The Creative Imperative
Expanded concepts of agency permit us to question what or who can be an active participant in creative activity, allowing us to revisit the debate on authorship. We can ask whether creativity might be regarded as a form of social interaction. How might we understand creativity as the interaction of people and things rather than as an outcome of action?
Whilst creativity is often perceived as the product of the individual artist, or creative ensemble, it can also be considered an emergent phenomenon of communities, driving change and facilitating individual or group creativity. Creativity may be regarded as a performative activity released when engaged through and by a community and thus understood as a process of interaction.
In this context the model of the solitary artist, producing artifacts that embody creativity, is questioned as an ideal for achieving creative outcomes. Instead, creativity is proposed as an activity of exchange that enables (creates) people and communities. The creation of new things, and the forms of exchange enacted around them, can function to "create" not just things but also people, binding them in social groups and "creating" the community they inhabit.
It thus becomes possible to conceive of creativity as emergent from and innate to the interactions of people and to consider the gift-economy as fundamental to social formation. Such an understanding can function to combat the dominant instrumentalist view of creativity, that demands of artists that their creations have social (e.g.: "economic") value.
This contribution to the panel discussion will seek to engage these themes and concepts in the context of how online communities of creative practitioners form and interact.