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Yoshiaki Nishimura, representative director of Living World.

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NISH (Living World) 2007-05-12

Generally we associate creating and creativity with making something. But does being creative equate to producing things?

In our view, being productive and being creative are entirely different.

Whether it be a novel, or a work of design, retracing the creative process to see what it is about a form of expression that inspires people, one inevitably arrives at the moment the individual who produced the thing was inspired, the moment it moved that person, the moment that it was no longer enough for something taken for granted to be so. The moment something not previously visible became visible. The moment a sound not audible began to echo in the ears. Such experiences bring great joy. Just what is it about them that delights us so much?

Once during an island holiday I stopped by the sea to watch the sun go down, and noticed that in the distance, many others were doing the same. Not making any special effort to converse, just all contemplating the sun as it sank below the horizon: some accompanied by children, some by dogs, some in solitude. And once the sun had set completely, little by little they dispersed and carried on with their business.

Whenever I encounter these tranquil moments of contentment, I find myself pondering the nature of creativity. Clearly creativity is not a question simply of making something or being original. People transfixed by a sunset are not producing anything. But perhaps they are creative enough on the inside?

The world is full of wonderful things all made by somebody: movies, clothes, music, to name just a few. Many are now an irreplaceable part of our lives. But rather than having more aesthetically pleasing objects in the world, surely it would be far better and more worthwhile to have more people with well-developed aesthetic sensibilities? Rather than having more beautiful things, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have more people capable of finding beauty in the everyday, of opening their hearts to beauty?

One of our major tasks as human beings is to sense the world, and to recognize ourselves as living entities in that world. It would be no exaggeration to say that we live to sense we are alive.

The Japanese word ikiiki meaning lively or energetic contains the character meaning life or to be born (生) not once, but twice. There is more to living than eating, moving, and breathing. Coming alive, being born again within our everyday existence: these are the moments we capture by the word ikiiki.

We are surrounded by things both wonderful and irreplaceable. They are there all the time. Yet we fail to notice them. What can we do to live more in sympathy with the world? I hope design will yield the answer.

The word senseware was coined as a general term for “tools for sensing the living world” about ten years ago by a venture dubbed the Sensorium project. (Sensorium has for all practical purposes been suspended since 2000 following launch of the While you were… project in Austria)

At Living World we have built a number of prototypes for senseware. (LW)

→Works index

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