One day in the night, after a day’s work, I walked through Wasington Square to go home. My brain was still spinning very fast and I was immersed in my last task.
But then I felt something started to change. I can’t tell what it is, but I felt different. Then I realized I was a bit more relaxed and soothed.
I was intrigued and started to reason why. Then I noticed it, the sound of the square: people talking and laughing, someone singing, water splashing… And also some fragrance of the plants. All these information hiding in my subconsciousness suggests one result: to relax.
I was fascinated by how environment influences our nerves. And when we were talking about soundwalks in class, I immediately come up with this place, Washington Square.
Our team went to Wasington Square to record the sound. It’s interesting that it sounds different from day to night. We record something new. In the daytime, Wasington Square is more vivid, loud and we even encountered some band playing Jazz, which add some flavor to our recording.
We tested both onboard mic and shotgun mic, because of the wind, shotgun behaved much better than onboard mic. The voice is clean and you can’t really hear about other noise, though the range of recording is also limited.
After watching Embrace the Remix and reading The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism, I recalled the meomory of an interview of Steve Jobs talking about his stealing the idea of graphic user interfaces from Xerox. Jobs insisted on visiting Xerox’s new GUI product, even been turned down by Xerox. It was there he saw a GUI for the first time and was completely fascinated by it. And he immediately started to make his own GUI back to Apple. “Xerox didn’t know what they got”, Jobs said. If it were not Jobs, who “stealing” the idea, this great idea may never come into life.
Besides, it was hardly a steal. Jobs’ GUI is tremedously different from Xerox’s. He was so genious he add some new “direct manipulation” to it. The result is it is almost the best interface so far in human’s electronical history.
Soemtimes we see an idea from different sides, we combine it with our whole fields of knowledge and personal history. So even based on the same idea, we found the results varies. Once upon a time when I started to learn openframeworks(like C++ ver processing), I wanted to create some natural organic watorcolor scene. But I almost immediately discovered that bunches of people had already done that and some of them did it so well that I was very frustrated about what I could do. But then my teacher said to me, “Don’t stop, it’s fine. Even you begin with the exact same idea, you’ll end up with totally different things.” And it turned out that he was right. My work has my own personalities and it looks really different. Even I myself can’t imagine where I was going. So afterwards,
when I see a great idea I want to bring into reality, I’ll let my self try.
Sometimes borrowing ideas from others is just the way we learn. The point is not what we’ll produce later, it is about the process. In fact, I think it is how human culture and intelligence accumulates. So be easy about the oringinal idea, try things, think about it, and create new things based on that.
Sometimes ideas are just not come from nothing. We build new ideas based on old ones. We change it, twist it, and “create it”. Speak of it, maybe we should rethink about how we define “create”. I don’t think “create” is a 0 or 1. I see it as a spectrum. It is like analog signal, and it’s continuous. I believe “create” lies inbetween 0 and 1, from 0.000001 to 0.999999. So when we “steal” an idea, we may steal 0.333333 from others, and add 0.666667 our own things. I think that should be called “create”.
But in the end I want to make it clear that simply copying things from others is a 100% steal, which is not tolerable. My point is not be afraid of manipulating existing ideas and create based on that. But copying without thinking on one’s own is not doable.