Associate Artists Creative Day: no rules, no objectives. An opportunity to play, explore materials, ideas, and inter-relationships. One group worked in the space (the room was our canvas), while the other group chatted in a nearby cafe, and then we swapped, and then swapped again. As our first activity together as a collective it was really interesting to see how the day unfolded, tentative at first, growing in confidence, and then like the sun breaking through clouds: a break from all seriousness.
We began by adding things – responding the the space and materials we had gathered.
For three rounds, every idea was included and respectfully left in place. We responded to what others had added to the space and kept going until the room was full of clutter and it was impossible to ignore the fact that we needed to start being reductive.
In phase four we started making decisions about what ideas to keep, and what needed to be destroyed, altered, interfered with. What it was we wanted to develop, and what needed to change to give it space to breathe. Necessarily this meant ‘tampering’ with other peoples ideas – or rather letting go of the idea of ‘tampering’ and have a conversation – not through words, but through the process of making.
The end of the day was drawing near and so we entered the final phase.
The away group in the cafe was due to return and it was time for some kind of finale.
My group had been collecting sounds – the scrape of buttons as we walked across them on the floor and tearing paper, etc. These were turned into an audio that we played in a loop, we dimmed the lights and arranged ourselves around the room – masked – so that we might get a reaction from our fellow artists on their return.
I observed: the creative process is reductive as well as accumulative, it’s important to take things away as well as add. Collective creativity is a conversation that takes place in the world of tangible actions (the world of doing not thinking).
This, our first ‘creative jam’ took place in December 2013 and has been instrumental in sowing the seed for our collaborative approach.