I will express my thoughts on the creative industry studies, briefly and associatively. This is just the beginning of a creative process that will involve anyone inspired by this topic.
Creative industry – the term is interesting in itself, combining two mutually exclusive concepts: creativity and industry. Does that mean that the industrial process renews and reflects the creative process that led to the final product?
Does that mean that the product affects the technology of production?
Aren’t these two concepts more compatible than mutually exclusive?
And what came first – the chicken or the egg? The product or the process of production?
Can human beings be taught to act creatively?
An aphorism by Toma Bebić comes to mind: ”A smart person doesn’t need school, and teaching fools is useless” – says this promoter of love between cannibals; love each other, cannibals.
I choose examples from my experience and practice in theatre as a lecturer as well as a director, and these examples seem to me particularly inspiring for the creation of a curriculum for creative industry studies.
I took my students horseback riding on several occasions. We went through all the necessary preparations before riding, we rode horses, and took care of them after riding. While riding, we would sometimes recite Shakespeare’s lines or perform group formations. Getting down from the horses in groups, either simultaneously or by using the domino principle, we would recite choral strophes and antistrophes.
A specific effect of these exercises was realizing how complex relations and dialogues are and how they require reciprocal attention. This is the most efficient way to develop stage dialogues, the sense of group rhythm and the sense of focusing on the message – listening to it and offering feedback.
Can you imagine HORSEBACK RIDING as one of the important subjects in the studies of creative industry?
The following quote is from my book, ”The blade of the diagonal”:
”Even when we are scattered around in space, we are part of a circle, more circles, or a sphere. When we move, we spin, determining our direction by impulses from our joints. This endlessness of spinning, this myriad of circles needs to be relayed to each member of the group already in the preparatory stage.
The meaning is actually a game. The search for a game that we lost, that we forgot. In the beginning, it is actually important to present the game as something valuable and important, to encourage everyone to stand by this game with no reservations, to point out the value in everyone, and not to measure them by external parameters.
Confidence is a magic word. It is by no means easy to reach, yet it is so fragile.
A pedagogue must be extremely patient, because enabling somebody to act freely is something almost unimaginable and often very useless in daily life.
One must start to trust the game, to see the rehearsal space as a place where different rules are enforced and a different potential life exists.
The rules of rehearsal are not the rules of everyday life.
We are talking about two irreconcilable worlds – the everyday world and the stage world.
To try to reconcile these two worlds is futile, because their reconciliation makes it impossible for either of them to be fully actualized.”
Can you imagine the beginning of creative industry studies by regular visits to the playground, where students get to play? Yes, play! Some new games, or old games they remember from the past, or… From playing in the sand to climbing the constructions on the playground and swinging on the swings.
Course: PLAYING ON THE PLAYGROUND. And for this course I would allocate at least 4 hours a week, for two semesters.
I heard from a fencing instructor from Valencia that he would like to shave everyone’s heads at the beginning of studies and then ask them to keep growing out their hair until they graduate. The growth of hair symbolizes their acquisition of stage experience.
This is a vivid metaphor that excellently symbolizes the education process.
Although hair grows, one cannot shape it without further efforts. One must know how to use experience in every situation, always in a different way.
Although students possess different sensibilities, different caliber of previous knowledge and different abilities, it is important to work slowly, one task after the other, without skipping tasks.
Can you imagine teachers and students of creative industry changing into the same work clothes every day before class?
Can you imagine classrooms as empty spaces, and using boxes with sand or ice instead of notebooks? Clearly everything written down in class/rehearsal wouldn’t be permanently stored. However, if students remember the things they wrote down, they could keep working on it at home. They could write it down in their notepads and develop it further. They shouldn’t exactly write down the things they learned or felt, but rather all the aha moments, surprises and similar things they experienced.
For creative industry studies I suggest regular discussions while walking through the city.
The course DISCUSSIONS ON A CITY WALK would be held once every two weeks. Rules: student thinks about the topic he’s interested in at that time, heads downtown and tries to get a random passer-by to participate in a discussion on that topic. If communication is going well and the interlocutor has time to spare, they take a walk together while discussing the topic. They can even arrange another meeting to continue the discussion they started.
By imagining these courses, I am trying to say that it seems important to think about offering some courses that transcend the usual ways of planning, organizing and implementing classes.
Birds fly over all national borders without looking back. A free thought is not preoccupied by fitting in with the prevailing opinions of a certain environment. A free thought is free of control and censorship. A free thought answers only to itself. The topic of free thought is a complicated one, and demands a separate discussion, that there is no time for on this occasion.
How to prompt the birth of free thoughts, to create conditions where thoughts are multiplied and freely articulated?
One must plan the possibility of creating new concepts of classes that encourage the articulation of a free thought.
One simple exercise is to regularly organize classes where students teach, free to select any topic they might be interested in.
This move emphasizes horizontal pedagogy, the pedagogy of exchange, which is necessary for the creative process and the search of new solutions and products.
It is possible for two teachers to discuss the same subject at the same time and place. I can see two potentially interesting ways to implement this idea:
- Two teachers with different opinions on a certain subject teach, expressing their opinions in a clear way;
- Two teachers teach on the same subject, agreeing that one of them presents the subject in a favorable way, while the other one presents it in an unfavorable way. In this method of work, it is particularly important for teachers to switch points of view in the following class on the same topic. That means that the teacher who spoke favorably of the topic now negates all previous arguments, and the teacher who criticized the subject now passionately supports it.
I will discuss other ideas on a different occasion. The aim of these tasks and courses is to liberate students from inhibitions stopping them from expressing their own thoughts and to stimulate their flexibility in every sense of the word. In this way, one gets to work on developing emotional and social intelligence as well as understanding the culture of conflict.
I remember my quips from when I was a student, tired of classes: ”this guy said, that guy said; quoting this guy, quoting that guy”, I joked around, saying something that intrigued me and adding ”as Krleža said” or ”as Shakespeare said”. In some situations this was the formula that saved me and convinced my interlocutor to listen to what I had to say. Every freelance artist experiences a multitude of occasions when he has to present himself, asking for funding for his projects in front of individuals and commissions who are far less acquainted with the topic in question than he is. This is a persuasive trick, because more or less everyone is aware of a few names from the general global wealth of ideas. So, not to forget, whenever a situation seems to be hopeless, add ”as Don Quixote said!” That is much better than saying ”as Kafka said!” Do you understand why?
There has to be a group of courses that dabbles into and/or immerses itself into inspiring experiences and solutions of various subjects and problems that our lucid ancestors came up with. It is not such a problem to arrange these courses by semester, but it is very important to choose creative teachers and to deal with achievements in an inspirational way.
What seems important to me, especially at the beginning of studies, is to address a wide variety of topics, to emphasize different viewpoints on every subject from the perspective of different branches of science, art etc. In other words, not to rush with specialization. Students’ wishes and choices they make when they enroll in a certain program do not necessarily represent their real interests and predispositions. Creative industry studies offer the chance of participating in classes focused on the complete experience of personality. If we are talking about art, these classes are focused on intertwining artistic techniques and expressions, in agreement with relevant achievements of different branches of science.
Imagine a sharp knife of thoughts spinning in a circle of insight, delving deeper and deeper inside. Its circular motion sometimes changes into vertical motion, like a drill… breaking here and there, jumping around, changing direction – and then checking everything that happened, i.e. to provide the platform for carrying out new/different ideas.
Education of theatre artists, for example, calls for an urgent reform. It is not enough to present old nonsense in a different design. It is necessary to tackle this issue in a much braver manner to enable something creative to happen.
The easiest thing to do is to criticize, and I don’t want to do that.
I will give a few ideas that could be tested in this field. The education for all stage personnel could be based on the principle of a directorial pentagon, which enables everyone to go through all elements of the program/play.
By such organization of education, everyone will gain so much knowledge and experience that they will be able to choose their own field of work. This choice can certainly change depending on the life choices of an individual and his/her interests at a certain point in time.
Here are some notes about the directorial pentagon, as the starting point for work from a workshop to four-year education. So, on this occasion, I am sticking with just notes.
DIRECTORIAL PENTAGON – five basic areas of work in a direction of play that every director is faced with:
- idea, stage template, directorial concept
- the choice of collaborators and actors, individual responsibilities and interaction between everyone in the final product
- guiding the actors, organizing rehearsal, rehearsal and directing of dramatic situations
- directing stage area, playing stage and props; stage accents; directorial arrangement; main, background and parallel actions; directing and dramaturgy of light and shadow, as well as using colors on stage; play rhythm
- presentation of the play, the reception of the play by the audience
Don’t you think this pentagon offers the possibility of development of studying in an artistic, creative way?
Do you think this pentagon makes sense? Does it enable the development of a creative organizational scheme of courses by its large number of possible combinations?
Take any factor of stage work: actor, stage designer, light, music, advertising, management etc., and think how to incorporate it into the pentagon.
This is the directorial pentagon, and it is up to you to try to come up with a different pentagon in search of creation and products of a free thought.
Don’t forget, it all starts from the same thing.
Chicken and/or egg? Egg and/or chicken?
I will be happy to hear all your questions, while reserving the right not to answer them.
Berlin, July/August 2013