Think Inside the Box: Creativity Within Constraints and Parameters
David Kwong, Illusionist and Puzzle Expert
In this talk, David Kwong explores the complex relationship between boundaries and productivity. Though it may seem counterintuitive, most people are at their most creative when they innovate within a given set of boundaries. How can you tell a clever story while obeying the construction rules of a crossword puzzle, the three-act structure of a screenplay, or the sensitive angles of a stage illusion? Kwong, a master of working within the lines, explains how constraints give us the freedom to create. We are at our most innovative when we design a new form for something familiar, and subsequently express it in a novel and compelling way.
Kwong demonstrates some of his own groundbreaking puzzles and illusions by way of inspiring a new method of problem solving.
Puzzles and magic might not seem like the most logical companions, but Kwong sees a clear parallel between the two. As human beings, he argues, we are driven by the urge to solve problems and “create order out of chaos." Kwong regularly writes crossword puzzles for a range of national publications, including the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. He is also the founder of the Misdirectors Guild, an elite group of magicians that specialize in magic for film and television. As the head magic consultant, Kwong created illusions for the bank-heist film Now You See Me, teaching magic to Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Mark Ruffalo, and Woody Harrelson. Kwong has also designed magic and puzzles for Ant-Man, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and The Imitation Game, to name a few.