Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Breathing creative air - a new chapter

It is a humbling experience to be sat at a table surrounded by people who excel in their own fields to be told "why don’t you show your work".

This morning's meeting with some of the artists-in-residence at the south bank yielded such an occasion.

Humility is a word that often loses respect; we tend to forget this at conferences and the like.

There was Martin whose meme diagrams are works of fantastical scale and art; and Martin's new deal of the mind seeks to be the 21st century blue print for how creative talent can work us out of austerity.

Meeting people whom by dint of their presence may challenge sometimes your own epistemologies can be an experience. In the commercial world it can easily degenerate into bear bating.

You said videojournalism is better than broadcasting. what the *** do you know?

But in an artistic setting you’re allowed your space. Indeed the criteria amongst the gathering AIRS is to be nice.

Being nice helps, certainly for the newbies, but it's about being afforded creative space to say what you want and when.

An important lesson my alma mater share is everyone is addressed as senior, irrespective of the year you graduated. And if you know the lesson of the first captain and crew studies in the 70s, then enough said.

In ten minutes it is both futile and in my case an exercise in linguistic slaloms to tell my story, but it is an invaluable introduction to initiate further dialogue. For it’s through shared space and talk that we begin to pick out areas of interest and mine deeper.

And there's the theme of reciprocity.

Creative Audits
Call it an audit; there is value in that, yet commercialism would sometimes have the quick fix.

Taking time out to explain is something I feel is done less well nowadays, and when it is it’s obfuscated in meetings about meetings and the power card: "here's my card... call me"

A couple of years ago my father passed away. I remember hurtling down the stretch between Kumasi and Accra, a section of which is known as the road of death for good reason, when our driver found himself sandwiched between two articulated trucks, as we all let out wails and screams.

I was being taken to see the queen mother of the village my dad had grown up in and indeed I’d spent some of my formative years.

Why were we going?

In part to pay our respect, but also to find that space to talk. And the queen mother, one of the humblest people I had ever met was a good listener and talker.

We sat on her balcony and she offered us water, which she retrieved herself. Yes she did have servants. And we spoke about the world, this and that, and left.

I often find myself reflecting on those times and others when in a big spacious place.

I left with several impressions this morning, a sense that I had found the queen mothers balcony, closer to home.

And for that I’m grateful. Grateful that I felt invigorated at a new chapter in learning and that it was not my story that mattered, but that I'm looking to engage in with everyone else in this new space of the mind.