A New Newsletter from Bryan Formhals!

Bryan Formhals

A newsletter about walking, photography, creativity, and new projects!

May 19, 2019

1. New Newsletter, New Podcast in the works

Hello! The last time you heard from me was at the end of the LPV Show in 2016. Just as a reminder, you probably signed up to get updates on the show. While there won't be any new episodes of the LPV Show, I have started production on a new podcast that's going to focus on walking, photography and biophilic design. If you that sounds interesting to you, then stick with this newsletter as I'll be sharing what I'm reading and working on each week. If that's not for you, then no worries! We all need to keep our inboxes under control.

This last week I posted on LinkedIn about 5 Changes I've made to my media consumption habits. Hint: less twitter, more newsletter, and a library card! I'm also back up on Instagram with photos from a trip to the Grand Canyon. And now some articles that should give you a good idea of where I'll be going with my work and the new podcast!

2. The importance of taking time to do nothing

  • More practically, the idea of niksen is to take conscious, considered time and energy to do activities like gazing out of a window or sitting motionless. The less-enlightened might call such activities “lazy” or “wasteful.” Again: nonsense. We at Smarter Living have long been fans of taking regular breaks throughout the day, as study after study shows that feeling drowsy, exhausted or otherwise mentally depleted during the workday drastically hinders performance and productivity.

We seem to be in a cultural moment where we're realizing that our relationship with technology and information is out of balance. We're simply spending too much time glued to screens. That happened to me this year, leading to burn out. I just couldn't spend all day connected and consuming information. So I've taken some time to figure out how to find a good balance which has required a career re-evaluation as well! I'm about half way through 'How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy,' a new book by artist and educator Jenny Odell that has been getting some good buzz. I'll share more when I complete it.

3. Walk with a strategy to combat 'always on' culture

  • "According to Eugene Quinn, an urban explorer who gives guided tours through Vienna, what I experience every morning is my own version of what he calls an “intentional walk.” In Quinn’s TEDTalk, “Want Creativity? Then WALK On the Wild Side,” he talks about using mindful walking as a way to combat the over-stimulated, “always-on” culture of our everyday lives. “It might seem like the simplest act in the world, but walkers are different,” he says. “If you choose to walk with a strategy, you can better develop your productivity and creativity.”

Over at Thrive Global, assistant editor Rebecca Muller writes about the nexus between walking, productivity and creativity, a theme I plan on exploring more the podcast.



4. Creativity requires time to daydream

  • 'Humans are naturally creative beings, and we need to get out of our own way, says Rahaf Harfoush, author of Hustle and Float: Reclaim Your Creativity and Thrive in a World Obsessed with Work.. “To be creative what we need to do is let our brain do its thing,” she says. “The brain needs rest and time every day to daydream. It’s an incredibly important cognitive function that assimilates what we learn, and tests ideas and scenarios.”'

A truth I think most creative people figure out at some point but always a good reminder. For me, walking plays an integral part in developing creative connections, something we plan on exploring in our new project. Read more on Fast Company.

5. Is networking more important than creativity when it comes to artistic success?

  • "The study shows that artists who had more connections in different countries, and across different disciplines and professions, became more famous. It looks only at early 20th century abstract artists, not, say, post-modern American novelists, or pop art, and it doesn’t take into account factors like gender and race. But it’s easy to imagine making a similar map of the movies stars, musicians, writers, and other famous characters who circled around Warhol. Networking, it turns out, works."

Of course, the key here is the definition of success. Perhaps 1,000 true fans and minimalistic lifestyle in the country counts as success for some, while others want the studio and fancy openings in Manhattan. I tend to believe that good ideas and creativity are social magnets so vacuous networking will probably only go so far, unless you're an influencer on Instagram, in which case you can support yourself pitching product. Read more on qz.



6. NatGeo's Walking Tokyo Digital Presentation

  • With this digital experience, I want to recreate some of the feeling of discovery as we “walk” through Tokyo together: wandering through the cooking smoke of restaurants tucked under railroad bridges; stepping past rows of frozen tuna in fish market auction halls; and stopping to be serenaded by a singing robot.

I really liked this presentation with the mix of video and short photo sequences. It's definitely influenced by Instagram stories but also feels like very much of the moment in terms of presentation. I expect to see more of this in the future, and hope to experiment with it in the future.

7. No Cars in the Biophilic City of the Future

  • "In Calthorpe’s utopia, in China or America or elsewhere, cities would stop expanding so voraciously, paving over the nature around them; instead they’d find better ways of letting nature into their cores, where it can touch people. They’d grow in dense clusters and small, walkable blocks around a web of rapid transit. These cities of the future would mix things up again: They’d no longer segregate work from home and shopping, as sprawl does now, forcing people into cars to navigate all three; they’d no longer segregate rich from poor, old from young, and white from black, as sprawl does, especially in the United States. Driving less, paving less, city dwellers would heat the air and the planet around them less. That would slow the climate change that threatens, in this century, to make some cities unlivable."

There are some great photos of Singapore in this NatGeo story about future cities.

Further Reading