First Principles

Carte blanche, always go back to ‘first principles’. Best to start totally ignorant of a certain field, and ruthlessly self-experiment with yourself. To learn via ‘bricolage‘ (bricoler in French, which means to keep fiddling, experimenting).

For example:

  1. The innovation of TESLA: Starting ‘carte blanche’ from car design. Creating a new look and design which got inspiration from what came before, but still had enough leeway to create fresh new designs. For example the Tesla Model S no longer needing a grille (it is an electric car which doesn’t require air to cool the engine). Or Elon’s insistence on creating the flush-door handles.
  2. Kanye West and innovation in music: To cross genres and boundaries (Electronic music with 808’s and heartbreaks, rock music with Yeezus) and tons of other innovations to rap music. Lesson: no genres; epic cross-collaboration and cross-pollination between all genres of music, art, fashion, architecture — everything!
  3. Re-thinking what technology, computers, phones should be: The beautiful innovations of Steve Jobs: extreme minimalism and aesthetic simplicity/purity in the devices he created. Absolute ignoring what everyone else was doing in the computer industry (remember the ugly IBM beige boxes), and the ugly un-aesthetic of Windows, and superimposing his artistic genius into his products. Lesson: extreme ignoring of everything else in your industry, and being extremely stubborn on your own artistic vision. No compromise.

Artistic innovation

Perhaps the secret to artistic innovation is to constantly go back to first principles. Perhaps the key is this:

For certain periods of time stay very focused on a certain regimen, but then perhaps after a certain period, go back to first principles, and start again from ‘carte blanche’.

For example:

  1. I started off photography with a passion for monochrome. Every few years, I switch to color, but I always return to monochrome, seeing it with new eyes and new appreciation.
  2. I started off with my passion in street photography and I have evolved into shooting all different genres of photography. Yet I always come back to street photography, with new philosophies and views.

Never stop going back to first principles and basics!