Conversations about improvisation (you don't always need a plan)

What sets us apart from robots -for now-? Many things that do not follow rationality. So far I have addressed issues such as the Empathy, The Creativity, The imagination and the Intuition. And now it's the turn of one of the most feared aspects by robots, The improvisation

I count again with my robot Gabriela Fitzgerald to debate from the human to the rational.

If you only have a minute, I summarize it in this video: 

Improvisation? You don't always need a plan

I've stolen the phrase about the plan from the writer Paulo Coelho de Souza. I think it is very accurate.. There are times when the plan is suffocation, the chain that keeps you tied up and doesn't allow you to progress. I know, you will think that there is a good plan and a bad plan, but in general plans are made to have a guide, not to create a dogma of life.

We usually improvise when we don't have a reference of success to go to, and we rely on our own experience and intuition to know when something we do or a decision we make is based on the milliseconds of improvisation.

-Guillem: What do you think about the lack of plan, Gabriela?

-Gabriela: I believe that without a plan there is no tomorrow. What will you do, Where, with whom, for what purposes? do you want to leave that to improvisation? That amounts to chaos!

-Guillem: Well, I'd like to see what you think of some improvisations that I deal with later.

Eye, improvising is not current without thinking

The Argentine writer César Aira wrote an interesting reflection on improvisation: 

"Or it was contradictory, or the term had to be redefined “improvisation”. It is always thought that improvising is acting without thinking. But if you do one thing for an impulse., or because you feel like it, or directly without knowing why, anyway it is one who makes it, And you have a story that has brought you to that point in your life.; And then, far from not having thought that act, I couldn't have thought more about it.: he's been thinking about it every minute since he was born." — César Aira

-Gabriela: I find this reflection most sensible., since it compares improvisation to an impulse, but it justifies the impulse by something lived - and therefore real and based on data- which leads you to take it.

-Guillem: Hahahaha, you've found oil with this writer. Aira believes in improvisation as part of the experience, something that I share and that will be part of the conclusion of this post. It is not improvising who wants to but who can…

Improvisation: do things with what we have on hand

Storytelling and improvisation expert Dave Morris, in a TEDx Vitoria Gasteiz of 2012, it stated - and I agree- that improvising is doing things with what you have at hand, is creating something out of nothing. Talk about jazz, of hip hop, of McGyver…

And it's also creating a recipe with the ingredients you have at home and a dash of culinary knowledge about cooking., iron, roast, baking and reactions.

I leave you here this wonderful talk of solo 10 Minutes: 

-Gabriela: I liked this talk. Do a lot with little. Although from the point of view of data analysis we should say do something that has a lot of impact with making few decisions.

-Guillem: call it what you want, Gabriela. The point is that there are great pieces of art., of music, of the kitchen that have emerged from improvisation and from the stocks you have. The saxophonist of a jam session is able to create from two notes.

Anthony Veneziale: An example of improvisation in oratory

In a hilarious talk and completely improvised, improvisation master Anthony Veneziale takes the TED stage to deliver a truly unique performance.

With a theme suggested by the public (“stumbling upon intimacy”) and a set of slides you've never seen before, Veneziale makes a meditation on the intersection of love, language and… avocados?

Here's this TED talk, I hope you laugh as much as I do ;-)

-Gabriela: I didn't understand why those people laughed.. Veneziale is able to create a story from images with no apparent connection, but what it does is find a logical adherent between its speech and the image.

-Guillem: Already. And surely you would do better.

-Gabriela: I don't know if it's better, but faster, I process at full speed.

-Guillem: many of the concepts it relates to each other, like ice (ICE) and the acronym that have more to do with imagination and improvisation than with data processing.

The history of Josep Coll, the improviser

I have been fortunate to spend a few days in Llabià, in the Catalan Empordà, and to be able to know and see the work and method of the sculptor Josep Coll. A moment... did I say method? Well, I was referring to style., since his method is pure improvisation.

When ever Josep has been tempted to make a previous sketch, things have not gone well for him. So improvisation is his artistic inspiration.

The whole village and the rural house he co-runs, which includes a permanent exhibition- is replete with his works. Iron, wood and stone in perfect integration with the nature of the Empordà environment.

I was also lucky enough to know his workshop and give him a brief interview.. In this little documentary of 15 Minutes (home assembly) you will see his almost complete work and the talk we had. Hit the subtitle button to see it in Spanish.

-Gabriela: I'm not going to comment on what you consider art. To me it seems like a set of objects modeled and assembled to decorate.

-Guillem: You're very reductionist. It would take to refer to many essays and books to define art, but what is certain is that it goes beyond your processing logic, it has to do with beauty, the surprise, the emotion.

The better prepared you are, better comes out the improvisation

Although Josep had a hard time recognizing it in the interview, a mastery of techniques and skills helps to improvise. And this I think is one of the good conclusions about improvisation.: it is something that emerges spontaneously but is effective when the tools are available, techniques and knowledge to do something.

I wouldn't dare improvise and build my own house. (I am not an architect or surveyor), but maybe it does create a story or a headline in a few seconds.

A great cook is able to create art with two unique ingredients. Someone who knows how to play the sax or piano can improvise on a jam session

-Gabriela: At this point I can agree with you. Just like I don't understand art, you can't analyze the data at my speed. Everyone has the powers that they have, and the more, more can be improvised, especially if you're human.

-Guillem: If robotics doesn't advance much, I fear dear Gabriela that improvisation will be one of our main differences. Techniques like machine learning are deductive, learn from thousands of actions to improve a service or a product, but that's not improvising. To improvise it takes soul.

I hope you enjoyed this conversation about improvisation, I look forward to next week to discuss persuasion, and in the meantime here's the podcast, something more complete, In iVoox, Spotify, And Apple Podcast.

Stock Photos from Barandash Karandashich / Shutterstock

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