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i'm sure art is infectious, but what am i spreading?

all the possibilities for innuendo aside, i'm in a bit of a quandry about a little project/programme that i want to get started and i think i need the collective wisdom (or out-and-out sledging) of the blogosphere for guidance. [and who said religion was dead!].

in securing the spinach artist-in-residence-of-sorts, i realised that i am really into the idea of introducing the active process of creating as a stimulant and revitalising agent into the workplace. i know that when i've got artists (writers, actors, musicians, etc) around my productivity goes up. i feel energised, hepped up, inspired to do things, make a difference or get hip with it man. but, i'm an artist. that's the kind of environment i thrive in.

but if i worked in telecommunications, insurance, investment banking, would i feel also feel inspired by an artist? i'm doing some scouting about at the moment, working on ways that i might be able to introduce an aritst-in-residence-of-sorts into other workplaces. ones which aren't as obviously creative (or are perhaps are as dead as doornails) and which would really benefit from having an inspired presence or energy in the place - a sort of vaccination for the organisation's immune system.*

however, i was born creative. i've always inhaled anything that is remotely inspiring and interesting and so i am probably slightly biased in my outlook. is art and the process of creativity actually something worthwhile to have about the place, or do i have my head in the clouds? would it really be inspiring to have an artist at the end of the hall, constantly creating cool pieces that you could have on your desk in your little cubicle, or would it be the equivalent of that toner recycling box or motorised pencil sharpener: something which should probably make a difference, but in reality, is much easier to ignore.

is creative action as infectious as i believe it is?

*thanks to john griffiths for the analogy



At 01 July, 2007 18:09, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there's a case for saying that all organisations and people are creative. It's just that they apply their creativity in different ways and to different degrees.

'Art' often means free and unfettered creativity (although I guess artists work to a brief so there is nothing cut and dried about that definition). But I do think there are themes which artists and highly creatively oriented people are attracted to: freedom of expression, discovery, exploration.

You ask 'would it really be inspiring to have an artist at the end of the hall?' For me, the answer would definitely be a resounding 'yes' although I can see how there could be risks for the organisation (employees get distracted from their work) and even for the individual (a person who doesn't perceive themselves as creatively inclined might find it quite threatening to be constantly confronted by raw creative energy).

In essence, I guess what I'm saying is that what inspires people is varied.

One thing that could help you to filter down which organisations you want to approach about artist-in-residency is if you have a defined expression of what your art is about. That way you can see if you think there's a match between the themes that you explore artistically and the work of the organisation. Also, it gives you an angle for approaching them. It's not just random art stimulus that you're producing at the end of the hall, it's art which is intended to provoke x-x-x response.

Another thought is to be more about inclusive creativity. What if the artist at the end of the hall was facilitating creativity sessions? Now that could be interesting...

I'm staying tuned for developments as you blog 'em.

At 01 July, 2007 18:11, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS Infectious creativity is a really interesting proposition.

At 01 July, 2007 21:08, Blogger moi said...

Creativity inspires people and makes them think about things more objectively surely?

Once you experience art, it can trigger anything - memories, inspiration, fear, love, belief..the list goes on.

It can touch you in places you don't expect.

I will never forget the first time I saw Francis Bacon's triptych, one of Damien Hirst's spin paintings or Jake and Dinos Chapman's 'Hell'.

But that's just me. Like you Lauren I love art and love experiencing it. What keeps you going is that other people enjoy it as well.

At 02 July, 2007 08:27, Blogger Will said...

"What I'm saying is that what inspires people is varied."

Emily nails it, in my view - I rather like the idea of having an artist in residence, but whether it would be received as widely (or as well) remains to be seen.

I you have a real quandry - do you approach these organisations and say 'I want to do X', or do you come at it as more of a collaborative process?

I'd lean more towards a collaborative approach to the sorts of organisations John suggested (those who are big/likely to be receptive), if only to build up a portfolio of sorts. Then you have asomething to point to if pushed for real life examples by other, less receptive places - I would imagine these lot will love data which'll prove that your time in residence will improve things in some way, either through quant or qual.

At 02 July, 2007 23:10, Blogger lauren said...

thanks guys for your chunky feedback! i've taken a couple of days to let it filter and sink in.

emily - you're right about everyone being creative. i believe that. and i do think artists have a freedom, depth or even intensity to their creativity, which makes them a dynamic element in any workplace (or home - just ask my ex-flatmates).

and what you said about focusing on organisations which resonate with the artwork i do - good reminder. i do artwork that mostly centres around structures, rhythms, order, etc, so the mere fact of working in an organisation which has quite obvious architectural order is exciting enough. but to add to that a leaning towards organisations that look at similar things, you're right.

and i'm absolutely not interested in leading collective creative workshops. ha! not because i don't think it's worthwhile, because i absolutely do. but because it's not something i'm especially good at, in this instance and i'm more interested in the idea of 'environmental' creative stimulus, rather than interactive creative stimulus. if that makes sense.

claire, i'm so like you - i think art makes people think about things more objectively - it widens your perspective about a range of things. actually, i'm interested in what creative people's first artistic/creative memory is - when was your first memory of seeing a painting, or going to a gallery, or hearing a song, etc. i should do a podcast with you about it! (i'm into podcasts at the moment)

and will - thank you for that reminder about it being a collaborative process. i think the early stages of who i'm talking to and some of the ideas i'm working on have that in mind, but it's always a good reminder. thanks. and thanks a fucking bunch for the reminder about data. i hate data when it comes to qualifying art, because often the experience is non-verbal and certainly inarticulated. but i take your point. ta.

At 03 July, 2007 20:44, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Lauren.

I'm super-excited about your upcoming residency in our offices!

In answer to your question, you can probably guess that I really believe that a great many organisations could benefit from the kind of creative stimulation that an artist in residence or some such could provide. I believe that that it could create a really positive kind of distraction and provocation especially in organisations that come across as more rigid.

The problem is that these kinds of organisations can be harder to convince on the potential benefits for various reasons.

At 03 July, 2007 23:47, Blogger lauren said...

hi helen - i'm super-excited as well.. and thanks for your thoughts on the matter too. it's the 'convincing' bit that i'm hopefully working on and i think that idea of 'coming across as rigid' is a valid point. organisations can't possibly be rigid - they're a swirling organism of people. but they can come across so, because of rigid thinking or attitudes and that's what i'm trying to change, in a small way, without undermining good, proper, necessary structure and organisation.


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