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October 07, 2005

 

Creativity: More Than A Young Savant

MOUNTAIN

MOUNTAIN
Copyright 2005. All Rights Reserved.

The computer rendering by this talented young artist is a striking image, even taken at the manifest level, with the clear contrast between the starkly white snow juxtaposed by the powerfully distinct dark mountain arising from it. Attempting to extract the underlying meanings of the rendering, from a deconstructivist point of view, one is tempted to focus initially upon the white snow and the simplistic phrase "pure as the driven snow." However, thinking more in terms of interpenetrating dualities, white can be interpreted as anger and opposition, while the dark (or black) color of the mountain symbolizes constraint of emotion.

Taken together, from my own speculative view of this graphic rendering as a reflection of the young artist's strivings for identity, it seems to represent his efforts in one very important element of those strivings, specifically the attempt to achieve ever-stronger constraints or controls over the enactment or expression of his tendencies to be oppositional and/or angry. Of course, it should be made clear that my own interpretations of the underlying meanings may be quite different from the artist's own understanding of them.

Turning to more theoretical post-modern perspectives regarding the pre-requisites for higher levels such talents for creativity, one concept emphasizes our forgetfulness, a kind of amnesia about the details of our past. This propensity for amnesia is proposed to be the fountainhead of art and human creativity, and the recognition of this human forgefulness, a form of creative dissociation, is a sunburst of insight into our artistic creativity

Human amnesia, our propensity to forget particulars of the past - is nothing less than our freedom to create. For example, it is exactly because we cannot remember the details of the full moon of last Friday in color, size, texture, or intensity, that we are liberated to construct it. Whether out of of "cartilage and glass, wire and papier-mâché," ot oil paint and canvas, color and illusion, the creative process is called into play to fill this lacuna, and the artist is thus made legitimate.

The creative process is not simply a massing of data (if it were, empirical science would reign supreme in our art galleries and exibitions), but one rather of abstraction, a reductive process which imposes a shape to the material that embodies its meaning. This imposition of the design and will of the artist upon the stuff of reality, known as the creative art, is directly related to the loss of memory. Shape-giving would be impossible without the loss of particulars, the tyranny of infinite data. So much of the lauded sense of "perspective" and "vision" found in our artists and savants is dependent on creative amnesia, their ability to decipher patterns and discard dross. At base, to abstract, in its primary sense, means to concentrate on the essential qualities, to find the essence, and present it in an intelligible manner.

To the extent that the past is largely a creation of the present, given form from this point of vision, amnesia is the cause, the license, the will to create. Yes, memory is an associated process of creating the past. Amnesia is not anti-memory, nor does it necessarily "crumble the geometry of things and create a world of strange relationships and dissociations in space and time.” Ultimately, however, it is exactly the force of power of amnesia which liberates the mind and sensibilities, which allows us to create the geometry of things and find through the process of abstraction exactly those relationships in space and time where meaning resides.

In effect, our very process of thought is grounded in the manipulation of inputs, of grabbing on to this and throwing out that , of unconsciously and consciously forgetting the inconsequential. Much of the strength in the vision of creative amnesia, sometimes described as a creative form of dissociation, is its inherent life-enhancing quality. The process of abstraction and ideation is thoroughly an affirmation of the human condition, the power of human assertion in the face of infinite chaos; the search for salvation through the affirmation of self. Ultimately we become our own creation.

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