As we enter Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe next year, we’ll inevitably see the same repetitive twists and squadrons of heroes saving the day. They seem to exemplify the habitual predictability in mass media. But, for myself at least, only ever consuming and interacting with sameness leaves me feeling uninspired. While I do love a good Spiderman movie, I think we could all benefit from exposure to something new—or in Martin Scorcese’s words, something that confronts us with the unexpected—to break out of our usual ways of thinking.
On challenging conventions, A24 is a near perfect antithesis of the MCU. Their use of storytelling provokes intense emotions while their unorthodox marketing tactics attract fans and create fandom. The boldness and wonderful strangeness of A24 leaves me shocked, introspective, and often confused (in a good way). Similar to A24, thatgamecompany, game creators of Journey and Sky, also offers more intentional storytelling in order to have emotional impact and create a sense of awe.
Beyond just consuming more unexpected content, actively engaging in unfamiliar environments can also strengthen one’s imagination. Take Loot, a collaborative world-building project, for example. In the early days, with only a few simple lines of text as a loose framework, individuals were encouraged to create their own space within an expansive universe. Similarly, the growth of cultural and art-forward DAOs, like Friends with Benefits or Refraction, have created new possibilities for collaborative communities where individuals can share and discover novel ideas.
These are only a few examples of the abundance of creativity that exists outside the tried-and-true (and perhaps tired) entertainment that rarely challenges us. It’s exactly through exposure to new and different experiences—environments, people, stories, ideas—that we can view the world differently. I encourage us all to take the time to feed our imagination and explore niches outside our worldview—what inspires you to reimagine how you think?
(Photo by Atiabii on Pexels)
Nothing is as it seems at Meow Wolf exhibits.
(Image: Meow Wolf)
Everything Everywhere All at Once offers an absurd yet complex take on the multiverse.
One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of my favorite magical realism books.