09 April 2020 @ 4:00 pm

Achieving Greatness: the making of Eden

Jon McCormack on his approach to the creative process and the making of an interactive, self-generating, artificial ecosystem.

Right now, much of the world is stuck at home and dealing with a global pandemic the likes of which haven’t been seen for 100 years. Working at home and having limited social contact does allow the opportunity to pause from normality and personally reflect. But it also gives us time and focus to imagine how things could be better when eventually the crisis subsides.

With that in mind, rather than talk about my current research, I wanted to talk about the process I use and how I applied it to developing what ended up being a successful work in the past. The talk is not so much about the work itself, but the approach and circumstances that allowed it to develop and grow over a number of years. I hope this will prompt you to consider your own approach and process, which will undoubtably be different and may even be something that you haven’t really thought that much about.

Two things were important: the first was that it came out of frustration with an unsuccessful project, and second, that it emerged organically through experimentation and curiosity rather than having a successful target in mind or fixed grand plan from the beginning.

My process revolves around three things: ideas, experience and experimentation and I’ll go into detail on each of these. This process helped me to develop a confidence about working and to appreciate at a personal level what it means to do work you consider to be great (even if others don’t think so) and rewarding. Here, greatness does not mean being complacent, superior, or arrogant, but being willing to acknowledge and consider criticism to achieve a better outcome. Hard work is also involved, but is not in itself enough.

To best experience this talk, I suggest you find your comfy happy space at home, make yourself a nice warm mug of hot chocolate or tea, sit back, tune in and hopefully enjoy the story – it does have a happy ending!

This SensiLab Research talk took place on 9 April 2020. See more of SensiLab’s research talks here.