Observation is one of the core skills that make the Creativity OS. When we observe, we collect raw materials we can use later to form new ideas.
One powerful way to observe things is through the lens of abstraction. When we use abstractions, we strip away many details and focus on only a few aspects of the subject. By making most of the details fuzzy, we can see other aspects more clearly.
In this issue, we play with abstractions to make our observation skills stronger.
Think of the day you’ve had. Consider the tasks you’ve done, the people you’ve met, and the things you’ve experienced.
Create an abstract sketch of the day. Don’t pick just one event. Try to capture the essence of the entire day but without all the details. Focus on one aspect and how it evolved, changed or was experienced by you throughout the day.
Think of a film you’ve seen recently. Think of its plot, the atmosphere, or the characters.
Create an abstract collage from pieces of paper or other materials you have at hand that captures one aspect of the film as you’ve experienced it. Ignore the details and try to express that aspect in the simplest manner in your collage.
Philosophy is all about abstraction. After all, it is based purely on thought.
Pick an item from this list of philosophical concepts. Dedicate some time to exploring it and understanding what it means. Now, create the simplest abstract drawing possible to capture the essence of that concept.
Share this play with others. Ask your friends to draw their abstract interpretations of the same concept without letting them see your drawing. Explore together the differences between your interpretations: what aspect did you choose to focus on, and how did you decide to express it?