05 April, 2008

Bruce Mau and The Accursed Share

Ha! The title of this post sounds like a pulp adventure novel!

This Saturday, in the course of a mammoth
shopping trip - the kind I never do - I went into Chapters book shop and bought Bruce Mau's Life Style. Although I am a biblophile (bordering on biblioholic) I did trade in about six old books - half the price of the new book - which, incidentally, was on sale. Woo!


During some random research I had read Bruce Mau's incomplete manifesto for growth and been impressed. It's published in Life Style, along with a lot of other interesting thoughts and images from Bruce Mau Design. Here's a taste of the manifesto, but I strongly recommend reading the whole thing:
"1. Allow events to change you.
You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be
changed by them.

2. Forget about good.
Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not
necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you'll never have real growth.

3. Process is more important than outcome.

When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to w
here we've already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child).
Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

5. Go deep.
The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.

6. Capture accidents.
The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.

7. Study.
A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production a
s an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.

8. Drift.
Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.

9. Begin anywhere.
John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

10. Everyone is a leader.
Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow
when it makes sense. Let anyone lead."
There is a point to this anecdote. Coming across the book seemed to be one of those happy coincidences when the Universe fulfils a deep wish. Firstly, seeing the "process is more important than outcome" point above - which has recently become my unofficial motto - sort of reminded me that I'm on the right track.

Secondly, in the course of some current research into the gift economy, I have been wanting to find my copy of George Bataille's The Accursed Share. As soon as I looked for it, it showed up, peeking out of a pile of books.

Naturally, I opened Life Style to find that Bruce Mau had designed the book.