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What does curiosity look like? Panel debate.

Written by
Colin Buttimer
Published date
17 December 2014

What does curiosity look like? Panel.

Richard Reynolds, MA Applied Imagination acting Course Leader, was last week joined by a panel of distinguished guests to discuss the topic of curiosity, including:

– Heather Ackroyd: Of Ackroyd & Harvey, recent works include History of Trees for London Olympic Park, Life on Life for Le Centquatre, Paris and Blaakow for Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

– Malcolm Garrett, RDI: pioneer of design using digital and interactive technologies for musicians, the Science Museum and other galleries whilst at Immersion Studios in Toronto. Malcolm was elected Master of the Royal Designers in 2013

– Gary Kurtz: Film producer whose career includes Two Lane Blacktop, American Graffiti, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Crystal, Return to Oz and Slipstream

– Paul Williams, RDI: Architect, founding partner in Stanton Williams. Work includes the Kings Cross campus for Central Saint Martins, the Eton Manor venue for the London Olympics and the Millennium Seedbank. Stanton Williams won the Stirling Prize for the Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in 2012.

The key theme of the debate centered on the notion of curiosity with particular emphasis on the exploration of the artistic creative journey, processes and creative spaces.

The discussion opened with a focus on the importance of the creative process. Reynolds referenced art critic David Sylvester and director Alfred Hitchcock who argued that the importance of the initial stages within the artist’s creative journey is greater than the end result. Noting this, Williams suggested that the importance of the processes behind a piece of art compared to the end product itself is entirely contextual. This led to Ackroyd’s suggestion that the importance of the creative process rests upon the artist’s intention. Does the artist wish to create art that exists for its own sake, or to create art that exists as a product of the intention to solve a problem through the creative process?

The panel then looked to the significance of feral space in order to facilitate curiosity and freethinking throughout a creative journey.  Feral space was described as a space in which you can freely immerse yourself in creative thought. Malcolm Garrett noted that in the early nineties multi-media was an example of feral space as you were able to practice new ideas in untested waters. Kurtz, on the other hand, spoke of isolation as feral space, remarking on its importance in consolidating curiosity and artistic thought. Williams also referred to the prominence of feral space as a place to exercise your own imagination in his planning behind the Central Saint Martins, King’s Cross campus.

Following this, Reynolds extended the discussion to the audience’s questions and comments. These focused primarily on a continuation of the discussion of the importance of space for the artistic process, and whether the public is too often secluded from viewing the creative journey behind finished projects. Finally, the concluding question raised a further debate as to whether creative collaboration can save the world. The panel suggested that this was definitely the case, arguing that the issues facing the world are too enormous for individuals to tackle, and that opening space for collaboration would be essential.

Further information:
– MA Applied Imagination course page