"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method". Herman Melville

"I know nothing but miracles." Walt Whitman

sábado, 12 de setembro de 2009

How creativity works

(at least for me)
The late Heinz von Foerster, one of the founders of cybernetics, established the Principle "Order from Noise", which states that well organized systems can only evolve by assimilating "noise", ie, information that was disturbed while being transmitted. It applies to natural and man-made systems, as well as for creating art.
Biologic evolution only occurs because the transmission of genetic information may go wrong (mutations). If there was no "noise" in the process, if the genetic information had been correctly transmitted from one generation to the next, living organisms would still be very simple and very similar.
It is said that the musicians in Jamaica developed Reggae music while trying to play the music they heard from England on short wave radios, with lots of interferences. I remember travelling long distances by bus; at night, half asleep, with the sound from the engine and the musics from the radio that the driver forgot to tune , I would make my own sometimes very interesting musics in my head. I felt sorry I didn´t know how to write music down.
Ideas for paintings come to me in a similar way. Pictures I half perceive when going through a magazine (then I go back to that page and realize there´s a different image there, although I might prefer what I thought I first saw there), or looking at poorly lit images in the dark, or a departure from this same process: seeing faces or bodies in the irregularities of a wall or a floor. This is departure from this process because, to start with, there is no information in those surfaces.
This process can be deliberately replicated to make art, and it would be interesting to use computers to do it: feed them random unfocused images and have them make an image, or have them compose music from random bits of music and sounds from the streets.