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TOPIC: creativity


From Arrabal To Me — Chance, Forgetting And The Engines Of Creativity

A bit like the playwright Fernando Arrabal who launched an artistic project of decades after spotting a several disjointed phrases, our columnist reflects on the anodyne coincidences that led him to write these words.


MADRID — In art, everything is fortuitous. And so too in the piece you are reading...

In the 1960s, the Spanish playwright and artist Fernando Arrabal founded the Panic Movement, named after Pan, the Greek god of nature — and pranks. The inspiration for the artistic departure came to Arrabal when he placed two books on a big table and opened them at random. The first phrase to catch his eye was "the future acts," and then in the second book, "through coups de théâtre."

Thus a fortuitous adage, that "the future acts through coups de théâtre" or dramatic turns, became a creative spark and strangely presaged the exuberant "chaos" of the riots of May 1968.

Arrabal wanted at the time to distance himself from Surrealism, a current with which he is associated and which is equally fond of disorder. With the help of the Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky and the cartoonist Roland Topor, he duly turned a post-war period still weighed with conservative torpor, into creative years.

Arrabal, who is 90 and lives in Paris, liked to startle his Catholic compatriots, painting himself in the company of Jesus at the Last Supper. He once scribbled 'I shit on the fatherland' (me cago en la patria) on one of his books.

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Robot Artists And Us: Who Decides The Aesthetics Of AI?

Ai-Da is touted as the first bonafide robot artist. But should we consider her paintings and poetry original or creative? Is this even art at all?

Ai-Da sits behind a desk, paintbrush in hand. She looks up at the person posing for her, and then back down as she dabs another blob of paint onto the canvas. A lifelike portrait is taking shape. If you didn’t know a robot produced it, this portrait could pass as the work of a human artist.

Ai-Da is touted as the “first robot to paint like an artist”, and an exhibition of her work called Leaping into the Metaverse opened at the Venice Biennale.

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Different Ways The World Is Commemorating COVID-19's Victims

From a Swiss music box to a Chilean quilt, different projects seek to leave a tangible sign of those we've lost.

How do we remember those we've lost to COVID? A year ago, we learned how health restrictions wouldn't allow loved ones to pay their respects at in-person funerals or memorials. Now, with society as a whole facing the sheer scale of the loss of life caused by this pandemic, what can we do to commemorate its countless victims? Since March 2020, people from all over the world have been searching for new ways to pay tribute to the dead. From Switzerland to Mexico, mourners have explored different approaches to commemorating.

  • Switzerland: Telling a dramatic story through music — this was the idea of Swiss journalist Simon Huwiler, who created a music box whose singular tune was based on the daily number of people who lost their lives to the virus since last year, reports SWI swissinfo.ch. The holes in the music paper correspond to COVID victims. The song slowly and swiftly opens up and speeds up from the middle till the end of the song, illustrating the devastating death toll of the first and second waves of the pandemic. The journalist explains his artwork as a means to "make it more visible, to move people."

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Eureka! The Secret Sauce Behind Creativity

Being creative is often just a matter of connecting the dots — though they better be the right dots.

GENEVA — Employers have been placing an extra premium on creativity these last few years. They fight to get the so-called creative workers — those who are open-minded, bold, curious. Those who are active, outgoing and thrive on change.

But creativity isn't a mysterious gift for a select few. It involves a long and conscious process that can ultimately allow one to master the art of revealing hidden analogies. German psychologist Wolfgang Köhler explains that our best discoveries occur when data is suddenly connected with distant facts to shed new light. Put more simply, as Apple's iconic founder Steve Jobs once noted, creativity is about connecting things together.

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Vivian Urfeig

The Creative Boost Of Buenos Aires' Shared Workspaces

BUENOS AIRES — In the Argentine capital, always aiming to be on top of the latest trends, is part of the wave of turning staid office culture into hubs of creativity through shared workspaces.

These workspaces, which are offices that freelancers share as a workplace, are found to foster useful interaction and creative activity. Many say that these places help them concentrate on their work better. Maybe it's because of the Chinese takeout lunches they share, the ping-pong tournaments or the hammocks found dangling on some office terraces. These shared offices, which cut costs, generate a good work atmosphere and boost creative networks, are growing increasingly popular these days.

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Karim Janker

The Monotony Of Office Life Is This Artist's Reigning Inspiration

German artist Ignacio Uriarte knows all about the tedium of life as a 9-to-5 employee, which he ditched to create art riffing on the subject. Süddeutsche Zeitung sat down with him.

MUNICH— When Ignacio Uriarte became interested in art, his work as an employee took a serious turn south. Born in 1972 in Krefeld, Germany, Uriarte studied business administration, and worked for companies such as Siemens and Canon. He took courses in audiovisual arts on the side. Office work and art at some point became an untenable combination, so in 2003 he packed in the day job and became an independent artist.

Since then Uriarte’s work, in which he also deals with time and the monotony of the working world, is regularly displayed in museums and galleries. He currently has an exhibit, entitled “Playtime,” at the Lenbachhaus in Munich, and he has a sound installation, “Eight Hours Count,” on display at the Berlinische Galerie Museum of Modern Art in Berlin. Süddeutsche Zeitung’s first question to the artist is a reference to a panel discussion he will take part in on May 25 entitled, “Does Work Bring Happiness?”

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