[-empyre-] [Spam:***** ] Re: Creativity as a social ontology

Patricia R. Zimmermann patty at ithaca.edu
Sun Aug 1 02:18:52 EST 2010

Thank you, Tim, for this clear-headed and incisive opening up of the current tensions between the instrumentalizing/rationalized/Habermasian/retro-activist seances summoning legacy articulations and the rhizomatic/fluid/collaborative/unfixed/malleable/layered spheres of collaborative engagements that open up political and artistic space rather than close it down.


Patricia R. Zimmermann, Ph.D.
Professor, Cinema, Photography and Media Arts
Roy H. Park School of Communications
Codirector, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies
953 Danby Road
Ithaca College
Ithaca, New York 14850 USA
Office: +1 (607) 274 3431
FAX: +1 (607) 274 7078
BLOG: http://www.ithaca.edu/fleff10/blogs/open_spaces/
patty at ithaca.edu

---- Original message ----
>Date: Sat, 31 Jul 2010 12:00:38 -0400
>From: empyre-bounces at gamera.cofa.unsw.edu.au (on behalf of Timothy Murray <tcm1 at cornell.edu>)
>Subject: [Spam:***** ] Re: [-empyre-] Creativity as a social ontology  
>To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at gamera.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
>Hi, everyone,
>I would like to thank Simon and all of you who have posted such 
>provocative thoughts on creativity throughout the month, and 
>apologize for my silence which resulted from pressures to keep up 
>with the daily chores of teaching at the School of Criticism and 
>Theory (SCT)  at Cornell throughout the summer, which is a six-week 
>intensive series of seminars, colloquia, and lectures offered to 
>advanced graduate students and "junior" faculty in the humanities and 
>whose participation tends to run about 60% US and 40% 
>"international" (the participants in my seminar on "digital 
>discourse: art, archive, theory" were from the US, China, Germany, 
>Spain, Turkey, Netherlands, Canada, England, and France).
>Interestingly there was a strange return among some of the faculty at 
>SCT (professors in literature, anthropology, political science, and 
>media) toward redundant models of authorial intentionality and the 
>imperative of "reasoned thinking" as the means most likely to result 
>in engaged political thinking and action.   As I was struggling 
>against these efforts in the public discussions of the School (it's 
>probably not surprising that the participants in my seminar were 
>equally resistant to favoring reasoning and dialogue aimed at 
>Habermasian consensus at the expensive of more flexible and creative 
>modes of expression and thinking that would incorporate performance, 
>artistic production, philosophy, fantasy,  and creative writing into 
>the mix), I couldn't help but welcome the many interventions that 
>appeared at the same time in my -empyre- mailbox.
>I've just been rereading the month's posts and can't help but reflect 
>on the importance of what Simon  calls "the  image of dynamic 
>rhizomic relational meshes, perhaps layered upon one another, as a 
>palimpsest, within which and out of which people become, that could 
>be considered an image of creativity. I would like to believe this is 
>something which will resist, even disprove, the reductive logic 
>necessary in any attempt to instrumentalise something."  First and 
>foremost, I want to suggest, is the explosive power of such now 
>traditional forms of shaped discourse, such as the listserv, the 
>seminar, and new media sites such as CTHEORY Multimedia, Turbulence, 
>Furtherfield, MUTE and fibreculture,  to build on combinations of 
>creating/thinking as ongoing palimpsests whose gaps, folds, and 
>intervals yield as much if not more creative energy and result than 
>comes from more rigid formulations of argumentative closure and 
>reasoned jockeying for position.
>This is one of the creative powers, I think, of our collaborative 
>efforts on -empyre- whose authorship is necessarily collective and 
>whose themes break out of their monthly enclosures (as helpful as 
>this month's has been very much thanks to Simon) as they move back 
>and forth in trace and dialogue across our online archive 
>It is also interesting to note how frequently our discussions in 
>-empyre- mirror those happening on related lists and sites, such as 
>iDC or Furtherfield, that extend across the network the "rhizomatic 
>relational meshes" encouraged by Simon.
>Regarding this week's discussion, here speaking as someone who 
>finances his curatorial endeavors (and the institutional hosting of 
>-empyre-)  by teaching in English and Comparative Literature 
>departments, I concur that there is every reason to lament the lack 
>of enthusiasn for these very same meshes within the institution of 
>literature and creative writing departments.   Just lack week I 
>listened to a faculty member at SCT lament that too much attention is 
>being given in the academy to the "entertainment" of creative 
>writing, performance, and the arts.   It is precisely this kind of 
>srtrange infantalization of our work as "entertainment" and the 
>misguided competition between literary criticism (in its highest 
>forms) and creative thinking that limits, I think, the extension of 
>electronic writing and new media presentation and thinking in the 
>academy.   Although we can all cite strong pockets of these 
>activities, they tend not to have extended very far into the academy, 
>which, I think, is seduced perhaps even more today by the fiction of 
>the "author function" even, and perhaps most discouragingly, within 
>the academic ranks of creative writing.   I will  welcome further 
>reflection on these tensions in the fall when we return from an 
>August break on -empyre
>So thanks ever so much, Simon, on behalf of me and Renate (who also 
>was overwhelmed teaching this month) for providing us with a platform 
>for thinking creative practice and activism anew.
>Timothy Murray
>Director, Society for the Humanities
>Curator, The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell Library
>Professor of Comparative Literature and English
>A. D. White House
>27 East Avenue
>Cornell University
>Ithaca, New York 14853
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au

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