Auditing the creative process

How do you make tangible and tactable – and indeed digital – the unconscious or inexpressable process of generating art? Theatre is at least better at manifesting creative labour as materially available than most art forms. You can ‘see’ part of it happening if you really want to (cf. this current talk of embedded criticism: Daniel Bye, Postcards from the Gods). But I don’t mean ‘what happens in a rehearsal room’. I mean the labour that happens to get you to that moment in the first place; so the work of the creative imagination. The work of the idea.

Well it just sort of happens doesn’t it? Hmm. Well maybe yes. But that might not be good enough for very much longer. Due to the nature of the audit culture of financing in the arts, it is becoming increasingly necessary to have something materially ‘to show’ for your work beyond the product of art itself – arguably the final product is the least significant thing. You need to have products all the time, ‘tangibles’ along the way, so that you are continually ‘engaging’ in materially accountable ways, and you are seen to be doing so. You need to turn every part of creative labour into something with a recognisable output, which can be documented and, in the current zeitgeist, ideally, made digital.

The problem is that it is the nature of artistic creativity that it necessarily only finds its materiality in the final product. That’s why you do it. If you could make that expression continually and in myriad easier ways, you would. Wouldn’t you? If making art wasn’t the only way of getting all this stuff out, you would do everything else, and not bother with the actual art bit because it is too hard.

But that doesn’t mean we won’t try. And so begins a great experiment: to find ways to make the intangible tangible. To find ways to think in outputs. To create in outputs. To output your way to the actual output, which is subsumed by the torrent of outputs from which it is constituted; and of which it is, at best, only the last output.

Whilst I look to solve this little quandary this blog may take a little hiatus, to be replaced by something more accountably of output.