August 9, 2016

Making in the Moment: Charles Adler at 54th monthly CreativeMornings in Chicago


Charles Adler’s work on Kickstarter has had a profound effect on the worlds of art and design. His latest effort is Chicago-based makerspace Lost Arts. In June, Adler spoke at the 54th monthly gathering of the CreativeMornings Chapter in Chicago about his influences and where he finds himself, creatively.

The best part of Adler’s talk was when he asserted the culture that inspires him. It’s an eloquent preamble:
“I want to talk today about this moment that I feel we’re in. This moment that I’m personally really excited about. It’s more so culturally where we are. We’re in this moment now that really actually celebrates what you all do. This moment that celebrates this act, this beautiful act of creating something, this act of creativity, this act of passion. …This moment that embraces what we produce, the stories behind the things we produce and the stories of the people who produce them.”
The grand stature and romantic stance of Adler’s opener reminded me of the cliché observation often made by speakers, whatever the discipline, when they affirm: “It’s a great time to be a designer.” “It’s a great time to be an artist.” “It’s a great time to be a teacher.” Etcetera. It’s a painfully obvious observation, mostly due to the fact that the speaker is alive and breathing in their age of possibility. Adler reinforced how great a time it is to be a creator, a maker. Cliché as this sounds, creativity is the reputation of human civilization, across the generations, from its birth to the present—to this moment. The reality it breeds is what Adler applauds and wants to keep flowing in the form of his new creation Lost Arts, located in the west side of Chicago. Tapping into the romantic vibe expressed by Adler, this makerspace is designed to be a sanctuary, formidably equipped with tools, and not exclusive to the digital kind. An open space and means to realize ideas—to ultimately dream and materialize a vision: an app, a film, a fashion collection, furniture, a robot, whatever.

Adler’s Lost Arts persists and preserves his refrain of “This moment…”—this phenomenal act of creativity and commitment. This kind of moment is not unique to the present, not unique to the 21st century. “This moment…” is a nano-instance, an extremely tiny reality, an insignificant one throughout the miniscule timeline of human society. At the same time, “This moment…” looms large and audacious in the present tense.

While Adler described his sensation of “This moment…”—again, this extraordinary act of imagination and allegiance—evolved in this current millennium, endowed with methods and tools of the current era and eras past, the first image that came to my mind were the cave paintings at Lascaux, 17,300 years ago. Fast forward to 2008 when Tina Roth Eisenberg, a.k.a. Swissmiss, launched CreativeMornings.

One quibble: When Adler claimed, “Information is fucking free.” My eyes rolled. Information doesn’t simply pop into existence. Takes a lot of work for information to exist. The result is so stunning that it produces the mirage of “free.”

In a way, Adler provoked a healthy, if not overwhelming, exercise of recollection, of cultural mining:

What moments—those beautiful acts of creativity and passion—in human history (one’s history or that of our species, no matter the scope and scale), do you recall with ease and delight?

Let me know. ツ

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Big thanks: to BraintreeLost Arts (Host), Green Sheep WaterLyft, for being Partners of monthly Chicago CreativeMornings #54; to organizers Kim Knoll and Kyle Eertmoed who both spoke at Chicago CreativeMornings #7; to the team of volunteers for greatly helping to have CreativeMornings happen monthly in Chicago.

Especially big thanks: to Tina Roth Eisenberg—Swissmiss—for inventing CreativeMornings in 2008. The fifth chapter was launched in Chicago, June 2011—my write-ups and photos.

Read more about the people who make the Chicago chapter of CreativeMornings possible.

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My coverage: view photos of CreativeMornings/Chicago gatherings; read more write-ups about CreativeMornings.

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2011 was Chicago CreativeMornings’ debut year. Download the entire collection of selected insights.