Archive for the 'Class' Category

Posted by: Serena | 29th Jun, 2007


“All creativity can be understood as taking in the world as a problem.”

I know we already talked this one to death, but I’m feeling the need to explore it further. We explored the nature of the statement, but not really the statement itself. We asked what was meant by “creativity”. What qualifies as creativity? What is the connotation of the word “problem” in this context? Why is it phrased as “taking in” rather than “approaching”? Is it even possible to approach these question in a way that produces answers?

I think the only way I’m going to get anywhere with this–and the only way any of us can, really–is to use whatever interpretation that is meaningful for me personally. When I create art, in whatever form it takes, am I doing it because I’m trying to address a condition that is present in my world and important to me? I think Dr. C misinterpreted (only slightly) my intent with that question. I’m not really judging myself and my art by whether or not I’m “taking in” a “problem”. Rather, I’m simply asking myself whether or not that’s what I do, as a condition of my creativity. I’m not overly concerned with conforming to this statement or feeling guilty by not doing so. Just wondering if, somehow, that statement represents a basic intent that I was never fully aware of.

I’m not sure if I can tell you whether the statement is true for me or not. I know my basic motivations for being creative, but do they somehow conform to this underlying principle? First and foremost, I create art because it makes me happy. Because it makes me think. Because I enjoy it. But what do I try to do with it? I think that every artist has the same basic motivations, though secondary motivations may vary. When you create art, you’re doing it to:

  1. Express emotion
  2. Affect others
  3. Reveal yourself

If you feel something strongly, you create. You draw, photograph, write, compose, sing, paint, think.

When you create, you want to inspire observers and show them something new, whether about the world, themselves, or others. If I create something and it makes someone look at the world in a different way–not even a significant, life-changing, “aha!”-moment way–I am satisfied. I want to show everyone something beautiful and inspire thoughts, or even just one tiny thought, that they never would have had otherwise. Even if they forget all about it the next second, it was there. And I think that’s important. Is that a form of “taking in the world as a problem”? I think so. Our OED definition of “problem” used the phrase “throw out”. I’m taking in the world as a problem, interpreting it, channeling it, and then throwing it back out for others to take in. Each resulting thought is a new interpretation of my interpretation, which is, in turn, an interpretation of the one that I’ve taken in, which probably also originated as an interpretation. Does it ever end? Can you trace back thoughts? Ideas? Problems? Inspiration?

Perhaps everything should just be under a Creative Commons license, because nothing is truly the work of one person. Everything I do, think, create, or feel is the accumulation of the thoughts, creations, and feelings of millions of people before me.

Most of all, in my art I show people who I am. And maybe it just so happens that who I am–and who we all are– is a composite of everyone else who ever thought, created, or felt in the entire history of the world. We don’t need to consider what it means to take in the world as a problem. It’s already what we are.