«What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me … is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.»
Can I ask for one of the projects..the berlin wall project. (i have apiece of the wall love it know a girl who was there as it was torn down! X) why the Italian romantic, gondola? It was such a preplexing, political and frightening wall. Thoughts?
Good question, I guess. I grew up in Berlin, my parents migrated there in the 70s, so I know a lot of their stories. They lived in the West, but as students went to the eastern part often enough to have active memories of what it was like. I was born in the 80s, so I’m too young to have any palpable memories, really. To come to the point, we decided to create a gondola not to romanticize the GDR but rather in order to slowly abate the collective trauma that the wall caused its immediate witnesses. The gondola is supposed to be an attraction to tourists and Berliners alike, the factors that attract function differently though. For tourists, it’s the obvious, the height, the aerial, panoramic view, the tour character. For Berlin natives, however, it is supposed to offer a new perspective on a piece of dark history. Because there is already a lot of memorial and museum construction going on on the ground, we decided to take it to a new level, literally, and observe the past from above. The hand-shaped stops symbolically stand for care, security and supranational communication, things that were hard to get ahold of during the times of the Berlin wall; times of espionage, media manipulation and only purposive caring for one another. Stops such as the victory hand sign are especially meaningful, as it was seen a lot during people’s peaceful protests for a German reunion in the 70s and 80s.
I guess, we’re doing the gondola partly to remember what happened, but from a new point of view compared to commemorative plaques and symbolic graves on the ground (also worth a visit), and to offer a bit of a new retrospective to those who actually lived under the regime. The other part is to provide tourists with information (audio guides are optional) while taking them on a tour from not so well known parts of the city to over-used areas (one stop will be at Mauerpark, Prenzlauer Berg). In addition, the aerial perspective is a good means to make clear how gigantic that wall really was.
There is nothing written into our nature that says that the only path to a wonderful, rich, meaningful life is to own two cars and a McMansion in the suburbs.
But it’s becoming urgent for the world to start to see a compelling alternative vision. Probably it’s going to come down to re-imagining what a city can be, and making it so wonderful, that few people would want to live anywhere else.”
"Don’t pursue your passion directly. At least not yet. Instead… pursue the things that will empower you. Pursue knowledge. Be relentlessly curious. Listen, learn.
Chris Anderson’s Commencement Adress at Harvard GSD.