We have now completed our eighth week of Creativity classes, and find ourselves with a brief break; so before discussing the last class I have the time to digress for a moment to the previous weeks (don’t worry, it’s relevant). In week two of CCA1103 we were taken upon a tour of some of the past concepts of creativity, and how they have changed – for the most part – over time from such perspectives as the ‘divine creation’ of medieval imagination, and the presumed prerequisite of genius from the renaissance imagination (Ewing, 2012).
Our third week involved the readings on Mednick’s theory of creativity which outlined the view that people are oft considered creative when they have a wider range of mental associations at hand, as they can then draw upon and integrate them into their work (Davis, 2004). The guest lecturer for that week, John Harman mirrored these thoughts with his recommendation of experiencing and reading many things (Harman, 2012). Moving forward to week seven, the benefits of having a deep well of inspiration to draw upon was once again referred to, as guest lecturer Paul Dennis spoke of his colourful scrapbooks and numerous collections he keeps to help him create (Dennis, 2012).
At last we flash forward to this week’s class, as our tutor Vanessa introduces us to a video in the “Everything is a Remix” series by Kirby Ferguson (Barnett, 2012). The video opens with a quick rebuke of the past concepts of creativity, with Ferguson describing views like that of ‘divine creation’ as a “fog of myths” masking true creativity; instead he argues that creativity is a process which stems from three basic elements; copy, transform, and combine (Ferguson, 2011). It is at this moment that many of the words of past classes come crashing to a clear, creative point:
The more you know, experience and collect, the more you
have to draw upon to copy, transform and combine.
In the readings for this week the sentiment arises once again, as we look at the process of analogical thinking. Just as our previous guest-lecturers have imposed the importance of having a wide range of ‘inspiration’ to draw from, analogical thinking epitomizes this as it is a process that draws inspiration from other fields. This process is the act of transposing the methods, concepts and even perspectives of one domain to solve an issue in another (Davis, 2004). This creative means of problem-solving takes from one domain and copies, transforms or combines systems before applying them to a different domain.
An example of this easily found in any house is that of the microwave. During World War II the original form of the radar was transformed, by using smaller (micro) waves which were more accurate in locating enemies planes. When it was realised that these waves could be used to heat food (having stood in front of the waves with a chocolate bar in-pocket), the technology was applied to a new domain, and transformed into the ‘microwave oven’ (History, n.d.). If you’re interested in hearing about it a bit more, the History channel have a video online about it as part of their “Inventions of War” series.
Another process of creating which we discussed from the readings is that of synectics, whereby two existing creations are combined to form something new with the benefits of both entities (Barnett, 2012). The example given by our tutor Vanessa was that of a baby’s bottle, which merged the form of a cup and a teat in order to the relief of parents everywhere. This is yet again another form of creation which benefits from an expansive knowledge-library and employs the elements as discussed by Ferguson.
The ‘Everything is a Remix’ series acts to bring together many of the aspects we have discussed thus far. As a final note for this week’s entry, I find it especially interesting to consider the fact that these very blogs are remixes! To create them we use the information from our lectures, tutorials, readings and life in general, which we then either copy, transform or combine and then BAM! Creativity(blog)!
I’ll leave you with the ‘Four Chord Song’ by the Axis of Awesome. It’s part remix, part remix reflection, and as their name suggestions, it’s pretty awesome.
Barnett, V. (2012, September). Analogical Thinking. Tutorial conducted from Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.
Davis, G. A. (2004). Definitions and Theories. Creativity is forever. (5th Ed.). USA: Kendell/Hunt.
Dennis, P. (2012, September 14). Design Principles. Guest lecture presented in Creativity: Theory, History and Practice. Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.
Ewing, A. (2012, August 10). A Historical Overview. Lecture presented in Creativity: Theory, History and Practice. Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.
Ferguson, K. (2011, June 22). Everything is a Remix Part 3 [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq5D43qAsVg&feature=fvwrel
Harman, J. (2012, August 17). Personal Creative Process. Guest Lecture presented in Creativity: Theory, History and Practice. Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.
History. (n.d.). Inventions of War: Radars [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.history.com/shows/modern-marvels/videos/inventions-of-war-radar
Random804. (2009, December 10). Axis of Awesome – 4 Chord Song [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq5D43qAsVg&feature=fvwrel
[Image 1] Touched by His Noodly Appendage [Digital Image]. (2009.). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster
[Image 2] Ferguson, K. (2011). The basic elements of creativity [Screen Capture].Retrieved from http://pauldennisdesign.com.au/page33/page33.html
[Image 3] 1950s Microwave Oven [Photograph]. (2009). Retrieved from http://pauldennisdesign.com.au/page33/page33.html