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Creation 24

An Experiment in Disciplined Creativity

24 hours to Conceive & Produce an Idea & Expose it to Memes

 @ the Wonderbox, in the Imperial City

Version 1.0 • First Draft

What is Creation24?

C24 is an informal experiment about collective creativity. What happens when people of different backgrounds agree to gather in one place to spend a short time together being creative? What kinds of ideas sprout when different imaginations are exposed to one another? What affect can the ideas have on one another?

C24 is an opportunity for artists and thinkers and craftspeople to exit their virtual creative habitats as well as to abandon the constraints of family and gossip and work routines while creating or exploring their imaginations in the company of their peers. The idea was hatched partly from conversations about the dominance of the Internet in people’s intellectual lives, and partly from the fact that we participate communally in the arts usually by attending an exhibition or a show. We rarely get the opportunity to go somewhere with other creative people to make something. But collective participation was the norm when art began, and much of our artistic heritage was formed in groups of people learning to travel and scavenge and think together. Music, painting, and storytelling began as the first social rituals, and were followed by the artistic crafts in collective enterprises. We raised barns for newcomers as a community activity; the cave paintings around the Pyrenees were created by many hands simultaneously. But the majority of the people reading this document will spend their creative moments alone, or interacting virtually on keypads and screens. We come together to see a finished product, but how often do we see artistic products or intellectual properties in their incipient moments? How often do we produce a canvas of imaginative diversity in which the participation is the show?

Who will participate?

C24 is an informal experiment. Its structures are arbitrary and not inclusive. The object is to bring together individuals of established commitment to their artistic or intellectual disciplines. We intend to invite people who have spent at least 10,000 hours working on their art or craft, or people whom we think will exceed this amount of time in the future. The disciplines of the attendees will be as varied as possible: a chess player, a poet, a painter, a tailor, a technologist, a journalist, a photographer, a teacher, etc. The event will be attended by people of myriad talents and interests, with the diversity of disciplines intended to produce the widest array of thinking and inspiration on everyone in the building.

C24 is an informal experiment. Its structures are arbitrary and not inclusive. The object is to bring together individuals of established commitment to their artistic or intellectual disciplines. We intend to invite people who have spent at least 10,000 hours working on their art or craft, or people whom we think will exceed this amount of time in the future. The disciplines of the attendees will be as varied as possible: a chess player, a poet, a painter, a tailor, a technologist, a journalist, a photographer, a teacher, etc. The event will be attended by people of myriad talents and interests, with the diversity of disciplines intended to produce the widest array of thinking and inspiration on everyone in the building.

Why bring people to a central location?

We all go to galleries and see the finished products of an artist or group of artists. Sometimes curators provide glimpses of an artist’s method by providing a context to the pieces with historical documentation or even real-time display of a piece being produced. But even installation pieces or performances that seem spontaneous are usually carefully crafted, in private, by the artist or performer. How often do we get to gather in a single place to answer the challenge of creating something on the spot? What happens to songs, or sculptures, or stories, or creative impulses when they are created in a collective crucible? What happens to an idea when it is born among other ideas, and not sequestered into a studio or hard drive to be polished and perfected by its creator without outside influence?

By bringing a diversity of thought and experience and creativity into a single location, we might find it impossible to have or nurture an idea or impulse. Or, we might find that an idea or an impulse might flourish in our imaginations and on our tongues as we are rained upon by other ideas and spontaneous creations. C24 is a modest experiment that hopes to extend the collaborative spirit across disciplines and purposes. We know musicians gather to write songs often, and that teams of writers produce brilliant (or lousy) TV programming. We know poets compete together, and that painters will walk half a day into the countryside to share a landscape or scene with other painters. But how often do these disciplines cross? What happens when the physicist talks to the dancer, or the metallurgist to the poet, or the technologist to the actor? C24 is an attempt to spark immediate mutations in the style or process of creating among its attendees, with the hope that a single encounter during this brief experiment might be the flaw that shines most brightly in the new jewel of thought or beauty that is birthed by an artist or thinker.

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By bringing a diversity of thought and experience and creativity into a single location, we might find it impossible to have or nurture an idea or impulse. Or, we might find that an idea or an impulse might flourish in our imaginations and on our tongues as we are rained upon by other ideas and spontaneous creations. C24 is a modest experiment that hopes to extend the collaborative spirit across disciplines and purposes. We know musicians gather to write songs often, and that teams of writers produce brilliant (or lousy) TV programming. We know poets compete together, and that painters will walk half a day into the countryside to share a landscape or scene with other painters. But how often do these disciplines cross? What happens when the physicist talks to the dancer, or the metallurgist to the poet, or the technologist to the actor? C24 is an attempt to spark immediate mutations in the style or process of creating among its attendees, with the hope that a single encounter during this brief experiment might be the flaw that shines most brightly in the new jewel of thought or beauty that is birthed by an artist or thinker.

Are there any thematic structures to the experiment?

No attendee should feel bound to censoring his or her imagination or impulses to meet an arbitrary standard. There will be no score or grade, no pass or fail. But we could say there might be an underlying structure of expectations and accomplishments to C24: it would be good to make memes. A meme is a measure of knowledge or thought that can be self-replicating or distributed and repeated after its birth. If we meet and think, we might leave behind some memes. You could say that this experiment will have its own genetic offspring in the form of developed ideas or stories or performances that arose during C24, and that these ‘products’ can be polished and shared far into the future.

Biologist Richard Dawkins clearly explained the difference between genes and memes almost three decades ago, and the emergence of memes as a purpose or engine for evolution has grown dramatically since then. Within ten generations, a person’s genetic legacy is reduced to 1/1046th in any living descendant. In other words, within just ten generations your material existence will have been reduced to less than one one-thousandth of who and what you are now. The impulse to propagate oneself to keep our genes flourishing is an archaic anxiety born in the distant past, when a few thousand hominids struggled to stay alive in East Central Africa, and yet most of our lives spent in the acquisition of a mate and property and progeny and profit is still conducted as if we were the first modern humans living as scavengers 200,000 years ago in the African savannah.

But creative people who now struggle to define who they are and how they feel and what they fear have a different sort of legacy to leave behind their material existences: memes. Johan Sebastian Bach has his concertos performed today by millions of professionals and students worldwide.  Van Gogh might cringe to see what sort of merchant buys his canvasses for millions today, but his works are seen by millions of art lovers in museums worldwide every year. Bach and Van Gogh, as well as Darwin and Newton and Goya and Keats, will be celebrated for thousands of years or for as long as there is a culture lived by homo sapiens sapiens. In a hundred years, who will know that you liked artichoke hearts or were scared of the dark, or that you shopped at Target and drove an electric car? But in a hundred years, somebody might stumble across an idea you created for C24, a tune, an aphorism, a dance video, a love letter.

 In short, the artist or thinker comes to C24 or participates from other continents or cities to make a meme, and this meme will have its siblings and cousins growing out of the C24 experiment, if all goes as well as we plan.

Why the Wonderbox?

Why the Wonderbox?

The Wonderbox is a 5000-sq ft production studio designed for art collaborations. Its organizing principles state that “the process of making art will always be more important than the profits associated with making art.” The Box began operation in May 2010 as a place where creative projects could be pursued without becoming treated as assets or collectibles. There are a number of collectives worldwide that try to keep the price tags off of the art or crafts they produce, and the Box is tentatively joining these groups as a place where collaborative artworks can be produced without worry about the values of the works themselves.

The actual title of the “Wonderbox” was influenced by Philip K. Fisher’s book “Wonder, The Rainbow & the Aesthetics of Rare Experiences,” in which he argues that singular events – natural or cultural – cause a deep sense of beauty or arousal of imagination to occur when the core of the event – a rainbow, for instance, or a piece of art – is not mundane. A rainbow, for instance, no matter how many times one sees it, can still invoke a sense of profound beauty. Works of art potentially can move the viewer to the same sense of wonder; but to do this the artwork must be as mysterious and as evanescent as a rainbow. The Wonderbox was seen from its inception as a place where the workings or art would be of far greater consequence than the display of finished pieces; it might be the fountain of many rainbows. The Box is more factory than it is gallery, and even when functioning as a gallery should still be shown to be or treated as being a manufactory.

What happens to the artworks or ideas created at the experiment?

All the ideas and products created during the event belong to the artists and thinkers who created them. Copyrights will be completely respected. The process of creating, especially those moments immediately after an idea has taken hold and the artist or thinker has applied the initial framework to his or her piece, will be as open to the other attendees to experience as possible. Conversations about the actual pieces being produced will be encouraged and at some arbitrary moment, the 18th hour, say, attendees will be encouraged to participate in a quick “show and tell” for the benefit of the other attendees.

Will other communities and artists be involved?

This inaugural C24 event will have several communities and individuals participating for the duration of the experiment, even though they will not be at the event’s primary site or even on the same continent. Illustrators in Rio de Janeiro and Edinburgh will combine to create, execute and share a series of illustrations and ideas, for example, with their notes and artworks delivered electronically to the C24 site and posted publicly for the other artists to see or consider. They will be in touch via Skype throughout the event to monitor or “see” what the artists at the event are producing and thinking and imagining. Similarly, collectives and individuals in Reykjavik, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Catalonia, Lisbon, Helsinki, Portland, Lima, Adelaide and Melbourne will also participate in the event according to the event’s guidelines and goals.

Participation & Schedule (to be updated) 

The event begins at Sundown on a Friday. The actual date will be given in letters of invitation sent to invitees only. The experiment continues until the following Sundown, on Saturday evening. Food and refreshments will be supplied by the Box hosts.

Attendees do not need to be present for 24 hours. But a vigorous approach and dedication to executing or planning an idea will be the backbone of the event. We’d like to think that several people will remain on-premises for the duration, as the hosts intend to do.

At the end of the event, on Saturday evening, the general public will be invited to drop by and see whatever of the artworks have been left on display by the attendees. It is possible that nothing but notes or sketches will remain, as well as whatever video or documentation of the individual processes has been made by the hosts.

Just a few hours ago, Andy proposed that at some moment early on Friday, the attendees gather together for a five-minute meditation. Alana and Sean in a subsequent conversation thought that the five-minute silence might be used as a primer for each attendee: perhaps in this five minutes of shared concentration, in silence but in company, ideas would crystallize from possibility into intent. This five-minute “concentration,” then, might be instilled as a collective action, and invited artists and thinkers will be canvassed about their thoughts on this action.

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Just a few hours ago, Andy proposed that at some moment early on Friday, the attendees gather together for a five-minute meditation. Alana and Sean in a subsequent conversation thought that the five-minute silence might be used as a primer for each attendee: perhaps in this five minutes of shared concentration, in silence but in company, ideas would crystallize from possibility into intent. This five-minute “concentration,” then, might be instilled as a collective action, and invited artists and thinkers will be canvassed about their thoughts on this action.

On the Thursday evening before the C24 experiment, the Box will show “Rivers & Tides,” a brilliant observation of the artist Andy Goldsworthy made by Thomas Riedelsheimer. All invited artists and thinkers will be encouraged to come watch with wine and cheese. The movie is about working with time. Also on Thursday, the working bays or stalls will be in place for each of the artists who have accepted our invitation to come and work during C24.

On the Wednesday evening before the event, the Box will show excerpts from the movie “The Alchemist” about Glenn Gould, as well as scenes from Wim Wenders’ “Wings of Desire,” Nicholas Roeg’s “Walkabout,” Ken Loach’s “Raining Stones,” and Larissa Shepitkov’s “Wings.”

Each night’s programme is intended to make viewers consider their own forms of expression and to provide inspiration to artists who wish to crack their own molds of creation: the time is always ripe for experiment, and artistic enlightenment requires the acceptance of mistakes and false starts.

On Friday afternoon at Sundown, the facility will be open to the artists only, and to the support persons who make the event possible. Family and friends, while loved and loving, will NOT be welcome or invited unless they, too, are working on a creative impulse of their own.

Documentation

The hosts of C24 will help document the processes of creation, without intruding on the artists themselves. How? By periodically interviewing any of the artists who wish to chat on-camera or for the record about their progress during the 24 hours. Electronic files can be shared, if the artists or producers wish to do so, with the hosts of the C24 event, with the other artists participating, or at the Saturday evening exhibition of finished and unfinished works. No attendees are obliged to share their works or to be interviewed or filmed while participating or working. Sharing of any product by the artist or owner will be completely voluntary.

Preservation & Distribution of Works or Works-in-Progress

A website or a Facebook page will be created to show and discuss the works conceived and executed by the attendees of C24. A DVD disc might contain files or a movie about the event that can be distributed in person or by mail, or electronically on platforms such as iPhone or iPad or Kindle via any number of distribution methods, including Amazon and Barnes&Noble. No attendees are obliged to contribute their works, thoughts, images or products to such a distribution effort. If such a DVD is produced, it will be distributed free of charge or at minimum charge to ensure that other artists elsewhere are inspired to create the same sort of C24 event. The process and its results will be as “open source” as possible to creatives worldwide.

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Thanks for your interest. Please contact Alana, Andy or Sean for more information.

Thanks for your interest. Please contact Alana, Andy or Sean for more information.