Language is Key, but Context is KING

The Art of Language in a White Water World

A visual exploration into the world of complexity

The Art of Language in a White Water World is a digital image collection of my visual exploration into the world of complexity as it relates organizational agility. This body of work is the first in a three part series. This collection focuses on the language of complexity. The objective is to challenge the way viewers look at things from a different frame of reference.

Each digital image is designed to be a vehicle to stimulate a different way of thinking. A way of thinking so we can make sense in an ever changing white water world. A world where change is constant. The use of "White Water World" is attributed to Ann Pendleton-Jullian. Her work and the book; Design Unbound, designing for emergence in a white water world. The book has influenced this body of work.

My exploration began one day while on a jaunt through three interconnected parks not far from where I live. I call it my thinking park. I had been there many times over the years. But this one day was different. Instead of listening to my favorite trail tunes, I decided to listen to a podcast with Alisa Juarrero speaking on constraints and innovation. It was a podcast that was part of a course I was taking from Cognitive Edge called Cynefin Foundations. Each day after that, I would return to the park listening to many of the course lessons as well as others in the field of complexity. As I listened to Alica, Ann, and Dave Snowden, I began to look at the park differently. That inspired me to capture what I was thinking through a new lens. So I started applying that thinking to the images by manipulating them with the tools on my Samsung S5 cell phone and later with an iPhone XR. 

This first image in the collection is titled: Language is Key, but Context is KING. The composition emerged from a simple image of a honey locust tree. Gleditsia triacanthos, the Latin species epithet of the honey locust. 'Triacanthos' means three-parted thorns. Coincidentally the triadic color scheme (purple, green and orange) became part of the design. The triangular shape created as a result of constraining a portion of the original image. That original image was mirrored, changing the context of the visual. What emerged was a new pattern. A pattern that resembled a triangular crown. What came into view for me was an image of a face with a crown. The King of Context was born. I could change the context of the image simply by constraining hue, saturation and color temperature. I created a grouping of three images with different color properties.

Language is Key, but context is King is representation of what I consider the three essential human thinking elements needed to effectively orient towards organizational agility. They are; Decision making, networks and narratives, and adaptability. Three elements where habit and behaviors influence our effectiveness to consistently deliver value. These three elements comprise what I'm calling  AnthroDigital DNA.

The images that are available for purchase in the Gallery View will fund further exploration of Cynefin, Wardley mapping, OODA loop, Theory of constraints and others, through courses, conferences and  Master classes.