Friday, 24 June 2016

Human Jenga? and Other Questions

The Creative Process can be an tumultuous adventure peppered with so many contradictions. Moments of intense anxiety and stress find themselves in juxtaposition with periods of time where everything is plain-sailing and going your way. It can be a drawn-out, lengthy affair at points and then, all of a sudden, you find yourself moving from A-B quicker than you can say 'create'. Having an idea is one thing but what you do next to realise the vision is another. Every creative has their way of doing things and over time this evolves and morphs into something very different as we get to grips with what helps us get the juices flowing and what causes a draught. Looking to others for inspiration is a given and although we may not always seek out their advice and opinions (quite often you actively avoid it!), what they do, say, wear, think, produce can open up a world of creative possibilities or simply provide that tiny jigsaw piece that was missing. 

In my line of work, the creative process is always a journey that I embark on with others. Even when I'm alone, at home barefoot in my spare room attempting to choreograph the opening number to a show on a rainy Tuesday morning, I'm working with others. I have the dancers in mind-How do they move? What will they find challenging? What will excite them? Then there's the audience- What do they want to see? What do they need to see? Will they understand the story better through the choreography? Not forgetting other choreographers-What did they do with this number? What didn't they do that I could? And so, I start to make something that speaks to all of these people that I may have never even met before and might never and I think this is true for many creatives. Inspiration has to come from somewhere, something or someone- a painting, a song, a film, your granny's net curtains....whatever it may be, we all look outwardly at the world around us in the hope of igniting something inside. 

On the way back to my car today I came across this awesome piece of street art on the side of a Strathclyde University building. My initial reaction was 'oh that's cool' and I liked it enough to photograph it. But as I headed up the hill, I started to think of the artist's inspiration and the reasons why it was chosen for that particular wall. Art is meant to get you thinking and that's exactly what it did. Kudos to the artist for nailing that one! Looking at those 6 dudes in their black shorts and gym shoes, I started to wonder who in the scenario instigated this human jenga-like tableau.

The Dude Far Left: Did he do a handstand, begin to fall and the guy now supporting him ran in to catch his feet then decided to place them on his shoulders, thus starting off the entire piece? Et voila! A cool pose and a crisis averted. Or, did he fully intend to create this pose, instructing the other guy where to be exactly in order to acheive his vision. Does it matter how it happened? Is it not enough to say that this was the result? 

The Dude Standing, Facing Left: Was he the Hero as discussed above or was he the initial mastermind behind this set up? Is he afraid of heights or being upside down and so chose to be the base guy? His pose is pretty dull in comparison to the others but if we took him out of the equation, what would happen? 

The Dude Planking, Facing Left: Was it him that kicked it all off? Without the others he'd be doing his thing on the ground which certainly wouldn't be as impressive. But then again, he is arguably what makes this more interesting to look at, so is he the key to it's success? 

The Dude Planking, Facing Right: He's at the top, so maybe this was all his idea being the bravest one in the group. Again, if you took him out of the picture it would still be a spectacle but do you agree, he almost adds a hint of danger and excitement to it all?

The Dude Standing, Facing Right; Was this where it all began? Like his counterpart, standing on the other side,  he may have been the initiating piece of the puzzle from where everyone then took inspiration. We can all agree that without him, the picture would look very different. Just because his role wouldn't be deemed the most exciting one, does it mean we can't consider him as valuable?

The Dude Far Right: Whether he is a confident gymnast or someone being supported in a position he cannot hold himself, this guy is adding to the interest of it all. He's upside down for a start (what's not to like?!) and he's creating an element of symmetry to the picture (with his hand standing counterpart) which we can all appreciate. 

Was this six-man, Cirque Du Soleil set-up the goal or was it created out of sheer mishap? Was it a collaborative project involving the ideas of all six involved or was their one choreographer calling the shots? If it were the latter, is he in the picture or is there a 7th member of the group who was overseeing the entire thing from humble beginnings to it's final flourish? What we can't deny is that without those 6 bodies (aside from the number of brains that may or may not have been involved) this would have remained an idea and not a reality.  Did the artist witness this in real life or did he or she draw inspiration from other stimuli, using university life and Strathclyde's motto,  'The Place of Useful Learning' as a catalyst to creating the final artwork? 

It is likely we'll never know the answers to all these queries but do we need to? Is it not enough, just to be asking questions that may inspire us to create something for ourselves? The creativity that could go into making that six man tower isn't tangible or measurable and that's what makes the creative process a place of awesome contradictions and stifling wonderment. It's what makes the thing you create....literally! A long and winding road at times, it is never one which you travel creatives aren't solo travellers. Sometime we need to call on some dudes in short shorts and plimsoles to realise our dreams. 

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