What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
With rendition switcher


James Zemaitis : I think it really depends because many of the pieces that have become the most iconic works on the auction and private market as opposed to their appearance in kind of, you know, encyclopedic, “What is good design?” manuals are works that were possible commercial failures at the get-go . . . from the get-go; works that were prototypes but were rejected by a mass producer because it was too expensive to produce. They were very personal works that were frequently . . . the artists kept for many, many years. And only after they passed away, their estate sold it to somebody who sold it to somebody, and that’s how we end up with it. So many of the works that we do . . . that are frequently the most, you know, sought after are the mistakes – are the true rarities of the market.

Second of all you have works that were site specific. And one of the most unusual aspects of today’s art market in terms of design is the fact that frequently we’re selling somebody’s dormitory furniture. You know Jean Prouve did incredible installations for dormitories for students in Paris; for employees of Air France who are squatting in the Congo in these Quonset huts that Prouve designed that have become themselves works of art. So we are kind of . . . We’re eluding in a sense – although usually it is the . . . This isn’t a question of stealing antiquities out of the ground. But this is a question of dismantling the past and pulling pieces out of their original intent; and sometimes reshaping them, restoring them, and changing them into sculptures that can be placed into the gallery. So for a committed socialist like Jean Prouve who was a less than adequate business man; and frequently his factory was in financial trouble; who was always thinking in utopian ways how to create mass production furniture for displaced workers for students. I mean if he was alive today to see this work fetishized, repainted, and in some cases rebuilt and turned into sculpture by today’s art market, I mean I can’t imagine what his reaction would be. It’s the opposite of today’s contemporary designers who are very much linked into what we’re doing; and are in many cases creating works of art that are available in addition form; retail through contemporary art gallery like Gagosian here in New York, and are designed to make as much money as possible, and then to increase in value within the next few years. Recorded on: 1/30/08





What is the relationship be...

Newsletter: Share: