In the wake of the social and political upheaval of the late 1960s, Japanese artists and photographers began crafting a new visual language for an age of uncertainty. Their embrace of camera-based experiments would alter the cultural landscape and lay the foundations for contemporary art in Japan. For a New World to Come is the first comprehensive exhibition to spotlight this radical break with the past. With some 200 works by such luminaries as Miyako Ishiuchi, Daidō Moriyama, Jirō Takamatsu, and Shōmei Tōmatsu, the exhibition charts the stunning diversity of photographic practices during this pivotal era, from conceptual series situated squarely within global artistic currents, to visually arresting meditations on time, place, and self.
In the early morning hours of June 15, a huge white balloon filled with 6,200 cubic meters of helium slowly ascended into the sky above Huiyu Island Harbour, Quanzhou, China. Attached to it was a 500-meter long ladder coated completely with quick burning fuses and gold fireworks that was the
Artists and scientists throughout history have remarked on the bliss that accompanies a sudden creative insight. Einstein described his realization of the general theory of relativity as the happiest moment of his life. More poetically, Virginia Woolf once observed, “Odd how the creative power brings the whole universe at once to order.”
But what about before such moments of creative insight? What emotions actually fuel creativity?
The long-standing view in psychology is that positive emotions are conducive to creativity because they broaden the mind, whereas negative emotions are detrimental to creativity because they narrow one’s focus. But this view is too simplistic for a number of reasons.
It’s true that attentional focus does have important effects on creative thinking: a broad scope of attention is associated with the free-floating colliding of ideas, and a narrow scope of attention is more conducive to linear, step-by-step goal attainment. However, emerging research suggests that the positive vs. negative emotions distinction may not be the most important contrast for understanding attentional focus. Over the past seven years, research conducted by psychologist Eddie Harmon-Jones and his colleagues suggests that the critical variable influencing one’s scope of attention is not emotional valence (positive vs. negative emotions) but motivational intensity, or how strongly you feel compelled to either approach or avoid something. For example, pleasant is a positive emotion, but it has low motivational intensity. In contrast, desire is a positive emotion with high motivational intensity.
Artists and scientists alike strive "to figure out the deep truths of reality," explains physicist Brian Greene. The ways they pursue that goal are different, but there's no reason why two segments of society seeking answers can't work together.
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