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Creativity as a Selfmodel Loop?- post submited to the site related to the ICFAR symposium"Temporary Host", London, June 2008.

creativity as a selfmodel loop?
Submitted by Aemilia Papaphi... on Fri, 08/08/2008 - 12:13.
An attempt to put some thoughts in writing...

As I said representing myself I experienced the "Temporary Host" event connected to my understanding of the "Self" as a construct, a creative tool to engage with the "Other", be it people or the "World".

Talking about a construct I'm talking basically about creativity and consequently I'm talking about the phenomenal quality of what we tend to understand as a rather fixed given; both in the nature of selfhood but also (consequently) in the representation of what we call reality.
But let me start from the beginning...

In general the "Temporary host" event although segmented into different topics/tables gave me the sense of a gathering of people eager to discuss, and through this open ended process to think collectively-and let me clarify this later -upon the identity of the creative act in relation to "research".

Either for acquiring funds (social structures -such as art schools and universities- and individuals) or for expanding the creative process we are called to quantify and justify the artistic produce in terms that measures up to the requirements and settings of systems if not fundamentally opposite to the artistic endeavor (I remember someone talking about cats learning to bark) then simply strange.

However, the way I see it, it is culture (i.e. innovation) that has maintained us in this world. Thinking and acting differently has produced all that we value as civilization/culture; from our cultivating the ground and eating its produce , to consequently "cultivating our spirit', meaning introducing and producing the realm of the symbolic upon which we based our further survival and expansion. From agriculture to culture, to cultural wars...

It is therefore to be expected, and has always been the case, that innovation that lies in the core of the creative/artistic perception, is a sought after...It has, after all, been proved to be profitable!

Simply in the current environment we as creators -and not the usual mediators of the past, i.e. critics, managers, advertisers, politicians... - are called not only to produce the work but also facilitate towards its integration and application to usages for the mainstream and this can be problematic since most of the time we really do not "know" what we are doing and yet there it is... done!

Of course therefore, the "studio' space" be it virtual or realistic but most importantly mentally also pragmatically facilitates the artistic production- the "idea of the exhibition","the art school model", "the archives", or "writing about performance" all hold in common how this mode of thinking (?) while creating - being is I guess a more appropriate word-can be investigated further and communicated through to the mainstream.

We were investigating creativity (we talked about latent behavior) as being a behavioral mode other than the object oriented behavior that characterizes most of our volitional activities of manifestation. The linear, lets call it mainstream behavior, presupposes that the goal is and can be determined, pre designated , a priori to the act that brings it, successfully as in predictably, in fruition.(In the meantime let me remind you that we did talk about happy accidents and mistakes as being the stepping stones of creativity...). In this light the latency in the creative mode is I think connected with indeterminism of chaotic systems which are unpredictable and irregular due to many unknown variables and when it comes into creative behavior, I guess what happens is a loop that a system performs through creativity"...

We were collectively thinking, investigating, creating a thought that kept coming together step by step. When mixing up the steps-I'm talking about Nicola's plea during the plenary meeting to keep track of the process- a feeling crept in (which I shared) of losing track of the formation of this thought. A feeling that the success of this type of event lies in this chaotic brainstorming -and this by all means is a formative process- that conversation allows especially when it is performed among people of varied backgrounds and personalities and not by focusing upon each person's particular interests.

I kept feeling that the thought that kept emerging and yet remaining elusive had to do with creativity as an exploration of selfhood. (We talked about mapping creativity as potentially dangerous overstepping which tends in our time to equate creativity to terrorism...?!)

But do let me expand a little on this"... 

Being creative, regardless of how good the end product really is, gives one the experience of being someone- sometimes put as expressing him/her self-in other words being creative is one of the strongest conscious experiences of self. Creativity implies being in direct connection, even control (?! ha,ha), of the 'object' and yet distinct from it; which by this separateness reiterates the model of selfhood.

In reality I think we create a construction, a phenomenal model of self, which continuously gets updated and is dynamic through self representational processes.

In this line of thought the questions that emerge in my mind are the following:

If the model of selfhood is dependent upon upbringing and culture what about the boundaries that differentiate the self; if they are elastic -since this model does change through education and all kinds of experience-, in our day and time, are we facing the emergence of net consciousness? Does this imply, through the awareness of interdependence, an expansion, a variant of the "I" concept?

Could a non biological model of self be generated or emerge? Or to upturn this, since we know that chemistry affects the idea of self, (medication) is the conscious experience of self through creativity a chemical situation, a variant of the normal waking mode? Can it be induced as taught? I believe it is a chemical situation (and to reposition myself about art being a cognitive process that can not be taught per se but arrives into understanding) perhaps what we could incorporate into art schools is not the linearity of following a troden path that leads to imitations but the skills of chaotic functioning which I feel are connected with meditative practice. 

To end this, although I feel that only scratches the surface of things that I'm trying to think it does not escape me that my reading of the event is a self referential loop, meaning that I read things according to the established system that I am!

What might save me, change me is that when one shares/exhibits such thoughts others may find them interesting and in the process of exchange things happen...

Aemilia Papaphilippou