At the weekend I attended an interdisciplinary conference named Generative Constraints, at the Centre for Creative Collaboration in London which is organised by the postgraduate and PhD practice-based researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London. The conference was made up of academic research papers, poetry readings, performance work, screenings, installations, a workshop and a round table discussion. The day addressed, questioned and explored the concepts and politics of constraints and ‘generative’ constraints within artistic production, academic contexts, funding, history and disciplinary borders.
I was particularly keen to attend one of the keynote lectures by Tim Etchells, Matthew Goulish and Lin Hixson. This lecture-dialogue was strictly structured and organised within the time that it was presented, upholding an engaging and performative quality that tried extremely hard to stick to the clock. The many questions and answers that were discussed dealt with areas such as freedom, creative processes, predictability and visibility. It was really interesting to explore this topic of Generative Constraints in a way that crossed through performance, writing and visual art.
I am still trying to digest the day, it was very intellectually stimulating and there were a lot of ideas flying around. My brain needs a little rest for now. However I am excited to see which ideas I have grabbed hold of and subconsciously ‘pocketed’ or ‘shelved’ for the future! Below are some random thoughts and questions about constraints and generative constraints, inspired by the conference day.
Is there a difference between translating and copying?
Academic and artistic funding cuts are causing people to work within particularly strict constraints.
Which constraints are generative? Are any?
We have the choice to use constraints productively and creatively, to our own advantage.
Constraints and structures can often offer something that may not have been immediately accessible before.
When do we ever make anything new?
Funding is freedom. Or is it? Sometimes not having funding is a good thing, sometimes not having funding is freeing.
Keep your practice slightly resistant. Particularly resistant of the system...
Perhaps it’s about working in dialogue with constraints rather than completely against them.
Your practice can only develop once you can accept the constraints that we are given, as if we had written them ourselves.
Hipsters = a derogatory term for young, creative people.