11 August 2007

Creativity today: Coffee and Donuts/Dec 06

Creativity today

There was a time when to be ”creative” was to sing or dance or draw or paint or at best, make films. Only a few could do it, you had to be born talented, and the rest of the world watched and admired. Newscasters were not creative, techies were not creative, engineers were not creative, cooks were not creative. Not any more!

* Today everyone is creative. And today everyone makes money being creative.
* Today creative is not appreciation of high art reserved for the few, but entertainment for
* Today you must teach, spread and share your creativity.
* Today you start being creative at a very early age.
* Today besides being creative, if you can link it to a cause, social or everyday health even better.
* And if you can “go global” with your creativity… well, that’s the best.

Democratisation of Creativity

Let’s take a look at the different kinds of creative people today. The young henna expert who charges Rs3,500 to decorate a bride’s palms. The flair bartenders who do elaborate stunts with fire and flame are creative. The participants in the Great Indian Laughter Challenge, the city rock bands, the theater groups. People who devise game shows. Jeeva the travelling storyteller - on a global platform, from Singapore to San Diego. The people who design scary experiences with disembodied hands, trap doors and screams in mega malls. The boys and girls who work in animation houses, that too for foreign films. RJs in FM radio stations who are auditioned for clarity and tonal quality of voice, musical expertise and “creativity”. Everyone who participated in the largest drum ensemble in Guwahati. Bhanumathi, the first woman puppet maker and performer of contemporary puppetry. She holds workshops for anyone between 8 and 80, gives you a kit, teaches you how to make puppets, helps you to learn how to write a script and songs besides finger movements, presentation and voice modulation. And all her scripts are about environment education. Women and children who learn Tanjore painting, radium painting, jewelry making, candle making. Every housewife, with her curtain ideas, her kitchen cabinets, her navaratri gift packs and diwali sweet packs.

With this “democratization” of creativity as it were, comes a certain “universality” which goes beyond “fusion” as we have traditionally known it.

Universalisation of Creativity

Post production, animation, visual effects, fine arts, software, animatronics, electronics, film, fashion, performing arts, art and craft, gaming… all merge. Art, technology and innovation merge. Materials, disciplines, influences and cultures are merging to create multicultural experiences that must surely make the average Indian universal citizens.

Anita Ratnam’s Bharatnatyam incorporates Chinese martial arts and Tibetan chanting. A review of Malavika Sarukai’s performance describes fascinating dances, but ends by saying you didn’t know which school it belonged to, was it Bharatnatyam at all? Another dancer conceptualizes an Indo Korean dance venture for the Seoul Performing Arts Festival. The November Music Festival in Chennai this year will feature Pakistani, and German music, Syrian hymns in Aramaic, in addition to Abhangs and World Music. Brhaddhvani, a research and training center for traditional Carnatic music has summer workshops with dances and music of South Asian countries and the valedictory function includes African dances. An English play is staged with Carnatic music. Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream is enacted in Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, Hindi – all at once, in the same play on the same stage. Another theater group presents a trilingual production – three plays in three different languages, a presentation of unusual short stories.

We hear of new materials and combinations and schools of art every day. Ajrak and Sanghneri block prints, embroidery styles like ari and rashida, organzas embellished with badla.A textile exhibition showcases 200 odd fabrics in varying combinations of cotton, wool, silk and jute patterns and textures. A furniture shop announces a new range of furniture which is a fusion of Vietnamese, Chinese and French if you please. Artists combine painting with photography, cartoons, linoloeum prints, sculpture, industrial junk for raw material, acrylic engraving, folk and kitsch.

The Socialisation of Creativity

The Neemrana quartet, a French classical band, performs to an enraptured group of slum dwellers. Playing Beethoven and Bach to coolies, washerwomen and children who, the news item tells us, hoot in delight.Werner Dornik, an Austrian artist, who has set up the Bindu Art School for leprosy patients who paint for four hours a day, some of them painting with brushes fixed to their fingerless hands with rubber bands. They then share the money and use it to help others like themselves. Then there's Art for Health. Sathya Narayana, of the Shrishti Institute of Dance Therapy, Bangalore, uses dance movements and mudras for therapeutic purposes. Different dance movements for bulging midriffs, spondylitis, activation of liver and pancreas, mobilizing insulin and even sexual dysfunctions.Yogasanas, folk dance and martial art based steps and movements that blend exercise and dance in whole new ways for a whole new purpose. Of course, much has been made of “music therapy” – elaborate how-tos in every other newspaper and magazine tell you to have a bath, put on a headphone, light candles, lie down and listen to music, and focus on the silences between notes. And in case you hadn’t figured it out, do listen to slow music to calm down and fast music for stimulation. An entire industry of CDs and cassettes is now flourishing on this.
An elaborate article by Rekha Shetty of mindspower.com interestingly advises application of the nava rasas in daily life. Become a volunteer, invest in healing relationships, develop family traditions and reunions as Karuna or compassion; for a dose of Shingara, be generous with affirmations of love; watch TV and films that make you laugh for Hasya; speak up against injustice - Vira or chivalry; enjoy a walk and marvel at nature, Adbhuta; confront your fears and invest in pranayam to tackle Bhaya…

And finally, the Corporatisation of Creativity!

Today “creativity” is an industry that generates business and capital and wealth. And this is not just about a few artists selling their paintings for crores of rupees but communities of artists finding avenues to create sustainable economies.

* The Creative Future School at IIM Bangalore calls for entries and 20 short listed candidates structure their business proposal and get a chance to pitch their idea to business investors in London. This is a mentoring programme that intends to empower idea generators with entrepreneurship skills.
* There is a global conference on Creative Economy where Rwanda pitches itself as a country where creative industries are going to be the primary economic activity. New native models of cultural enterprise are merging in Korea and universities curricula in the arts is changing everywhere.
* SG Vasudev and 69 others in Bangalore get together to form Anunya Drishya, which engages children in Indian contemporary art lectures slide shows and visits to galleries workshops; and has, among other things, initiated a health care programme for musicians. They report that corporate houses, clubs and colleges are beginning to ask for art appreciation sessions.
* KK Raghava establishes Raw Umber India, an art management firm to manage his art, promote his work and sales and service; and his art is sold with instructions manuals on how to take care of them.
* Art is becoming corporate gift and brands are striking up relationships with artists and their art.
* And the ultimate: Finance Minister P Chidambaram with Anjolie Ela Menon create a painting that will be sold to raise funds for an old age home in Gurgaon. Reserve price: Rs 20 lakhs.

Democratisation, universalisation, socialization, corporatisation!

It doesn’t get more creative than this!

The only question is: how is your brand planning to help the consumer express his/her creativity?

Read the original article here http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/432777.cms

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