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  • Natasha Tsakos

Entering a New Economy (it’s a creative one)

We are neither left brained or right brained, we are one brained. And our one brain works through different modalities.



Had you had told me ten years ago, I’d be traveling, performing my shows and speaking at amazing conferences like this one, I would have told you you were crazy. Not because I didn’t believe it somehow- but I was faced with skepticism. I grew up rebellious- some might even say reckless - And if you were rebellious too, you know it’s because we have a lot to say. In fact there is so much we want to say- we just don’t know what it is!


I am thankful to have found my passion early on, and believe my craft and training have empowered me with tools to problem solve complicated situations, and channel my energy in productive ways.


I love theatre and am fascinated with technology. I want to create experiences that catapult us into outer mental orbit. I am an astronaut in the closet. In fact the theater I am most passionate about, is the one that doesn't exist yet. It’s the exploration, the questions, the process of discovery that keeps me excited.


We live in insanely interesting times. Don't we? Scientists have created a physical model of a brain that can educate itself. Robots can learn from watching Youtube videos. We can order self driving cars in Pittsburgh, and are promised flying ones in the next 10 years. The accelerated pace of change is causing scientific breakthroughs and human turbulence. Half of current jobs are projected to be automated in the next 20 years. We don’t really know what to make of this because we don’t know what we will do with it. What will we ask of technology once it frees from us from the redundant tasks we’ve been indoctrinated to do for over a century? What will I ask of an AI system once it can choreograph for me, design on the go, rewrite a show in a click's time? There are reasons to be anxious. The reality is: we’ve been and still are the robots of an industrial era on the brink of an major existential crisis, facing the deepest philosophical questions ever, at the dawn of a new age.


Here is the good news: according to the World Economic Forum, the top three skills required by 2025 will be: complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. Skills that will require humans to question, abstract, interpret, imagine. I believe we have an amazing opportunity to reclaim our creative intelligence.


Picasso said: "Every child is an artist. The problem is remaining an artist once we grow up".


I love to exercise the Theatre of Mind to envision future possibilities. Theatre doesn't have to exist within the boundaries of its traditional space. The world is a connected, dynamic, interactive stage. With a trillion sensors and hundred billion connected devices, objects will develop personalities and talk to one another. Your door will anticipate your departure, miss while you're gone, talk to the cocktail maker and greet you accordingly. We’ll wake up, step in our Shazam shower, hum a tune and the music will accompany us harmonically. We’ll be recording artists in our bathrooms! Imagine ordering the New York Philharmonic orchestra! A flock of musical drones land on your balcony playing Beethoven’s 9th symphony. And when new realities superimpose themselves onto our own, when we begin to interact with the world’s data, when the projected begins to affect the inanimate because the inanimate is now alive- a whole new meta verse of possibility arises. Yes, the future I envision is inevitably playful.


(...) I believe the symbiosis of arts and technology will create new form-function equations altogether. Where traditional art forms like dance, theatre, music, visual arts, become multi functional and the various functions of technology will find new forms through the arts. Because we are sensorial human beings, and we want to be entertained. Learn geometry through motion, mathematics through music...


We are being challenged by a whole new world, and I don’t believe its technology, it’s our own Imagination, which we often picture as a lightbulb flashing above our heads- a lucky stroke of insight- "Eureka!" it just happens. I think Imagination is an instrument, like a piano, a keyboard, a computer, that we’ve been given permission to play, and practice. And by practicing it, we become more imaginative. It’s about the power to disassociate the linear and literal and allow our minds to create new associations based on all the inputs it collects. Which trigger ideas, yes, often bizarre and crazy. Yet, here we are in place a total possibility. Suspended into disbelief, driving at 30 billion metaphors per second. It’s like speeding up a stream of consciousness where our minds compute - decompute - recompute, combinations in the background and we stop judging it.


Today we are demanding solutions. And demanding solutions demands identifying the problem and coming up with radical ideas that create positive change. In fact we are summoning the spirits of innovation, and innovation requires creativity, and creativity is sparked through artistic processes. Instead of demanding solutions we should curate creative collaborations and look at the Arts as one part of the solution. Leverage the arts as a catalyst to better innovate. Because we are neither left brained or right brained, we are one brained. And our one brain works things out through different modalities. Albert Einstein said that the theory of relativity occurred to him by intuition, and music was the driving force. His discovery was the result of a musical perception. We should infuse Arts in laboratories, research centers, schools; insert Art somewhere between Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics.

There is a remarkable woman, her name is Merritt Moore. She is a ballerina and a physicist, and says that physics makes her a better dancer and dance makes a better physicist, and that should be more of the norm. Because you need the creative brain in the lab to think of new ideas, and you need the analytic brain in the studio to figure out your center of mass.

There is a method to the madness. It starts by playing senselessly, moving into our bodies, getting out of our heads, observing and questioning everything, dismantling the systematic, having ideas, and experimenting and improvising until we get it right. It means never giving up to failure, and never giving in to people’s skepticism. It means thinking and being out of the ordinary.


We don't have a lot of time to wake up but we have the Creative Potential within us to thrive.


We are entering a new economy. It’s a creative one, and we have the power to input what we want in it. The world is being digitized, new tools are being demonetized and democratized. Anyone with a dream and passion has the possibility of making it happen.


We have an amazing opportunity here to snap out of our machine state, and be the artist we were always meant to be, through whichever medium it may be.

So give yourself permission to be out of the ordinary.




Talk Transcript at Demand Solutions for the Inter-American Development Bank, presented by Miami Dade College and Alberto Ibargüen, October 19, 2017




 

QUOTES


"We are summoning the spirits of innovation, and innovation requires creativity, and creativity is sparked through artistic processes. Instead of demanding solutions we should curate creative collaborations and look at the Arts as one part of the solution. Leverage the Arts as a catalyst to innovate."


"We are neither left brained or right brained, we are one brained. And our one brain works through different modalities."


"Here we are, in place a total possibility, suspended into disbelief, driving at 30 billion metaphors per second."




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