Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention

What is the key to happiness? How do we find meaning in the chaos of life? And why do our best ideas comes when we least expect them? These questions are the domain of psychology theorist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. His answer derives from Flow, a concept he outlined in his 1990 book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Flow basically means “gettin in the zone.” I’m responding to one of his follow-ups from 1996, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, which examines how Flow impacts “Creativity.” Csikszentmihalyi distinguishes Creativity (with a capital “C”) from other forms of creativity in ways I find problematic, but the distinctions and theories are useful as I look for inspiration and happiness in life. Continue reading

NYC Experience Design: Exchange Place


I used to commute to Exchange Place in Jersey City via the PATH Train from World Trade Center. On my commute, I noticed a lot of things, but I was also oblivious to a  lot of things. For example, there’s a ferry just a few blocks from the station, but it five years and a Hurricane before I finally tried this alternate route between WTC and NJ. It changed my whole perspective. I wanted to create an experience that captures this shift. The entire trip takes place in the shadow of the WTC but does not mention 9/11, instead I chose to spotlight memorials to events that may seem out of place.

Exchange Place, my NYC Experience Design project, is predominantly an audio tour. I narrated seven tracks in a voice inspired by the impersonal voices that emanate from the PATH station intercom. At the end of each track, the narrator gives directions to the listener who is asked to pause playback until they reach the next point. I started each track with a sound from the PATH and used background music to provide some continuity, but I worry that I did not provide enough continuity as far as the directions go. I also added two tracks of music to listen to at certain points along the journey.

I put my tracks on a CD-R, packaged with photographs of what can be expected on this experience. I also put a sticker on the front of the case to make sure that whoever selected this experience would be able to bring headphones and an mp3 player on their journey. I included mp3s on the cdr and there was also a download link + qr.

You can download the mp3s here and they are each tagged with images of what you would see while listening to them. Here are a few examples


Neons for Exchange Place Station by Stephen Antonakos in 1989. Photo Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Genista via flickr.


You can download the audio and take the tour yourself here.