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Listening and Creativity Workshop

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In September 2011, I gave a workshop on Listening and Creativity as part of the Viva! Art Action Festival in Montreal. Attendees were first instructed to take part in an exercise involving taste. The items that each of them tasted were created by Natasha Pickowicz, who used a combination of different distinct tastes, some complimentary, some not, which were then frozen into small, bite-sized edibles as seen below.

While they tasted, the participants were asked not to talk to each other about what they tasted, in order for it to be exclusively their own experience, insights, taste, and examination, uninfluenced by others. From there, using the set of five Rhythmplex cards, we discussed some ways to listen to ones own fundamental interest and intent, and how to apply that to a number of different situations. Stories about memory, learning, making mistakes, influence, actions, and assumptions were used as a personal relation to the theories.

One participant stated:

“La mémoire fonctionne d’une intéressante façon. Mueller donne en exemple le souvenir de la première fois où il a embrassé une fille. Les détails précis se sont effacés, mais pas l’excitation ni l’effarement ayant accompagnés ce moment. En transposant ce cas de figure au processus créatif, il conclut que c’est ce que devrait faire l’artiste : arriver à laisser la trace d’une expérience plutôt que les détails de la présentation. « In your creation, show people what they miss.”

After the talk, participants shared some of their experiences and we then had an open discussion about the tastes experienced at the beginning. Some were accurate, but some were a surprise, and that was the point for including this part of the workshop: Discover things, don’t rely on assumptions, don’t worry about defining specifics, but translate an experience.

Thanks again to Natasha for her interesting creations and to Viva! for hosting the event.