Trying to pay attention is part of my practiceto the work, to the art world, to the overlap of late capitalism with it all. Plenty of times, the universe serves me up something and occasionally my practice includes words, too, so, here we are.

Recently I was reading an article one of my professional contacts posted on LinkedIn from Harvard Business Review about the value of changing how you are looking at things as a catalyst for thinking differently (I know, right- of course I’m clicking on that topic). In it Adam Brandenburger notes, of thinking differently, that it can be driven by learning to see differently, which hooked me immediately because of my personal journey and that word contradiction I’m always on about.

The thrust of the story is about people like Robert Taylor, who invented Softsoap after he saw how goopy bar soap became after a few uses, the main point being that “we can think of the effort not just to think differently, but also to see differently, as a way of countering our built-in tendency to habituate, to sink in to the familiar way of seeing and experiencing. One way in which great artists, entrepreneurs, and creators of all kinds come up with the insights that enable them to change the world is that, very literally, they do not see the way most of us do. Their methods teach us that by seeing differently, we can end up seeing what no one else has yet seen. This is how the future is built.”

(Ideas and discussion of what building and specifically building the/a future which were already developing in my mind aside, stay tuned…) I. Love. This, and not because I’m an entrepreneur or buy into America’s cult of personality around them. The article really got me thinking about habituation as it pertains to the visual arts (it certainly is well-trodden territory in the sciences), at least for creatives that spend time thinking about how their work is physically perceived by the audience (I would argue that my maximalist “remixes” are anti-habituation). It appears the Architectual (A)cademy has given this topic some attention but the Art critical community? Guess the thing I got served is the motivation to move from passive observation to active engagement…

Author: sterlingsart

abstract painter living in Raleigh, NC- follow my blog to help build my mailing list!

One thought on “Habituation”

  1. Seeing differently is a chapter in Extraordinary Knowing by Elizabeth Mayer. She gives the example of the picture in which a chalice is seen if the white section is seen as the foreground, but two human profiles are seen if the black section is seen as foreground. A second example is to look at a crowd and notice all the red, then look for a different color.

    The context is that people with psychic ability have the ability to switch their logical minds off and relate to the world differently. Seeing differently is at the core of their special abilities.

    Liked by 1 person

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