Tiffany Shlain answers Culture: So What?!?

Culture: So What?!? In this ongoing series, we ask thought leaders from all walks of life to answer the question: What is Culture and Why Does it Matter?  They each find their own creative way of doing so.

This Week’s Thought Leader: Filmmaker, artist and Webby Awards founder, Tiffany Shlain.

The Biology of Creativity

Shake me.
Show me something new.
Crack my perceptions to let more light in.
Then take that light and make it look like water.
Twist it on its side.
Write a sentence that stops my breath.
Make cortisol and oxytocin rush through my brain.
Make a sound that makes my soul cave.
So melancholy that I taste emptines.
A film that puts me in the iris of someone else’s experience.
then after that, the credits roll, the song ends, the book is closed and the best part starts.
I absorb, swallow, devour, inhale all that … culture … and I process … like dye spreading in water, I let your thoughts stew in mine.
I Inhale your perspectives deeply wanting to breathe with more oxygen, with my own new ideas.
Your images work their way into my dreams.
Your ideas and songs and paintings and films breathe into my ideas like a silk membrane of creation. Like sperm burrowing in.
Soon, a thought will grow in me … and I won’t know where it’s going.
And if only I don’t have so many devices attached to my eyeballs, to my brainball, then a rootball will it grow so I can see what’s growing. If only I have enough space to let something grow on its own without distraction … enough time to make my mind wander and enough time to repot that plant that needs a bigger pot, more soil.
Then, let me make for you. Let me put my thoughts on film for you. Let me try to make something that will make you shake, laugh, cry, feel, think, laugh then think some more.

We’re all in a culture breakdancing circle, each in rhythm waiting for the new film, book, art, inspiration to dance in the center.

Watch The Science of Character beginning March 20
Watch The Science of Character beginning March 20

Join the global film premiere of Tiffany Shlain’s new film The Science of Character on March 20. The 8 minute film explores the fascinating social science and neuroscience behind character development and how we can shape who we are. It was made collaboratively with people all over the world through a filmmaking technique she and her team call “Cloud FIlmmaking.” People can participate in a global Q&A through Google Hangout, and there are over 1000 organizations watching and participating. Find out how to join at, or watch here:

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