PANEL 6B: (DIS)ORDER AND CREATIVITY (CHAIR: JOSIANNE MAMO)
Join us tomorrow at 14.50-16.10 at 4 University Gardens, Room 202
ROBERT W. JONES – DISCIPLINE: NARRATIVE ORDER AS CREATIVE THERAPY
Language is an unnatural and restrictive medium of communication. As V. N. Voloshinov (1924) observes, to face the blank page is an extremely daunting experience for the writer. ‘When we are in lively conversation’, Voloshinov notes, ‘we are totally unaware of the severe restrictions that language imposes on us’. Yet – disputable linguistic oblivion notwithstanding – to face the blank page is to be forced to order one’s collected thoughts, demonstrating mastery over them, and accomplishment in navigating and innovating language and form.
Discussions of writing as a therapeutic tool focus around four key concepts: communication, catharsis, control, and cyclical break (Kinman, 1993). It is the third which we shall explore most thoroughly, as we examine the ability to order one’s thoughts on the printed page as internal regulation. As Jerome Bruner (1998) argued, human explanation of fact, by nature, creates narrative. We have to establish a sense of control over perceived events in order to explain them. The fact in question is prioritised in a narrative hierarchy, preceding and subsequent events are naturally reviewed to establish order and relativise the case in point. Explanation, therefore, is derived from narrative connection and prioritisation, order is born from chaos in order to streamline the psychical response.
The highly contrasting poetry of T. S. Eliot and Lyn Hejinian serve as diverse case studies in an exploration of narrative order. Eliot’s authoritarian tenet of the Objective Correlative, coupled with his evident discomfort with the human landscape of wartime and postwar London, leads to a promising discussion of his writing as a therapeutic construction. Conversely, Lyn Hejinian rejects the restrictions of narrative control in order to democratise the importance of each event. Yet she herself may be seen as imposing a form of control, via resistance. Either way we shall explore how the blank page is overcome, and the reverberation of that conquest on the creator’s psyche.
INÊS COELHO – BORROWING METHODS: WHAT MIGHT CREATIVE PRACTITIONERS IN VISUAL ARTS AND DANCE LEARN FROM EACH OTHER?
Practitioners in different fields adopt disparate tools to produce work. Artists draw, photograph, walk, and use chance processes, amongst other methods. Dancers and choreographers have also drawn, used chance, and walked as well. Considering methods as essential tools to foster creativity, this talk addresses how artists in different fields may learn from each other’s processes of making.
Focusing specifically in installation artists and choreographers, how might choreographic strategies be applied in visual arts? In the last five years, dance forms have taken over visual arts venues, in a tendency to show dance within exhibition settings (for instance, Tino Sehgal at Tate Modern and Documenta’13, Siobbhan Davies at ICA, and Alexandra Pirici at Venice Biennale). My research enquires how this tendency towards the choreographic impacts methodologies in visual arts, and how it may evolve in the next few years.
Wayne McGregor sees choreography as a “process of physical thinking” W. McGregor, 2012) that operates in the mind and the body, developed through a collaborative cognitive process. Jonathan Burrows considers choreography as a process of choice and of arranging objects approaches emphasize the methodological aspect of the term, and share principles with visual arts processes. This talk considers a translation of choreography as a method for the visual arts, as well as an understanding of its inherent implications in contemporary artistic practice.
MARSHALL MOORE – SYNCRETI(NI)ZING THE SUPERNATURAL: THE MYTHOLOGY OF CREATIVE CONVERGENCE
In the context of a creative work, how does one reconcile mythologies which may share certain components but which for linguistic, cultural, or historical reasons exist as two separate entities? Ghost stories have been the focus of my research: specifically, ghosts in the Chinese and Western (primarily American) traditions. In the Chinese literary context, ghosts are a given, an almost-ubiquitous motif. This may be an extension of the pervasive belief in and acceptance of ghosts in the culture, influenced by traditional Chinese views on the nature of the soul. In contrast, in many Western cultures, ghosts are seen more as aberrations, which may play a part in the fact that ghost stories occupy a unique literary space and are generally expected to conform to a certain set of rules. Although these statements risk gross oversimplification, they are relevant for a creative writer who needs a starting point in order to approach the work; in my case, I have needed to create a larger mythology in which both types of ghost stories can exist in the novel I am writing — ideally, without causing a reader familiar with both literary traditions to experience a disruption in his or her suspended disbelief via the distraction of cognitive dissonance. By looking not only at ghost stories from both traditions but also at studies of syncretic religion, I will attempt to show that it is possible to construct an ontological framework that preserves the respective integrities of two mythologies that are at best only partially convergent