The Production of Creativity

2007

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After working together on a series of collaborative interdisciplinary workshops and courses, Piotr Adamczyk and I decided to spend a month researching the rhetorical and communicative functions of creativity as a value in art, science, and commerce. If mobility as freedom represents a spatial fantasy of certain modernities, creativity seems to capture a related desire for unfettered movement through the world of ideas, objects, and designed experiences.

While in residence at the Banff Institute for New Media as part of a Reference Check residency, we worked to construct a picture of creativity as a necessarily contested space, a multiform and appropriately bisociative concept. Under the advisement of resident critics Anne Galloway, Sarat Maharaj, and Andreas Broeckmann, Piotr and I developed an administered a survey of one hundred of our peers and colleagues in Computer Science, New Media, and Art to learn, among other things, how the value of creativity changes from site to site.

We also employed methods of research that best manifested some of our own convictions about creativity. Through both quantitative and qualitative analysis, mining texts and curating pictures, we looked to keep creativity unstable, yet grounded in material and disciplinary specificity.

Our workspace itself became the most specific material outcome of this process, as a mass of objects, texts, charts and diagrams formed a hub for discussion, debate, and expansion. Other outcomes included a series of pamphlets intended to serve as prompts to discussion with new participants in disciplinary settings.

Piotr and I have been busy with other projects ever since, but still plan to return to an investigation of our project in book form. Meanwhile, we each continue to periodically present on this material in disciplinary settings.

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