Creativity, what is it?

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Wall painting in Hammarkullen, Göteborg (photo Ellington)

Ellington: Arletta, I wonder what is creativity?

(Läs inlägget på svenska)

Arletta: To me, it is when I come up with an idea that I never thought of before. Why do you ask?

Ellington: Because I’ve discovered that there are very different kinds of creativity.

Arletta: Yes, of course there are! In addition to the kind I just mentioned, there’s the creativity that takes place when two people really converse with each other and, together, they understand something new that none of them would have come to think of on their own.

Ellington: Right. And then there’s the inspiration to action in the face of danger.

Arletta: But listen! What I’m interested in is artistic creativity. One that makes you see beauty where others see nothing or even ugliness. And then there’s the ability that allows you to express what you see so that others can begin to see it too.

Ellington: But what then do you call the kind of creativity that makes you see how you can sell your visions of beauty?

Arletta: Isn’t that a kind of political knowledge? And social? I mean, feeling and expressing what’s beautiful is one thing. Feeling how you can sell it is another.

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Bengt Renander’s model of creativity (photo Ellington)

Ellington: This is exactly what I thought when I heard Bengt Renander speak about creativity at Västsvenska Filmdagarna last Friday. I’m not sure he cares about that difference.

Arletta: So what’s the difference, then?

Ellington: It’s the difference between artistic and entrepreneurial creativeness.

Arletta: Yes, I know. But how exactly are they different?

Ellington: I thought Gina Kim …

Arletta: You mean Gina Kim, the Virtual Reality film-maker?

Ellington: Yes. There were some things she said that made me see what artistic creativity is about. Like when she said she needed to let the viewer know that the film wasn’t shot in the room where the girl was actually murdered.

Arletta: How did this show her artistic creativity?

Ellington: She needed to be honest with the viewer that this was fiction and not wholly documentary. And at the same time it was important for her not to lose the viewer’s belief that this was real.

Arletta: I understand that she could solve this dilemma only with artistic creativity. But how did she do it?

Elliington: By moving from documentary to fairy-tale. She let the dying woman leave her body and go out in the streets in search of someone to be at her side when she died. And in this Virtual Reality art-work this someone is the viewer.

Arletta: Does she manage to do this? To make the viewer experience being there with the woman when she dies?

Ellington: She does!

Arletta: I understand that what artistic creativity does here is to show what dying was for this woman. And being actually there, VR-wise, creates empathy in the viewer. So tell me now what’s the difference between this and entrepreneurial creativity!

Ellington: Entrepreneurial creativity is when you look at the market and its players to see who will buy your work, you look at the time and money invested in your work to see what’s your price, and you look at the future of your genre and then you decide how to do business with your work.

Arletta: I can see that these are different kinds of creativity. Do we need to care about that difference?

Ellington: Do we?

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Art glass and its creator at VIDA museum, Öland (photo Ellington)








Otto von Münchow wrote a clarifying post about creativity on his blog In Flow (Oct 23, 2017)