation called “The Idea Store” by two brilliant Brooklyn artists, Athena Robles and Anna Stein. Their work was featured at the (e)merge art fair which was held last month in Washington D.C.  The (e)merge art fair “celebrates galleries, artists, and the creative process with an energetic environment of collaboration and discovery” … Or, in DP’s experience, the affair was, “… a sprawling assemblage of creations from up-and-coming painters, sculptors, photographers, and performers.”  Here he recaps the premise of The Idea Store installation’s concept …

“People who visited a makeshift storefront – think Lucy Van Pelt’s psychiatrist’s “office” (modified version shown at right) – could fill out a card offering an idea and get paid a penny for it. Robles and Stein then placed the card on the kind of rack you might find at a Hallmark store. Then other visitors could select an idea from the rack and purchase it for two cents.”

As you can imagine, the proposed ideas ranged from trivial to considerable, however, as DP so astutely observes,

“The best idea of all may have been the notion of the store itself. It evoked all sorts of associations – the marketplace of ideas, contributing your two cents worth, etc. … And it raised lots of interesting questions: Why is one idea “worth” more than another? Why are some ideas easier to “sell”? Is it possible really to “own” an idea?”

The Take-Away:  For my money, this is the kind of concept (and thinking) that totally delivers the dopamine rush. These gals (Anna and Athena) are sharp — this is but one of several of their clever conceptual art projects — and the deceptively simple Idea Store concept resonates on so many levels. It’s interactive and playful and sparingly executed so as not to wash out the pure core of the idea with flashy, extraneous elements. The Idea Store concept is subtle and elegant — I wish had had been there to experience it firsthand.  Better yet, I wish I had thought of the idea for The Idea Store – !

As DP points out, although The Idea Store was originally conceived as a piece of art, there are many potentially fruitful applications for the idea-exchange-dynamic in other settings, … like schools or businesses, or in other random public venues.

Let’s put one on Wall Street, and let the 1% pay more than 2 cents if they want.


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