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Sunday, 10 January 2016

Art and DG CONNECT Theatre: ICT 2015 Performance ‘Driving Innovation through Creativity and the Arts’

The actors assemble on the stage, each knowing their lines, while those who will be their audience take their seats and wait expectantly for the start of the performance Driving Innovation through Creativity and the Arts. The odour of money drifts through the theatre with its stale recycled and specially conditioned air, intoxicating all who enter the room, inducing the sort of insanity that only puppeteers acting collectively can bring into being, as once more they proceed to construct one of their many convenient realities. And watching in another time and place, are Julia and Paul, who have come to see if, by some quirk of serendipity, something of substance may transpire, but mainly it is their intention to observe the playing out of what has already become a tragedy of errors and a comedy of errors both at the same time.

On the stage also is the one who will direct this theatre, and then they START, as one by one each plays their part, which is to heavily pitch themselves and their organisations, and it seems, to out-do each other in the number of times they speak the very special and magical word that is creativity, which is soon worn out with use, but left very much unexamined, nor it seems understood, for what is taking place before Julia and Paul’s eyes can in no way be described as the outcome of creative minds, except perhaps those found in marketing departments. And in noting all the emptiness, Julia speaks to Paul with silent words, which Paul, reading her lips, quickly comes to understand, as “some are clearly speaking of UX design.” Oh dear! The circus has indeed come to town, and consequently it will probably never be known if there is anything beyond this.

Julia now is pointing out, that Mercedes Man, has in fact, said virtually nothing, so to Google Paul does turn to seek out the results for Mercedes and this word Ideation, and lo and behold what does he find, but many pictures drawn by artists of future modernistic car designs, which, as Julia is now saying, is typical of men who to image making often turn when what is needed are the communication of that which might at least pass for words containing something of a more substantial form. And once again Mercedes are shown to be, literally, engaged in image making.

Looking now at a very futuristic automatic car, that on the web can also be found, she speaks again these words – “probably also much UX design.” Paul then says “yes indeed, most likely that which Buxton calls the holistic kind. Certainly, also, much focus on what we in the design business call, front-end design, which is where you will encounter this word, Ideation.” And, something else too, for Julia has noted Mercedes Man’s derogatory remarks about design thinking! So the intelligent observation is left for Julia, a woman to say: “that quite some time ago it became evident that design had, for many reasons, become out-of-date, which is also the case for many ways of thinking, and that too much emphasis was being placed on back-end design, but with this acknowledged and understood, there came about a different approach, that which we now refer to as UX design.” Obviously, this is way beyond the capabilities of image-making men and those ridiculous ignorant men in DG CONNECT to understand.

Looking from a different place and time, Julia and Paul review those questions that the panel are supposed to be considering, which mysteriously they seem to be either ignoring or just circling around, as they focus instead on pitching, as though in a competitive bidding process, to lay claim to be the partner of choice. And the audience too, obviously wishing to stake a claim to a share of the money, to the delusion, they also do contribute, with fine words of the kind that in another performance, were spoken to an emperor that many children, when quite young, learned about in a very famous and iconic storyline.

And of these questions – How can the arts inspire creativity in general? How can spill-overs from creativity in the Arts be harnessed by industry? How can spill-overs from creativity in the Arts be harnessed by society? – Julia notes that no speaker has questioned them, and not even raised any concerns whether the way they are phrased suggests that DG CONNECT clearly does not understand and has learned nothing at all. So much for DG CONNECT’s claim to be using art as a hammer! Probably they are, but to smash art!

So the performance draws to a close, but what is this? Julia it appears is making a note, writing down some words that one of the speakers spoke. She holds up her scrap of paper to Paul, and her mischievous smile appears once more, along with a wink, and for a moment Julia and Paul have become one, for evidently an idea for another episode in their surrealist performance has just be born, to deal with this very interesting statement: “… artists working on new technology for dance theatre, when brought into the brainstorming, came up with an idea that not a single scientist, engineer or designer could ever think of – projecting a virtual follow-me car onto the windscreen and the driver just follows this virtual car …” Oh dear!

And of summing up, what should be said? It was clearly an empty session, not at all about art, and a complete waste of most peoples’ time, and this stands in sharp contrast to the companion ICT 2015 performance known by the name The Innovation Revolution: Creativity and Arts in ICT, where much greater substance can be found, mostly because, the main focus was on what is termed the creative industries. Yet here too, strongly evident was the ideology of creativity.

Many questions also arise about whether what was being discussed in this other session was indeed art, or just artists working in other jobs, for it is indeed the case that not all those who from art school do graduate, follow careers as artists, but instead, to related jobs often do gravitate, so back once more to UX design! And just how imaginative and creative is all this? Julia and Paul ask this, for, without a doubt, even this session was framed within a well-defined and conventional mind-set with people saying very conventional things, through speaking of methodologies, intellectual property and such things. And clearly there was one who was very adept at pressing all the political buttons, who sang and danced so beautifully to the puppeteer’s score – Brussels is full of such singing and dancing people, which is one of the problems. Julia and Paul call them the Empty-headed Ones – they who speak a lot but say very little of worth.

Yet there was one, who, among all this talk of creativity, and the posturing, and the sycophantic praising of the European Commission, and people silently saying, “hey look at me”, clearly stood out from the grazing herd by not mentioning creativity, but instead, did of art speak, and in her presentation slides, even mentioned subjective knowledge, and in doing so, quietly established a credibility that no-one else did. And the name of this person is Laura Beloff, who clearly has more understanding than all the others combined.

Future generations will ask of this thing called STARTS, which Julia and Paul have noted is a manifestation of the ideology of creativity – why was it that so many people were so wrong?

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