Elena Lekus, Associate Professor at the Department of Creative Lighting Design, believes that these days creativity is a myth, a trend, and a reality all at the same time. Creativity can be perceived as a myth because using creative approaches or training creativity skills doesn’t necessarily make one “creative”. Another issue is that particular social processes and economic subcurrents have contributed to creativity becoming a trend in modern society. If we were to browse through job offers on different web resources, we would see that many companies are now looking for creative specialists with a high tolerance for stress. Still, there’s often no explaining exactly what such specialists have to be capable of.
Lastly, we can say that creativity can be called a paradigm of the modern reality. Sure enough, there are more than enough reasons behind creativity’s relevance. The two key aspects that contribute to high demand for creative specialists is the development of an innovative economy and the nature of the initial stage of an innovative society’s development, where the market calls for original solutions. Each of us experiences major changes in our lifestyles in comparison with what we had some 10 years ago. The issue of the world becoming more complex manifests itself in the changes of humans’ psychological and physical condition, and calls for a higher level of flexibility. Elena Lekus believes that it is the development of creative capabilities that helps people to not go insane and fall victim to such circumstances. In this sense, creativity has become a survival strategy that helps people exist in the modern world without losing themselves.
“When we are talking about creative technologies, we imply that they stimulate our brain activity to generate solutions,it is a technique that we use as a tool. At the same time, creative thinking is something that is constantly active. The best definition of creative thinking that I can think of is the process of tracing ambiguous connections between obvious phenomena: the more ambiguous the connection is, the stronger is the inspiration that we feel,” comments Ms. Lekus.
Ilya Smilga, head of NEBO.812 project laboratory of the Art & Science Institute, and another of the department’s lecturers, expanded on why society is paying more attention to creative technologies. According to the expert, the increasing demand on creativity can be associated with the decrease of cognitive functions in the younger generation. Nowadays, people read less, they start using gadgets from their early years and thus fail to learn to properly process information. At the same time, computers continue to get smarter. Thus, people now face a choice: which skills should they train in order to not compete with machines and yet assume important positions?
Now is the first time in human history that we face the danger of losing cognitive functions. The result of much research state that people who are now in their 60’s have better memory than those who are in their 20’s. This is associated with the younger generation rarely using the functions of their brains that have to do with memorizing things, they prefer to delegate such tasks to gadgets and the Internet. Thus, the processes in their brains become more primitive. There is a research showing that texts that have been read while scrolling are memorized by only 30%; in other words, when one reads an electronic version of a book, much of the content is lost. During another experiment, the subjects were given paper and electronic books to read. 80% of teenagers who read electronic books could not put the facts they just read in proper chronological order: it turns out that the structure of a paper book is a lot closer to how our brain remembers things than that of an electronic book.
“The power of habit is detrimental to creativity. It may seem that creative people are those who get to work on new projects and formats on a regular basis, but such skills can be easily replaced by neural networks. At a certain point, creative people become blind to the fact that their abilities start to degenerate. The only solution is to get new impressions on a regular basis. In a sense, every creative assignment is a leap into one’s subconscious,” explains Mr. Smilga.
In order to breach the borders of your subconscious, there are techniques that you can make use of.
1. Circles of attention
Perception is a technical skill. You can discern several circles of attention. The first is the micro circle, which has to do with oneself and their sensations. Becoming immersed in this circle helps to change your perception, which is good if you need focus. The second circle is the near circle, it has to do with everything that is close and can be examined in much detail. This opens a new layer of sensorial perception, something that can be transferred to other people via your creative work. Third is the middle circle, which encompasses everything that we can see. The next circle is the big circle that involves everything that we can’t see but can imagine. By remembering our day in detail, we can saturate the sentient experience that we can describe. The final circle is the macro circle. We can’t see any of the objects in this circle but can still imagine them. If you master the technique of attention circles, you can come up with new visualities by switching from the micro circle to the macro circle.
Being spontaneous in one’s thoughts and actions can be hard, as one’s consciousness is always active. In order to not have the chance to think and thus open up your subconscious, try to imagine an unusual object in unusual circumstances, so that your consciousness won’t be able to process it. According to Ilya Smilga, it is the subconscious that unites people, while consciousness separates them.
Sometimes, it is hard to get a person involved in a game even if they are creative. For instance, designers want to create some useful invention and make the world better, but creating something really cool from scratch proves hard, and they have to start with something inferior. That can be hard for a professional, and most probably, you will fail, but the sheer motive will get you interested. This method is good for getting involved in the game, and a game is what you need for working with your subconscious.