Thoughts on New Ideas

By Jess Van Nostrand
Posted on February 8th

Before I explain my interest in the theme of “Beginnings,” I would like to make it known that The Project Room is all about me. It has been created (by me) to respond to my Curiosity About Things* in partnership with what I think are the most exciting creative people in Seattle and beyond. Therefore, everything that takes place in the space and on the website feeds this curiosity and helps move me closer to my goal of becoming a Person of Increased Understanding of the World. Creating research-based programming (or programming my research, if you want to look at it from that direction) shows the inner workings of The Project Room itself. This makes me uncomfortable and gives me the impression that I must be learning something.

Anyway, new ideas are scary and wonderful at the same time, because they don’t yet have support behind them but possess endless possibilities. There have been many times when I have thought of an idea for an exhibition, for example, and gotten sort of tingly imagining how fun it would be to curate it. Sometimes the ideas became something, and other times they remained in notebooks, never to be produced (yet, anyway!). “So,” I thought to myself a few months ago, “what if I devoted some time to reflecting on that tingly feeling? How does that phase of creativity work for different makers of things? Where do the ideas come from? How does one know a good idea from a bad one?” Beginnings came to be the next series in The Project Room, one in which we can share and discuss new ideas while following the progress of specific projects.

It takes a brave and confident maker to present their new ideas in progress—something I have mentioned in previous writings—and it continues to be thrilling when a participating artist uses what occurred in the space or what was said in a public discussion as a way to improve upon an idea. This means I’m not the only one researching and learning things; this means that, perhaps, it isn’t all about me. Hmmmm.

*I have been reading Winnie-the-Pooh to my four year-old daughter, and enjoy borrowing A.A. Milne’s use of capitals as a form of emphasis, as in “Owl hasn’t exactly got a Brain, but he Knows Things.”