Scenius

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= collective genius, or: the communal form of the concept of the genius

Description

1. Brian Eno:

"Scenius stands for the intelligence and the intuition of a whole cultural scene. It is the communal form of the concept of the genius.

Individuals immersed in a productive scenes will blossom and produce their best work. When buoyed by scenes, you act like genius. Your like-minded peers, and the entire environment inspire you."


The geography of a scenes is nurtured by several factors:


  • Mutual appreciation — Risky moves are applauded by the group, subtlety is appreciated, and friendly competition goads the shy. Scenius can be thought of as the best of peer pressure.


  • Rapid exchange of tools and techniques — As soon as something is invented, it is flaunted and then shared. Ideas flow quickly because they are flowing inside a common language and sensibility.


  • Network effects of success — When a record is broken, a hit happens, or breakthrough erupts, the success is claimed by the entire scene. This empowers the scene to further success. (Collective Epic Wins!)


  • Local tolerance for the novelties — The local “outside” does not push back too hard against the transgressions of the scene. The renegades and mavericks are protected by this buffer zone."


Discussion

Brian Eno at the Sydney Luminous Festival:

“I was an art student and, like all art students, I was encouraged to believe that there were a few great figures like Picasso and Kandinsky, Rembrandt and Giotto and so on who sort-of appeared out of nowhere and produced artistic revolution.

As I looked at art more and more, I discovered that that wasn’t really a true picture.

What really happened was that there was sometimes very fertile scenes involving lots and lots of people – some of them artists, some of them collectors, some of them curators, thinkers, theorists, people who were fashionable and knew what the hip things were – all sorts of people who created a kind of ecology of talent. And out of that ecology arose some wonderful work.

The period that I was particularly interested in, ’round about the Russian revolution, shows this extremely well. So I thought that originally those few individuals who’d survived in history – in the sort-of “Great Man” theory of history – they were called “geniuses”. But what I thought was interesting was the fact that they all came out of a scene that was very fertile and very intelligent.

So I came up with this word “scenius” – and scenius is the intelligence of a whole… operation or group of people. And I think that’s a more useful way to think about culture, actually. I think that – let’s forget the idea of “genius” for a little while, let’s think about the whole ecology of ideas that give rise to good new thoughts and good new work.” (http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2009/07/09/brian-eno-on-genius-and-scenius/)

More Information

  • How to support scenius and social innovation?
  1. Alex Steffen at http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/008160.html
  2. Michel Bauwens at http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/networked-scenius-private-patronage-and-the-partner-state/2008/06/29
  3. Kevin Kelly: "Scenius can erupt almost anywhere, and at different scales: in a corner of a company, in a neighborhood, or in an entire region."

(http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/06/scenius_or_comm.php)