We found this wonderful image on instagram with the caption, “Parisians navigate flood waters by walking across rows of chairs, 1924”.

It’s a seriously good improvisation to a serious challenge. In those days, Paris had LOTS of strong, waterproof cafe chairs. Seen though the lens of need — of the idea of bridges, perhaps — chairs became an answer.

It’s a fine example of Anni Albers enduring observation:

Being creative is not so much the desire to do something as the listening to that which wants to be done: the dictation of the materials.

Human beings are born to improvise, to “listen to that which wants (or needs) to be done”. Even if the answers take a while.

How many times in our life have we been faced with a difficult problem, and looked around and “seen” the answer, usually in a form we didn’t expect. Looking back, we realize we’ve always gotten an answer and found a way through.

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3 replies on “Improvising on a Rainy Day in Paris in 1924

  1. This reminded me of a dear friend who passed with ovarian cancer. She was so weak but wanted to get to the kitchen. Her husband lined up their beautiful chairs and she would sit awhile in each slowly making her way. She said she had time to admire each chair, it’s upholstery and workmanship as she slowly made her way from one to the other. Her independence and courage were always evident as she fought this horrible disease.
    Enjoyed the ingenious way the human mind finds solutions.

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