To what extent do you look at the world in a creative (or uncreative) way?
As a visual artist I find that drawing inspiration from what I see around me is fundamental. I find that when I am observing I will see something that would inspire me to create something, this does not necessarily happen intentionally and what I draw my inspiration from is not necessarily beautiful and catches your eye right away, it could be some rubbish, or the colours of the sky or even the way objects blur when you’re looking out the window of the car or the train. More often than not I will pull my camera out to capture something that I want to use in my work.
For example at the start of the year I was on holiday in Walpole and on the drive there we stopped at a look out spot, and it was the most amazing view over the water at sunset. The colours were what I liked the most, so I took a photo and hoped that I would use it as inspiration for a painting.
What is the relationship between night, darkness and the imagination? How did the growth of artificial light affect human imagination and creativity?
Before the growth in artificial lighting there was a great belief in notions such as spirits, apparitions, witches and demons, night time was seen as menacing and people were superstitious of these notions. As people became more educated they rejected these beliefs “…Enlightenment beliefs steadily led to the “disenchantment” of the Western world…” (Ekirch, 2005, p.325) Night time lost its aura of terror and people began to find it beautiful, “…Night even became, for some observers, an object of awe and admiration. The very air at night, once thought perilous, now appeared sweet and refreshing… Inspired rapture rather than dread…” (Ekirch, 2005, p.326)
People’s sleep patterns were disturbed, with the growth of artificial lighting, people were going to bed later which meant divided slumber became less common. Divided slumber is when you have a segmented sleeping pattern and would often wake from slumber. “No longer did most sleepers experience an interval of wakefulness in which to ponder visions in the dead of the night… increasing numbers lost touch with their dreams and…to their deepest emotions.” (Ekirch, 2005, p.335) So by going to sleep later, people had cheated themselves out of their dreams and their fantasies.
Ekirch says that by staying up later into the night people do not experience segmented sleep so they will not wake during the night to think about their dreams. By not pondering their dreams people have lost touch with their deepest emotions. I think that in some way our creativity channels our emotions, or our emotions are what helps us to be creative. So, if people have lost touch with their deepest emotions, essentially it would affect their creativity.
Ekirch, A. R. (2005). At days close: Night in times past. New York: Norton and Company