This is part 3 of a blog series where I share some thoughts on “art and creation”. I have prepared various blogs inspired by a range of sources from Kabbalah to Artificial Intelligence. Do not expect to find definitive answers. The aim here is to raise questions and hopefully offer entertaining thoughts.
It seems that a creation must be a unique phenomenon and is not compatible with repetition. It is not necessary for every little detail to be unique. One little thing can change and this can transform the experience and the object completely. The moment this little change occurs is the creative moment. Isn’t this what happened with Douchamp’s fountain?
Duchamp took an ordinary urinal. There was nothing original about the object per se. However, the fact that he named it “the fountain” and proclaimed it to be art was a new idea.
In this case, the creative moment does not coincide with the moment the object was constructed materially but with the moment it was conceived conceptually.
Uniqueness is a quality that separates art from technique. We can pretty much agree that a worker in a factory line repeating the same task – let’s say sewing the company’s logo on a shoe – is not experiencing a creative moment each time he completes the task.
The conception and making of the first, prototype shoe was a creative moment. However, the 500.000th reproduction of the original is entailing neither creative thinking nor creative practice. Each creation is unique.
Repetition kills creation. Today we tend to say that couples or friends engage in meaningful activities together to create memories. These memories are the result of unique experiences. A walk in the woods, or a night at the cinema. These are unique and, as a result, lasting memories.
The opposite occurs with repetition. A day at work repeated again and again is routine. After a few months or years, memories look the same and it is almost impossible for someone to recall a specific memory from work. It is common also for people to say that working days are all the same and that when you start working, years go by like days.
Without uniqueness, time almost feels like it doesn’t exist. Repetitiveness is the opposite of uniqueness just like being is the opposite of non-being. One cannot be without the other. Uniqueness is nothing without a repetition against which it can stand out. Of course this does not mean that we must doom ourselves to monotonous routines in order to have unique moments.