Wednesday, October 5, 2011

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Sometimes I wonder if the creative process (particularly relating to the design process) is anything like one of the basic tenets of quantum theory: the idea that observation alters the outcome.

That is... well, I often feel as though there is a weight of expectation placed upon me as designer - that there are certain motions I am expected to go though (inspiration, generation of ideas, initial sketches, toiling and prototyping, resolved idea...) when developing something new.

Of course, these 'motions' are nothing but labels that have been identified and quantified from what is generally a very fluid, flexible process. Thankfully this has always been taught as such during my study at RMIT - though it was initially hard to break away from following these processes in a linear fashion as they were taught to me during high school.

Despite knowing all this stuff intellectually, it can be difficult to break away from the idea of what I 'should' be doing, or to stop thinking about what I am doing in terms of these processes. I know that if I were creating anything outside of a university environment that I would go through the same motions (pretty much), but perhaps with a little less self consciousness and (a lot) less angst.

The fact that I know my work and processes will be assessed leads me to approach my work differently, though I can't really tell you exactly how because I'm not to clear on that point myself. Am sure, however, that we all as students make the effort to make certain processes clearer, and pivotal decisions more obvious so that all our 'angsting' does not go unacknowledged.

So... to come back to my original point. The fact that work is being observed by assessors impacts the final outcome to some degree. I wonder if the same holds true for creativity itself. If all the processes comprising creative thought were recognised and labelled, would knowledge of them impact upon creative thinking? Would understanding these mechanisms in a more precise way make them more... well, mechanical?

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