Presentation on theme: "More Notes from The Creative Process, Brewster Ghiselin, ed. FYS 100 Creative Discovery in Digital Art Forms Spring 2007 Burg."— Presentation transcript:
More Notes from The Creative Process, Brewster Ghiselin, ed. FYS 100 Creative Discovery in Digital Art Forms Spring 2007 Burg
PP , Henri Poincaré The source of mathematical creation ought to be a subject of interest. Why are some people not good at math, when it is just a matter of the basic logic that all human’s possess? Many people can’t do original work in math, many can’t very well remember the math they learn. But the most surprising thing is that many can’t understand mathematical reasoning when it is explained to them.
PP. 23 How can we make mistakes in math when it is just an application of logic that we all possess? Because of lapses of memory. We move from premises to conclusions, but we remember our premises poorly when there is a long string of such premises and conclusions in a proof. Correctly keeping your whole train of thought in your mind is like remembering a long series of cards played when you’re playing card.
P. 24 But mathematical reasoning isn’t just memory. Poincaré has the whole scheme of a proof in his mind, so he doesn’t make a misstep along the way because there’s a scheme into the string of premises and conclusions must fall. If you have a really good memory, you can remember someone else’s mathematical reasoning and re-create it, but you have to have mathematical intuition to be the original creator of the reasoning. To be a mathematical creator, you can’t just combine things that are known. You have to have some intuition about which of these things is signficant enough to prove (since there are an infinite number of things that you could prove).
P. 25 A mathematician doesn’t consider all the possible combinations of premises to decide what is worth proving. He or she has an intuition that filters these out before the conscious process begins. Poincaré drank some coffee and then lay down to sleep. In a half-asleep, half- awake state he came up with a proof of a class of Fuchsian functions (which he previously believed could not exist).
P. 26 Poincaré describes to moments, both when he was traveling, when he came to a provable conclusion concerning the functions he was studying. These epiphanies came to him when he wasn’t consciously working on the problem. P. 27 His point is that after you’ve worked on a problem consciously for a while, and then you take a break from it to do something else, your unconscious mind takes over working on the problem. Then, later, when you come back to the problem, you may have a solution that they didn’t have before. The unconscious work has to be preceded and followed by conscious work.
P. 27 The conscious work may have seemed fruitless, but it was not. You’ve arranged the material, filtered out useless things. Sometimes the solutions you come up with in your conscious state may be incorrect, but often they are correct. P. 28 Theorems can be proved by a machine, but it’s difficult it not impossible to give the machine an intuition of what is worth proving.
P. 28 It isn’t that the unconscious (i.e., subliminal) reasoning is superior to the conscious (or vice versa). They play different roles. If the unconscious mind makes all possible combinations of premises and conclusions, why don’t all of these jump out to the conscious mind? Only the significant ones emerge to consciousness. It seems that the unconscious mind has some “emotional sensibility” with regard to mathematics – a sense of mathematical beauty.
P. 29 The useful combinations are the most beautiful to the human mind. They suggest a mathematical law. P. 30 Does the unconscious mind consider all the infinite combination of things known to be true (in a certain domain) in order to prove a new thing? No. The conscious mind has done a filtering and arranging process. Poincaré compares the conscious work of the mathematician to a process of choosing which atoms to put into motion in a space so that they might collide to produce a useful molecule.
P. 31 After the unconscious mind finds the right basic elements to bring together, the conscious mind must do the hard work of writing out the step-by-step process that brings about the rigorously-proven conclusion.
PP , Albert Einstein Einstein says that his reasoning is not done in words. After coming to a scientific conclusion, he has to find the words, sometimes with difficulty. PP , Mozart Mozart says his compositions come to him wholistically. He has the full composition in his mind. Then he just has to go to the work of writing it down. Mozart thinks that the qualities that make up his musical style are just a result of things born into him, like the size of his nose.
PP , Roger Sessions Music goes deeper than individual emotion. “It reproduces for us the most intimate essence, the tempo and and the energy, of our spiritual being; our tranquility and our restlessness, our animation and our discouragement, our vitality and our weakness – all, in fact, of the fine shades of dynamic variation of our inner life. It reproduces these far more directly and more specifically than is possible through any other medium of human communication.”
P. 37 Music can also derive its meaning from its association with other artistic elements – e.g., dance, film, or narrative (story- telling). But this is not essential. Music is a language and artistic form of its own. It doesn’t have to tell a story in a literal way in order to have meaning. The notes, composition, chords, harmonies, etc., speak in their own language without having to be associated with anything else.
P. 38 A composer begins with an idea, but it is a musical idea – a musical theme or motif. Inspiration is the impulse that sets the creation in motion. The vision of the whole is called the conception. It is an extension of the logic of the original inspiration. Inspiration is related to style. Conception is related to form.
P. 39 After inspiration and conception comes execution. Not all of the creative process is conscious. Art is an activity of our inner nature that transcends that nature, adding meaning and artistic form. P. 41, Harold Shapero You can’t function creatively in music until you’ve acquired some raw material through the music you’ve heard – your tonal memory.
P. 42 Some people think that if you study music too much, you compromise your ability to be creative and original. But Shapero doesn’t think this is so at all. Beethoven came up with the idea for a composition in a dream. This shows the influence of the unconscious in musical creation. P. 43 Melody is an essential part of musical syntax. If you study the possibilities of melodic phrasing, it will give greater “sharpness of contour” to the things your creative unconscious comes up with.
PP Shapero describes the value of studying some simple musical forms like the scherzo or minuet. A good exercise is to copy down the soprano lines of the melody and try to come up with an accompaniment. Daily practice and study creates a bridge between the conscious and creative unconscious. Shapiro compares daily practice in music to prayer and ritual in religion.
PP As you absorb the subtle techniques of the masters, you’ll discover your own artistic style and creativity. Shapiro describes the atonal music of Schonberg and Hindemith as conflicting with the natural functions of the human mind. If a musical system doesn’t lead to inspiration and creativity, then it is “unnatural.”
PP , Van Gogh Van Gogh didn’t work from memory. He worked from nature and live models. He reworked many of his paintings several times. He notes that he had “real intention and purpose.” PP , Christian Zervos (conversation with Picasso) Picasso says that he puts in his art the things that he likes – ordering it “according to his passions.” A picture is a sum of destructions. You start it, and then you take things out, deconstructing it. But the initial vision always remains. The picture is not wholly thought out beforehand. You have to be “mobile” in how you let it develop.
P. 50 Sometimes Picasso would lay his colors out beforehand. When the picture was done, all those colors would be there, but in different places than he originally imagined. If you think you’ve discovered something fine in a picture you’ve created, destroy it and create it again. There is no abstract art. It’s always based on something real.
P. 51 “The artist is the receptacle of emotions come from no matter where: from the earth, a piece of paper, a passing figure, a cobweb. This is why one must not discriminate between things.” “When we invented cubism, we had no intention of inventing anything.” “The painter passes through states of fullness and emptying. That is the whole secret of art.”
PP “The academic teaching about beauty is false.” “It is not what the artist does that counts, but what he is.” We shouldn’t try to explain paintings anymore than we try to explain why the song of a bird is beautiful. Many people paint “in the manner of” some other painter, but few of them are original. Picasso lives for art, but he thinks the way we institutionalize it in museums doesn’t respond to the real spirit in it.
PP , Yasuo Kuniyoshi When he when to Europe in the 1920’s, he was impressed with how artists painted from real life (outdoors). He started doing this, first creating the scene from reality, then going back to his studio to paint the rest from imagination, until he got the real feeling of it. He never paints over something – always scrapes it off and starts again. When you solve a painting problem (like painting dark colors in dark lighting), it becomes part of your artistic repertoire.
PP , Julian Levi Levi’s art is a process of integrating what he has learned with his “childlike simple perception.” Every artist has a favorite subject that he likes to depict. To Levi it is the sea, the shore, and the human face. He tried to get objective knowledge of things relating to the sea coast, so that he could put this into his painting (e.g., fishing, boats, etc.) Artists also have forms and designs that they prefer. This is part of their style. The task of the artist is to communicate “the emotional content or exaltation of life.”