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Ze Frank is one of the most creative and enigmatic people working in digital media. He's also just plain funny. His work could arguably be among the most viewed and participated-in content ever created. He is known as a performance artist, humorist, composer and speaker, including multiple appearances at the prestigious TED conferences. For millions of followers and fans who know him through his experiments in online interactivity, social media, and audience participation, this installment of Creative Inspirations reveals the man himself as he explains his unique point of view, his thought processes, and what spurs him on.
(Music playing.) I think this is common knowledge at this point, but the idea that more people are publishing in the broadest sense than have ever published. So just the act of creating something and then externalizing it for unknown audiences. There is something in the creative process when you create something and all of a sudden realize that it's going to be consumed by someone else and not even in your presence, right? In the creative process, all of a sudden you sort of externalize the objects.
You see it outside of yourself and you also start imagining how other people are going to see it. That kind of moment, and I call that the audience awareness moment, is really embedded in the creative process now, for people who write blogs, for people who write comments. But the problem is that I think that there are a couple of things. One is it's a very, very complicated process, where you are using your internal personas or homunculi.
These like little tiny representations of the outside world, because it's actually you looking at the object. It's not somebody else looking at the object, but it's your impression of somebody else looking at the objects. You know, to some extent you have to become very aware of how you are forming all those little parts of yourself. Like, who is the evil guy that hates your work inside of your own head and where does he come from? What kind of experiences was the formation of that person born out of? And the other thing which I find interesting about this is that the audience as a whole is in varying kind of stages.
Not the audience, but people as a whole, that are participating in this culture, are at various stages of awareness of audience. So some of them are sort of speaking to the world. Whenever they write something, it's sort of like "dear world, this is how I think about something." And some of them speak very particularly to the author, as if they are in a closed room with that person. And some people speak to people just like them, as if the people that read it are just like them.
There is a certain chaos that comes out of that, that comes out of these different expectations of what the audience actually is. And you can see it when you run any kind of participatory project or experience or have a comments section. You see these kind of overlying expectations about who people are talking to. It's an incredibly important facet of this emerging world and of participation as a whole, when we start really thinking about mass participatory media experiences.
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