Tag » philosophy

A matter of context

A matter of context

A few months ago, the Washington Post organized a little experiment in the subway: they had violin prodigy Joshua Bell play incognito for 45 minutes. Along with a detailed account of the event, the article offers some great analysis of why we like art and the importance of context.

This article provoked a real storm of posts on the blogosphere, so I expect many of you will already have read it. However, I wanted to highlight a few posts that I found particularly interesting:

  • An actual subway musician explains that, while Bell is a great musician, he’s not very good at being a subway musician.
    when you play on the street you can’t approach it as if you are playing on a stage. Busking is an art form of its own.

  • Frog Design makes the broader point from a design perspective that Context is King:

    No matter how good your idea is and no matter how well you execute on it, if you get the context wrong you will miss your audience entirely.

  • and Diego Rodriguez offers some refreshing thoughts on the virtues of thinking like a child.
  • This sense of “beginner’s mind” or “mind of the child” is a pillar of design thinking. It’s the ability to see things afresh. To see deeply and to sense the truth and the beauty.

  • The author Gene Weingarten also published some responses to emails he received — don’t bother reading them all, but definitely check out the first few.

A little meta-comment here: some of you may have noticed these longer “link summary” posts. It’s a new format I’m experimenting with: rather than try to post everything as soon as possible (which I’ve clearly given up on), I’ll occasionally accumulate a few articles on a given topic and tie them together in one post. This not only fits my posting habits better, but hopefully makes for more interesting content than just links. Let me know what you think!