Doodles on Art: Inspired by David Brooks and Es Devlin

Here are doodles inspired by David Brooks’ The Social Animal and Episode 3 of “Abstract: The Art of Design” featuring Es Devlin’s stage design. These are done on top of another artist’s art. In “Ways of Seeing” I edited the photograph. Below are my thoughts, explanations etc.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Here is a conscious child in front of its unconscious mind. Impulses flash in all directions. She feels some semblance of ownership and control, but all she has is her imagination. Self-control is not pure willpower. Imagination triggers the unconscious, a strategy for navigation.

This is inspired by Brooks’ discussion of the marshmallow experiment where a four-year-old sits in a room with a marshmallow and has the choice of eating it immediately or getting an additional one if he/she waits for a man to enter. “Children who were told to imagine the marshmallow was a fluffy cloud could also wait much longer. By using their imagination, they encoded their perceptions of the marshmallow differently.” p.125

Here are two children represented in two opposing ways of seeing.

The photograph is treated as if a diagram of visual understanding. Some cultures prioritise context and relationships (holistic), while others focus on personal autonomy (specific).

“The human race is impressive because groups of people create mental scaffolds that guide future thought.”


We view from a rectangle.

It happens that the iPhone screen is a rectangle. It could have been a circle, triangle or any other shape. Yet the rectangle now frames how we capture reality and navigate the virtual. As Es Devlin stated, designers now design for a rectangle, not any other shape.

Will we be better at navigating linearity and square-like patterns as a result of this repeated exposure? Will technology continue to take advantage of the inclination it perpetuated?



Identification motivates and clarifies

We are all under construction. And there certainly are homes of thoughts, skills and interests we never finish constructing.

If we thrive in an aspect of our lives it is not just because we are naturally skilled, but because we identify with it. This projection is a productivity mechanism.

“The sense of identity that children brought to the first [piano] lesson was the spark that would set off all the improvement that would subsequently happen. It was a vision of their future self.” p.135

Leave a Reply