3```Lots of Coffee Shops
6.3 - 6.7

This week I was mostly hopping around coffee shops, reading, researching, reflecting, and sketching. It was a really nice break from two intense weeks of going to events and socializing. I explored in two major themes: the Sublime in art, and games (and how the two can go together). There were many exciting moments about finding out cool people and projects, and every day I gained more excitement about creating beautiful and inspiring things for this world. It was an amazing, peaceful week, and I hope the excitement, motivation, hope, and curiosity I felt will always stay with me..

The Sublime, Awe, & Aesthetics 

image taken from Andrew’s website
6.3 Andrew Moisey
On Monday, I skyped with artist and Cornell professor Andrew Moisey about his book American Fraternity, awe, and art. One thing that really stuck with me from the conversation was the amount of patience Andrew put into making the book: he conceived the idea of it in his junior year of college, and it came out last year, after he had already gotten his phD.

I have a lot of appreciation for the patience that artists like him have, because of the purity of intention beneath that patience. I have often found myself unable to settle down when trying to draw something “for fun” (ie. not for homework) because I cannot see an immediate, meaningful result that I would be proud of. Hearing about Andrew’s book, in combination with some realizations I had this week (towards the bottom of this page), helped me gain a lot more patience with creating. I could finally sit down sketching for an hour (for myself) without interruption!

Below is a list of readings and art that Andrew recommended to me:

  1. Kant’s Critique of Judgment (What do we mean when we say something’s sublime or beautiful? What is the difference between what is beautiful and what is sublime?)
  2. Awe-inspiring art: 
(Painting) Caspar David Friedrich (e.g. The Monk at Sea), the Romantic movement,
(Photography) Andreas Gursky
(Poetry) Debts Lessons
(Film) Tree of Life, The Voyage of Time, Baraka

6.5 David Yaden
As a lot of you know already, I am doing some research at Penn’s Positive Psychology Center with David B. Yaden this summer. I will explain more of what I am going to do in a later update, but I met up with David this week and essentially talked about awe, aesthetics, game, etc. Some of the things he recommended me to look into:

  1. Robert Clewis: The Sublime Reader, The Kantian Sublime and the Revelation of Freedom
  2. Jackie Tileston
  3. Neuroaesthetics Center


6.4 Journey
I finally played Journey with my friends! Whenever people ask me what kind of games I want to make, this is the game I’d refer to as an example of what I envision: a game where you feel wonder, your own insignificance (in a good way), and your connection with something larger.

My favorite part about this game, apart from its incredible visual design, is that you encounter other players--anonymous, but real players--along the journey. You can interact with them in a non-competitive way, because this game is nothing close to being about winning, but simply enjoying a journey, while completing important tasks. It is short, but beautiful, in a way that makes players still feel good coming back to the reality. With its beautifully constrcted, sublime world, the game inspires the opposite of escapism. 

Please. Play. This. Game. You’ll love it.

6.6 Elizabeth Ballou
Elizabeth turned to making games after pursuing fiction for a long time, so she told me about interactive fiction, which sounded really cool:

  1. Galatea
  2. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  3. doki doki literature club (horror story)  

Liminal Dreaming

6.6 Jennifer Dumpert
link to Liminal Dreaming

- Liminal dreaming is the state between awake and asleep. (’limen’: doorway, threshold)

- In this state, what you “see”/”dream”/experience is not really a narrative (like dreams usually are), but simply a world unfolding itself to you

- It is very sensually vivid. You get into psychedelic spaces without psychedelics. 

- Carl Jung was a “hypnagogia tripper”

More Notes from Conversations

- Two ways of appreciating music
1. Focusing on the movement
2. Focusing on the atmosphere

- balance between creating for the world and creating for yourself: your works become more interesting and less empty when you introduce some idiosyncratic experience of yours into your work. So perhaps more balance is reached when you consider your friends to be the audience. 

Some Realizations About Myself

1. Creating is a mission for me. It is not necessarily about *me* creating something, but channeling an inner vision to this world through artistic means.

2. My love for harp (the sound of which has a specific ancient quality that puts people into a different world in an instant) and Latin, belief in the power of absurdity, interest in making games and animations, curiosity towards science fiction and religion (especially Tibetan Buddhism), love for artists like Cai Guo-Qiang and Italo Calvino, are all, in fact, threaded together by an interest in the imagined realm: a world elevated from our physical reality that serves as a stretched mirror, reflecting what we are and how we inhabit in a distorted but truthful way. 

Beautiful Quotes My Friends Shared With Me

1. “A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remarks it in his image.” (Joan Didion, The White Album)

2. “Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.” (Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, available on Netflix)

3. “Life pours itself into us, pours its problems and capacities into our temporary forms, and we take these gifts and work with them, trying to purify the distortions and strengthen the virtues.” (Chris Bache)

More Games I Enjoyed Playing This Week