This article was originally posted in The Whiteboard, a blog serving Connecticut’s entrepreneurial community. Michael Romano is the editor. Read more Whiteboard articles here: http://newhiteboard.com/
Elinor Slomba is the founder of E. Slomba Arts Interstices as well as a Whiteboard Community Startup Journalist. In addition to covering the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Connecticut, she has written for The Whiteboard on the Scrum and Agile approaches to collaboration and project management. As a consultant and curator, one of her main concerns is bridging the worlds of art and business, helping artists be more entrepreneurial and businesses more artistic. The exhibition she recently curated, Navigate Complexity, is currently on view at The Grove. The work pictured above, from the exhibition, is “Nebulae #1,” by Jennifer Davies (handmade paper, string, 17” square).
Monday evening, an exhibition I curated opened at the The Grove in New Haven, showcasing the work of 17 Connecticut-based artist-entrepreneurs and one timely business topic: Navigating Complexity.
The opening reception drew approximately 50 people from the arts and startup worlds, resulting in sales inquiries as well as rich conversation and invitations to participate in future shows.
The exhibition’s theme deliberately addresses a current obsession among the business world’s top-tier thought leaders. Indeed, this year’s Drucker Forum, which just concluded in Vienna, convened under the banner “Managing Complexity.”
The business world is finally catching on to what artists know every time they go into the studio. It isn’t viable to enter a change process with a well-defined plan and expect to follow it. Instead, creative leaders need to trust the emerging solution.
Judy Sirota Rosenthal’s “Unfinished Prayer” watches over a StartUp Weekend New Haven team burning the 9pm oil last weekend at The Grove.
As a curator and a connector of the arts and startup worlds, I hope to amplify the role that artists have to play as guideposts and model generators for what complexity theorist Esko Kilpi defines as “the science of uncertainty.”
I was introduced to Kilpi’s work this week by a publisher who was reading the introduction to the “Navigate Complexity” catalogue, a passage of which reads:
“Navigating complexity is all about patterns. Selectively reducing the data we absorb is an act of creative intention. The world has become a fiercely complex competition for headspace, so we must design criteria for engagement. The quality of the paths we find and the sense we make reflect not only trust in our relationships but also our orientation to uncertainty.”
In his 2012 essay titled “Complexity, Patterns, and Links,” Kilpi writes:
“Complexity refers to a pattern, a movement in time that is at the same time predictable and unpredictable, knowable and unknowable. Healthy, ordinary, everyday life is always complex, no matter what the situation is. There is absolutely no linearity in the world of human beings.”
Jennifer Davies, Nebulae #2, handmade paper, string, 17” square
Helping people visualize new paradigms for organizational design is a service provided by visual artists like Jennifer Davies, whose “Nebulae” series graces the space where Independent Software works to help entrepreneurs build products and companies.
I see in Davies’s work the shift we are making from “the net” to “the mesh,” a concept put forward by author Lisa Gansky describing the way web-based businesses are advancing innovation through shareable goods. Says Gansky: “Every part is connected to every other part, and they move in tandem…. Mesh businesses are knotted to each other, and to the world, in myriad ways.”
Italian-born Giada Crispiels has installed ivy made from upcycled newspaper and magazine pages between the office of Big Bang, an industrial design firm, and a conference room. The effect adds organic energy and a touch of whimsy to the space.
Navigate Complexity may travel to other locations after February. A closing reception is planned for February 13th at The Grove.