Emergent creativity: interrogating imagination with Japanese contemporary artists
Iza Kavedzija (University of Exeter)
Paper short abstract:
Based on ethnographic fieldwork with contemporary Japanese artists working in a variety of genres, this paper explores the tropes they invoked to describe their work. Imagination here is not seen as an image, visualisation of what is to be made, but an emergent property of the process of creation.
Paper long abstract:
Images of movement were often invoked by young Japanese contemporary artists when reflecting on their own creative practices. Similarly, when asked to describe their own lives they frequently compared it with a path, albeit a much less clearly delineated one than that which lies ahead of practitioners of the traditional Japanese arts. On this path, they suggested, one has to move without a clear idea of a goal. Based on ethnographic fieldwork with artists involved in improvised music and dance, painting, and multimedia installations, this paper explores the tropes and images they invoked to describe their work and the ways in which it came into being. In lieu of a single, preformed mental image or plan, their descriptions of the creative process emphasised the processual knowledge involved in the act of creation, and in particular the importance of movement of the body. In this way they effectively drew attention to the emergent nature, not only of their work, but of their own evolving understanding of questions they had not consciously posed. Imagination is here not a precondition for making an artwork, but itself an emergent property of the process of creation.
Creative horizons: steps towards an ethnography of imagination