︎Editor’s Letter︎Alex Zafiris︎Editor’s Letter︎Alex Zafiris︎Editor’s Letter︎Alex Zafiris︎Editor’s Letter︎Alex Zafiris
Cut-out, Alex Zafiris, 2022.
A fundamental part of CCAM is the collaborative and experimental spirit. As people streamed through our doors again, there was a cautious new energy in the air. Movement was back. Encounters were happening. Friendships were blooming. The opportunity for surprise, chance, and discovery opened up. I was reminded of a New York Times article that CCAM director Dana Karwas sent me a few years ago, “How to Cultivate the Art of Serendipity” by Pagan Kennedy. It outlines the accidental nature of invention, how so many tools, technologies, and medicines were uncovered through mistakes or random twists and turns. Kennedy spoke to an information scientist, Sanda Erdelez, who began her own study around serendipity. Dr. Erdelez found that those with highly developed skills, an interest in the unfamiliar, and a certain courage were more predisposed to hit on an unexpected outcome. That an elemental part of innovation was an insatiable curiosity. She called these people “super-encounterers.”
In architecture, serendipity is the design of promoting the unplanned, of encouraging fluidity in thought, conversation, and experience. As an architect, Karwas often explores the potential of spatial dimension, much of it invisible to the naked eye but revealed through perception, imagination, visualization, and projection.
Thinking about all this, I went into our next editorial meeting and said: “Our theme for Maquette 3 is serendipity.”
As the issue began to take shape, one thing became very clear: Nobody has the same definition of serendipity. It seems to be a very private construct, often leading towards personal ideas of fate, destiny, coincidence, and luck. It raises questions about which forces shape us, what is or is not truly random, and what stories we tell ourselves. It is not always positive. Sometimes we find darkness, control, and fear. Computers cannot truly generate unsystematic results; only humans can. Occasionally we’ll suddenly see incredible links between things, and move the world forward. Serendipity demands openness, evokes the unknown, and leads to new territory. It is a surprise sequence, a collage of ideas, a form of connectedness, aliveness, even trust. It is always the beginning of something. Art is the ultimate amusement park for these pursuits.
CCAM is full of incredibly bright, imaginative, and curious thinkers. This outstanding issue reflects this. Thank you to our brilliant team, and to you for reading!
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