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Creativity – it’s good (that it’s us)

October 18, 2010

Another ramble:

There’s almost no point in arguing the case for creativity – saying that creativity is good is basically like saying good is good. The more interesting questions for politicians and social scientists concern how we define creativit, who has the chance to be creative and what type of places and spaces make it easier for people to be creative.

These questions reveal deeper philosophical convictions and beliefs about freedom, education and democracy. What types of creativity signify the most important political freedoms –  cleverly designed cars, ‘shock art’ in galleries or local bands in bars? What kinds of creativity does a culture choose celebrate? Does everyone have creativity inside them, or is it just for the gifted and talented? Is creativity only relevant to specific art forms? Think about it. You’d find out alot about a person’s values and attitudes if they answered these questions.

I like the idea that creativity is not the product of ‘lone geniuses’ but something that originates in and moves through groups of people. Being creative shines a light on us, but it also reveals our relationships to other people – creating things is the process of being connected to other people. We should think of creativity as being more about how we become part of the world, rather than how we express how different and distinctive we are from other people.

TSolely thinking of creativity as something that comes from individuals places unrealistic expectations on people who create. By equating their success with exceptionalism from other ‘mere mortals’, encourages them to feel isolated and lonely. It also encourages us to think of some people being creative, rather than the importance of fostering the creativity in everyone. It encourages us to think of creativity as the process of accumulating property, rather than adding to the sum of all knowledge.

It follows then, that major global cultural events, like the Olympics, should embrace the creativity of as many minds as possible, rather than simply venerating ‘the greats of creativity’. This is basically why big cultural events, should be underpinned by a Right to Explore for young people. Major cultural events are about symbolically connecting places to the rest of the world. The same should be true for young people.

The process of making things, is the process of becoming a part of the rest of the world.

A few things I was thinking about while writing this.

Exhibit 1: lyrics from DJ Shadow’s – Building Steam with a Grain of Salt

And i would like to able to continue
To let what is inside of me
Which is, which comes from all the music that i hear
I would like for that to come out
And it’s like, it’s not really me that’s coming
The music’s coming through me

Exhibit 2: Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk about nurturing creativity.

She argues that it’s helpful to think of people as ‘having a genius’ rather than being a genius.

Exhibit 3: Orange’s advertising Campaign last Year

It was cringe-making but ‘I am who I am because of everyone I know‘ reflects these sentiments quite well

Exhibit 4: The Big pile of Sunflower Seeds in the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern

Definitely about our connections to other people accross the world through different types of creativity.
Really, really amazing stuff.

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