6 thoughts on “This is you brain. This is your brain on improv…

  1. baycyn — i definitely think you have a point. and i’m not sure dr. limb is necessarily saying the brain is where creativity *originates* (but i’d have to watch it again), but that the brain activates in certain ways in the context of certain modes of perceiving and expressing…. we may have a chicken-or-egg puzzle here & i’m no expert. 🙂 but i do get the sense that maybe this line of inquiry might allow some to find a “back door” around inhibitions, etc to access creativity… wherever it “comes from.”

  2. thanks for this Amanda. I find it very exciting to see where science is getting to in identifying whats happening in the brain. Its bizarre that most scientists still use the language of the ‘the brain does this ‘etc when its clearly a process involving the brain and the body, as you put it, ‘getting blood flowing and neurons firing — messages from body to brain and back again’.

    I liked the way he presented too, and am delighted to hear that creativity is a hot topic for scientists right now

  3. That was fun! Love his character…I’d feel relieved if my surgeon were a musician.

    One point of disagreement: I don’t think creativity originates in the brain. I believe the brain *mediates* it, helps to channel it into this particular dimension. And I don’t think consciousness originates there, either.

    Still, it was a cool Ted Talk. 🙂

    BTW, I don’t think linear time really exists as we think we perceive it. But that’s another can o’ worms.

  4. This is very interesting work being done by Dr. Limb. He’s quite the character!

    I remember when I studied music that I hated these tutorials where I had to improvise four part harmony. The soprano part was the only part written out and for about 10-12 bars you have to play it, all the while composing on the fly the other three parts, alto, tenor and bass to the soprano part. It was taught by a nun who did not inspire me in the least. Instead she filled my head with what particular notes could or could not be played together; “Don’t put the fifth with the ninth” and stuff like that. So with too much information crammed into my head, I always ended up botching it up royally. Until the final class.

    I was so relieved to be one class from never having to endure her tutorials again and when I sat down to play, my mind was already free and empty. I played the piece and when I finished, she let out a little shriek and said “That was wonderful, what did you do differently?” to which I replied that “I simply didn’t think about all the various configurations I could or could not do.”
    “Nonsense” she said, “That’s impossible.” Uh, actually, Sister, I thought of nothing but just played and I sat there grinning with relief, while staring at her incredulous face, feeling rather pleased with myself!

    I’d like a mad scientist to check out my brain!

  5. Wonderful Stuff! A beautiful example of expansive, playful Jupiter dancing cheek-2-cheek with innovative, scientifically forward Uranus in mystical, musical Pisces !

    Thank you so much for posting this talk… so inspiring!

    In my own work, I see correlations as well. The idea that there is a dialog going on whilst immersed in the creative process of improvisation is fascinating…. in my work, I am in conversation with Nature itself…and the materials I am building with as I make my sculptures. It is JUST like a conversation and often I remark to people who inquire about “how” do I make the work… I say simply that the materials and the place TALK to me and I listen… that is just what it feels like. And now, thanks to projects like this, we can see that artists who use phrases like this are describing it exactly as it is… not some fluffy, airy-fairy (though I DO work with Faeries!) kind of nebulous way.

    Brilliant! love it! Thank you for sharing!!

    Sally from http://www.greenspiritarts.com

  6. as an actress, i have long known that warming up physically does makes it exponentially easier to do any kind of theatrical improv games and to be “present” and respond creatively & emotionally freely when rehearsing plays that are not officially ‘improv’.

    i always figured it had something to do with grounding in the body, getting blood flowing and neurons firing — messages from body to brain and back again; that, given the incredible number of nerve endings in our bodies, our bodies basically ‘are’ our minds — forget the ‘split’.

    Limb’s comparison of what a brain looks like when performing memorized music vs improvising is especially fascinating to me, given the dual goal of actors to both get memorized lines and movement right while simultaneously reacting freely to the moment and staying open to playful flow.

    one thing i love about this scientist is his candor in saying, “this is just a preliminary study, and probably wrong,” and that “science needs to catch up to art.” science may have catching up to do, but i don’t think science is a ‘threat’ to art and creativity in its attempts to understand how it works. creativity has worked for a very long time without understanding, and who knows — maybe this sort of understanding can actually help people open up to their creative potential who so far think you have to be ‘specially gifted’ to create anything.

    some of the comments on the TED site are interesting, too:

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