4th Global Conference
Wednesday 7th July 2010 – Friday 9th July 2010
Mansfield College, Oxford
Towards an Understanding of Creative Block
University of Melbourne, Australia
Psychologists have studied the personalities and processes of artists in order to understand creativity. I am researching creativity from a different perspective: that of a practising visual artist. I am a PhD candidate at The University of Melbourne, Australia. My research is cross-disciplinary between the Victorian College of the Arts and Music and the School of Behavioural Science. I am exploring the changes in thinking that artists experience while working creatively. My hypothesis is that if we understand our thought processes while we are working creatively, we will manage creative block more effectively.
There is a variation in the way artists think at different stages of creative process. I have interviewed 50 artists and most of them are aware of changes in thinking while working creatively and have experienced creative block. Researchers believe that ideas emerge at a lower level of arousal, when access to unconscious or intuitive thought processes can occur. For these ideas to be developed further, conscious or analytical thought is necessary. When the interaction between these two ways of thinking is interrupted, creative block may occur.
Recent ‘Dual process theory’ has presented a new model of thought, which examines the interaction between intuitive and analytical processes. This view is particularly relevant in our largely analytical culture. Theoreticians believe that we need to develop a greater awareness of our intuitive and analytical thought processes. When this is recognized we will be able to address the creative blocks that occur in our lives more effectively.
My short video, ‘Cosmos’ will be shown, giving evidence of the management of the creative blocks I have experienced in its making.
Visual Credibility and Poetic Faith: The Technical and Fictional Literacies of You Suck at Photoshop
University of Minnesota Duluth, USA
“Visual literacy” is not a stable concept, but a transitional, “additive formulation”—what media scholar Janet Murray calls a medium or cultural category still at an “early stage of development…, depending on formats derived from earlier technologies instead of exploiting its own expressive power” (67). At the present time, then, “visual literacy” represents more a cultural desire among scholars and teachers than a canonical set of practices: an unsolved—perhaps irresolvable—contraction between the popular, common-sense appeal of the “visual” and more esoteric, academic/literary forms of authority invoked in the notion of “literacy.”
This presentation will interrogate the cultural and political tensions, as well as the emergent alliances, being expressed in recent, popular work in visual New Media. I will focus specifically on the popular, online series of parody software tutorials, You Suck at Photoshop—taught by the fictitious Donny Holye, and written/performed by advertising executives Troy Hitch and Matt Bledsoe. While providing legitimate, vocational training in the use of Photoshop’s array of tools and filters for achieving visual credibility, the twenty-two, five-minute episodes of You Suck at Photoshop also present—within the format of a home-made, YouTube-style software tutorial—the tragicomic story of Donny’s struggle against the world beyond control of his mouse, a fiction that compels what Coleridge called the “willing suspension of disbelief…, which constitutes poetic faith.” I will also consider the cultural implications of Big Fat University, a parody of online colleges that serves as a portal for You Suck at Photoshop and other educational/literary satires. Big Fat University reveals the extent to which Hitch and Bledsoe play the business and literary rationales for their work against one another, attempting to carve out an ironic niche for themselves between technocratic rationality and poetic faith—tensions that epitomize, I argue, cultural desire expressed in “visual literacy.”
Predication in Actu and in Potentia: Probing into its Aesthetics
Department of English and American Studies , Faculty of Foreign Languages, University of Shkoder “Luigj Gurakuqi”
Taking into account the specificity of the medium and the assimilation of cognitive models, the very experience of reading/enjoying digital poetry is affected. Such is the case for example with Robert Kendall’s poem entitled “Faith” (cf. ELO, vol.1, 2006). In this kinetic poem, the independent movement of the colored lexical units along the white screen is seminal, because it helps to establish and expand the text. Its expansion, especially, takes place in the form of a rhetorical release – most of the predicates are cut apart, most of the copulas are semantically displaced, and the lines and sentences constantly fragmented, in the end favoring the isolation of the single word. Grammatical transfers take place thus producing the counter-effect of the traditional ‘single transcendental principle’. It announces an inconsistency between the destabilizing effects of the rhetoric as it is presupposed by the title of the poem, “Faith,” and the metaphorical compromise that the reader has to deal with in going through the poem.
In this poem, the sentences care for a gravitational field which can be monitored as they marshal one another. At the end, however, they seem to violate the materiality of the language itself and adopt specific poetical postures. As the title of the poem falls down the page, the reader/viewer understands that there is a fundamental change in tone from the assertion of transcendence in the beginning of the poem to the acknowledgement of negation and hence absence and death at the end.
This piece impugns not only grammatical structures, but also thought processes and above all discursive and visual logic. Aristotelian logic loses its valence and the linear progression of the text is grounded in ambiguity. Within this context, it is necessary to deliberate the attendance of nouns, which achieve multidimensional connotations and subsist in an imperfect state. The nouns as objects seem to deconstruct their ‘compounded properties’ and thus can be ‘etymologized’ as prior elements. They in turn subsist to the whole system of predication, which is activated, not only through syntactical, but above all through visual asymmetry. The linguistic and hierarchical are substituted by ‘fleeting images’ and prompt interventions. Thus the work dissolves in assorted levels and yet survives within novel structures.
Attention to the aesthetic dimension of this and other texts such as Mary Flanagan’s “[the house],” Brian Kim Stefan’s “The Dreamlife of Letters,” etc, helps to reflect on the way these writers present their experiences through a sensory-perceptual aesthetics that is grounded on the conviction that in the digital environment consciousness is essential to the creative process. This paper thus intends to argue that in the digital environment cognitive models and processes permeate electronic poetry and that these models abide to a kind of aesthetics that is consistent with contemporary cognitive research.