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Monday, May 8, 2017

Data Driven Relationships (DDR) - Information within the Creative Process

No matter what you do in life, whether you are in the scientific field, a business person or in a creative area such as art or music, in the end you are all traders in one commodity. Information.

Take for example a musician and a mathematician. You would think that what a musician creates is about as far away from what a mathematician specializes in as one could get. But when you break down the end results they are both producing data in their own way. One may be producing break through's in physics, while the other is producing a song, but when you bring it down to its basic form, both are just different forms of information.

Our whole civilization is founded on the flow of information and the evolution of that information from one form into another. Think about it. There are 12 notes on the musical scale with infinite variations of those notes. A mathematician does the same exact thing with numbers, constantly creating variations of the original concept of 0...1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10. Both are data, both are manipulations of one piece of information into the next.

As an artist I create unique pieces of art by manipulating my color palette into new and infinite variations. You as a book writer manipulate the alphabet into new and infinite variations. Everything we do, from a side walk sweeper to a world leader, to an apple picker is nothing but manipulating one thing to create another.

You may think that a street walk sweeper is as far as you could get from the information world. But they manipulating dirt which they sweep into piles. Sure, it doesn't take much brain work to push the individuals grains of dirt into one pile, but even a street sweeper will tell you that they have a method of how they perform their tasks and that in turn translates to information.

Takes some getting used to seeing the world in this way. But everything, absolutely everything can be translated to the basic formula of "information in, information out". Where it changes is in our ability to manipulate that information.

Take our street walk sweeper. It doesn't take much thinking to sweep a sidewalk. Now evolve that basic information about sweeping. Variations of that information created the leaf blower, the outdoor vacuum cleaners and industrial street cleaning machines. In the end the basic data of the street walk sweeper has been translated into newew forms.

That is evolution. The concept is nothing new. What is new is viewing the world around you as a constant flow of data and information and working that into your plan for how you conduct your own work. So how can we use THIS information to our benefit?

In the end, we are all buyers and sellers of the information commodity in order to further our own goals. Sometimes its our own information, sometimes its other peoples information. The most common example can be found in any interaction on today's online social networks. You go online and you post to your Facebook account that your cat is sick. People read it and comment back. This is called a Data Driven Relationship (DDR). A person you've never met in a country thousands of miles away from you, may now know that your cat is sick and may comment back with a hug, a smiley face or hit the "like button" to signify that they read and commiserate with you and your cat.

This is a DDR. Information in (your cat, puking). Information out (your post, commiseration).

Now lets take this a little further. You post a link on your Twitter account for an upcoming music concert in your area. Someone who lives in your area now has information about that concert. Others who are fans in other places now have that information also but while they cannot go to the concert, the information is important to them in other ways. You have now taken data and put it back out there. The band in the concert benefits. The fans benefit. The locals who love that kind of music benefit. This is a DDR.

You see, in the end its just data flow. But being aware of the data flow is whats important. You've created a sequence of events with the the data you just shared that may continue long past your initial sharing.

You may say "wait, aren't you just telling me what I already know." Yes, I am. But what I am telling you is to look at the interactions you have with another human being as data driven. Changing a persons paradigm is rarely about telling someone something new, its that you are telling them something old and forcing them to look at it in a new way.

You may think that this is a very cold way to look at the universe. Ahh but that is the key to DDR. Its not cold. It involves music, laughter and love and anything else you can think about. But most important its about integrity. The integrity to not use information to harm others, but to always use it for what is best. Sure its fine to use data to further individual goals, but the moment we start harming others with that information, then we must rethink what we are doing.

Let me give you a few examples from my own life and how I use DDR's each day.

I am an experimental artist. I see everything that I do in terms of developing new ideas and concepts both within my own art and outwardly into the art world. I am in essence an idea creator. I push my own boundaries to create new concepts constantly. I use this blog (which you are currently reading) to push out ideas that may involve the arts. 

I search constantly for information which changes my own perceptions and betters my art and my influence on the art world. I call myself an artist because its easy for others to understand. But I am at the core an idea generating machine. Some ideas are for the here and now. Some are for the future. But I am a firm believer that an idea serves no purpose if it is left in ones head. So I am constantly forming Data Driven Relationships with everyone and everything around me.

I am constantly updating my own information so I can in turn create new information. It never stops, nor should it. 

The concept of the DDR is simple. Its not something that takes a lot of thought to start using right away. Start watching the interactions you have with others. Observe what you and others say and do and how it all at its basic level involves the exchange or data. Now use that. How can you tweak a simple piece of information to turn it into something new? How can you use that tweaked information to further what you do?

People ask me often what makes me a good idea creator? How can I come up with new ideas for my art, for my career, for friends and colleagues? As any creative will tell you, its simply starts with observation and with looking at the world around you in a different way than others do. For me it begins with Data Driven Relationships. The rest is just about having fun with that information and turning it into something new whenever possible. In the end we are all artists, blending information together to create new colors for the world. 


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