Robert Blinn of Core 77 posted an extensive and very interesting review of Living with Complexity by Donald Norman. He describes looking at a picture of Al Gore’s messy office, and issuing big judgements about a man who campaigns against our messing up of the environment, while not keeping his own space together. Messy spaces are widely considered the sign of a disorganized and un-together person. Not for Norman:
In Norman’s view, Gore’s desk is the cluttered extension of an organized mind. Indeed, Norman interviewed many seemingly organized owners of messy workspaces and heard them repeatedly request, “Please don’t clean my desk.” The apparent disorder of the office was being carefully tracked in their minds. Norman explains that all of our desire for “simplicity” is a false hope because life is complex. Complexity, however, does not need to be confusing.
We find complexity amazingly interesting AND confusing; since starting ‘the improvised life’, we’ve have had to totally GET with our messy workspace, and it’s vast piles of ideas that we’ve found and can’t keep up with filing. We’re kind of obsessed with “messy” spaces of creative people, who clearly have their own unique mental filing systems. We find that so many people think they are somehow flawed for having an in-flux workspace, we love to post examples to antidote the notion. Here’s another favorite. …the wondrous office of Fritz Karch who is the Editorial Director for Collecting for Martha Stewart Living.
Photo of Fritz Karch’s office via Unplugged
Related posts: dieter roth’s workspace + the courage to ‘leave crap the way it is’
a cool way to free up the creative process
on things “not looking good while you’re working on them”
what unkempt or messy or shabby can mean
real life is messy