This week’s lecture ‘Creativity: A Historical View’ (Ewing, 2012) travelled through time to explain key points in our ‘understanding’ of creativity (though as the lecturer noted, from a very eurocentric perspective). I found the Post-Industrial concept of creativity especially interesting, as I had never really looked (objectively) at my own perception and value of creativity. This age is characterised by creative industries and art being made and consumed as a sign of an individual’s identity; this is practically epitomised in my degree, a bachelors of Creative Industries majoring in Game Design. I see myself as creative, as a gamer and my study acts to commodify both my interest and my creativity. tl;dr I want to make money by creating games.
In this week’s reading ‘Cock-crow‘, Ekirch (2005) describes how the growth of artificial light acted to illuminate the once-mysterious night and led people to engage with the world and each other differently. Previously the night was a time to sleep and reflect on one’s thoughts and dreams. The inaccessibility of the world in darkness also gave rise to superstitions as a creative means of explaining the world. The social and cultural realities created by artificial light gave rise to new activities and encouraged evening entertainments, while also being a part of a movement away from superstition toward an appreciation of logical thought. The concept of cultural influence is summarised well in the Handbook of Creativity (Feldman, 1999), noting that;
“There are indeed certain instances in which social/cultural realities largely determine the possibility or lack of possibility for developing creativity in a given field.”
In the same way that artificial light changed the possibilities for creativity, so too has the existence of games shaped the possibilities for creating concepts, stories, worlds and even experiences. But perhaps it also acts to close off the opportunities for creation outside of the digital field. For example, my young cousin used to be a big fan of Lego; spending hours creating lego cities and vehicles, however now he has moved to the game Minecraft, a world in which you can create just about anything with digital blocks. The advancement in technology has opened up new avenues, while at the same time lessening creativity in another outlet (yet at least in this instance they are a similar form of creating).
What’s a kid to do these days; Lego house [Image 2] or an entire Minecraft Empire? [Image 3]
I find it interesting that the night was previously considered as mysterious and inaccessible, especially as I myself am quite a nocturnal person. I find that I am awake and most creative (developing good ideas, figuring out problems etc) late at night, and I honestly have difficulty imagining living my days by the hours of sun. In effect technology has acted to remove the concept of ‘night’ for me altogether, as I will often play games or chat with people across the other side of the world, commenting on what I did during my day while they say what they plan to do that day.
Perhaps tellingly, it’s 1:30am as I finish this and I have work tomorrow. I found this to be the best time to write, but I guess I should go to sleep (you win this round society!)
Wish me luck for this week’s early morning classes!
Ekirch, A. R. (2005). At day’s close: Night in times past (324-339). New York: Norton and Company
Ewing, A. (2012, August 10). A Historical Overview. Lecture presented in Creativity: Theory, History and Practice. Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.
Feldman, D. H. (1999). The development of creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of creativity (169-186). New York: Cambridge University Press.
[Image 1] More than Branding (2010). Creativity – Mr. Fish. Retrieved August 15, 2012, from http://morethanbranding.com/2010/11/09/thinking-outside-the-box/
[Image 2] Lego Maker (2010). Lego 5891 Apple Tree House Part 2 – Town House. Retrieved August 15, 2012, from http://lego-maker.blogspot.com.au/2010/01/lego-5891-apple-tree-house-part-2-town.html
[Image 3] Minecraft Forum (2011). My Asian City WIP. Retrieved August 15, 2012, from http://www.minecraftforum.net/topic/307116-my-ancient-city-wip-forever/page__st__200