In A Video: Telling Stories Through Creative Art

17 October 2018

Adam Savage is a special effects designer, producer and presenter who is famous for his participation in the TV program “Myth Busters,” which lasted for 13 years. He’s also known for his distinguished work in designing the special effects for many science fiction movies. The most memorable being “The Matrix” and “Star Wars” movie series. Savage participated in the creativity season “TANWEEN” Ithra's creativity season and gave a lecture on October 12, 2018, in Dhahran City. In his lecture, he talked about his interest in the relation between the things and the stories they tell; as well as the story's ability to endorse our understanding of the world in general and to disrupt man’s view of things in particular, and how they push us towards deeper realization of what leads to inventing concepts or things.
The speaker started by explaining the distinction between humans and other living creatures, which is the man’s constant search of understanding the world and himself by exploring; and then sharing the found knowledge through stories passed through generations. He talked about his hobby, collecting things that captivate him in his home workshop such as fashion and artistic pieces inspired by movies and pop culture. He also likes to collect old computers and technical tools to create copies of them. Every piece in his workshop is associated with a unique story and an emotional experience that relates to him on the personal or the artistic level. He attributes his passion for collecting and creating to his appreciation of inspiring chaos and the process of organizing it, which -in his words- resemble the process for organizing the thoughts in his head, which seem to him as if there were small cubes to be built into something bigger and more complicated.
Savage initiated the talk by giving an example of one of the fashion pieces he made in his workshop. He showed the audience pictures of NASA’s orange astronaut suits, which he made from scratch and wore to the famous “Comic-Con” convention. He said that making the suit required a thorough search of certain pieces and how to make them, which he planned with the help of other international artists. The result was identical to the original astronaut suits. His love for this kind of things isn’t limited to looks or final results. He cares about understanding the mechanism of making these pieces and their objective. He likes to find the details and the obvious and hidden meanings behind them. And he does that by researching, analyzing and comprehending the overall experience.
Savage’s passion goes beyond the limits of manufacturing and construction. For most of his life, he has been interested in exploring and making pieces that have stories and meaning to him, although they are usually looked over. He told a personal story as an example, where he tried to copy the director, stanley kubrick’s favorite chair, which he used during directing the famous movie “The Shining”. The chair had two wooden baskets on the sided to hold the scripts, which made it hard to copy and forced Savage to buy a chair online, from another country, and then dismantle it and build it again. He even copied the inscription that is found on one of the chair’s buttons. He said that he started to understand the meanings behind what seems to be random things, by thinking like the maker of that thing and treating it with the same love and care he would.
In the end, he mentioned that he didn’t understand the reason behind “myth busters” before. He thought it was just to teach people his manufacturing skills, but after 10 years, he realized his real job was telling stories; and that’s what he has done his whole life. His joy lies in adding simple details to his art work and special effects equipment, like painting the external surface of the space ship with a rust color in the movie “Star Wars.” He says that by doing so, he realized he understood the purpose and mechanism of the pieces used, even if they were fictional. He concluded by saying that telling these stories is one of the greatest joys that life could offer.