Creativity as Apophatic

For the last couple of days, I was in Edinburgh taking part in Time Without Time. It was a great event and I’ll probably blog more about it next week. The second day was very different from the usual academic events I go to. This picture probably conveys how this is so:

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 10.55.12

The experience left me thinking about ‘creativity’ in the broadest sense. These are the two thoughts I’m playing with:

  1. Creativity can usefully be understood as incorporating an apophatic dimension: involving “removing obstacles (mainly thinking, decision-making processes) which prevent the spontaneous emergence” of novelty.
  2. Creativity relies on non-linearity even if the process of creation itself might incorporate some linear elements.

With the exception of the Digital Sociology conference in New York last month, I can’t remember ever having come away from an event so full of ideas. Hence my desire to understand why spending the day (literally) playing has had this effect.

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