Friday, 7 October 2011

6.10. Discussion and Final assignment

Does culture/creativity challenge economy - or is economy taking over culture/creativity? This was discussed with presentation of Anna Bergman's AiH (Artist in House), and with the visitors Jakke Holvas and Mikko Lipiäinen.

And here is the Final Assignment: individual essay

Write an essay about creative work/ new work/ immaterial work: the challenges of immaterial creative work, issues and problems of immaterial creative work, the potentials within immaterial creative work.

Give your own title.

Use the lectures, discussions and assignments done during the course to reflect on.

Take also at least one text given and reflect on that – agree with it, disagree with it, use a point made to present your own musings. The form is an essay, so you do not have to litter it with academic style references – just use the text/ texts as a starting-point.

Length of the essay 5 – 10 pages.
Language optional, Finnish or English.
Send essays to my email: trajanti(at) or taina.rajanti(at)
Oh: title your essay something like: CreA_YourName.docx …

Deadline for the essays is 27.10.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

29.9. Creative city: MetroPoris

This session happened within the "Experimental happening" organized by the "Figures of Touch" Academy research project of the Pori department of Art and Media. We did the lecture as an urban dérive, following however a somewhat pre-organized route based on student's answer to the question: Where is Pori a metropolis?

The dérive:

1. Annis ja Rakastajat-teatteri: Underground culture - kellarikulttuuri
a. "resistance comes always first".
b. creative class and urban space

2. Bar Kino: movie and metropolis

3. Sokos Hotel: strangers

At this stage we had already shifted and went first to 3. Sokos Hotel, then 2. to Bar Kino...

4. The Promenade: non-places
5. Sokos mall and spitting and loitering kids: suburbs and global metropolis

6. Roundabouts: circulation and movement
7. Yyteri and Kirjurinluoto: megalomania and happenings
8. A4 and development projects: hybrid economy

9. Puuvilla: from fordist industrialism to global information capitalism.

Links to references and sources on the right.

22.9. Creative work and workers.

This session was held in collaboration with Marjo Mäenpää's course CBM Concept Design, and with Visual culture MA program course Interaction of theory and art - "Tekijyys" or "Artistic practice" in Reposaari.

Marjo spoke of collective creativity and remix-culture. Taina about intellectual and immaterial work. Here again below some excerpts, and references and links on the right hand side.

Students also did a group task: the discussed in groups listing based on their own experience as immaterial information workers characteristics of work in relation to 1) space, 2) time, and 3) network of relations. On the basis of this they wrote a story of a fictional immaterial worker - some diaries, a cartoon, an essay by the son of an immaterial worker.

Listing here general characteristics of new immaterial work:

1. Work is not a specific activity - it is about general human abilities that are put to work, intellect, ability to language, feelings etc.
2. Work does not happen in a specific place reserved for working.
3. Work does not happen in a specific time reserved for working.
4. It is not about making a specific end-product, but about potentialities, that what is new and emerging.
5. Work has no specific individual subject: the subject of work is always a plurality, a multitude, a collective.

and requirements:

1. work requires ability to collaborate
2. it requires ability to imitate and recycle, be an opportunist
3. it requires innovativeness, ability to take risks
4. and it requires something extra, something that cannot be reduced to the task at hand - virtuosity.

Bologna: "Second-generation self-employed workers are members of what are known as »non-regulated professions«. Despite fifteen years of mandatory contributions, which have been increased significantly by Prodi’s government, they are only eligible for paltry benefits from the social security system. They have no form of self-protection – that is also a consequence of their fragmentation. We distinguish between the self-employed who can move freely on the »skills market«, the pseudo self-employed (who work, for example, for a single client and invoice the client every month) and casual workers/jobbers, who experience precarity as a »normal state of affairs«. Basically however all these groups are exposed to risk and the insecurity associated with precarisation.

A typical feature of the post-Fordist era is to-ing and fro-ing between various different employment relations, which has become necessary to secure one’s livelihood: sometimes one is an employee in a wage-based contractual relationship, then self-employed again, then unemployed once more etc."

15.9. Creative Economy or information capitalism

Jussi Vähämäki gave a lecture on the topic. You can find some of his writings - among others - in the blog Itsen alistus (in Finnish), especially his latest book Itsen alistus as an audio-book. In addition He has published Kuhnurien kerho (2003) and Odotustila (2005, with Jakke Holvas), plus several other articles and presentations on the subject.

8.9. Creative mind: what is creativity all about?

The first session was a lecture based on some texts referred to on the lists in the right hand column. Here are some excerpts of some central points made:

Marion von Osten: "I do not think that there is such a thing as 'the creative industries' yet, but rather a discourse around culture and economy based on an international desire to realize the creative industries as an actuality. ... Social competency, creativity and intelligence are increasingly represented as separate abstract units and understood as being learned or already possessed by the Post-Fordist workers. Broader questions of what is achieved through these abilities or why and for whom they are directed, seem to be of no relevance."

Matteo Pasquinelli: "The original 1998 definition adopted by the Creative Industries Task Force set up by Tony Blair stated: "Those industries that have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property". As you can see, social creativity remains largely left out of that definition: after many years Tony Blair is still stealing your ideas."

Enzo Rullani: Modernity/ modern society has been enormously successful and productive, thanks to fundamental separation and limitation of different fields of expertise, institutions, knowledge. Each field operates within its own terrain, parting from its own understanding: e.g. economy operates with an economical logic. The problem and eventual crisis comes from the simultaneous growth within these specialized fields - and the complete inability to take into account things that are excluded from those fields or phenomena and issues concerning the influence the fields have on each other. What is excluded are things that are global and complex - like people, ecologies, "commons", public goods; or unique, local and singular - like personal networks, local communities, shared meanings.

Gregory Bateson: "In no system which shows mental characteristics can any part have unilateral control over the whole. In other words, the mental characteristics of the system are immanent, not in some part, but in the system as a whole.

This total system, or ensemble, may legitimately be said to show mental characteristics. It operates by trial and error and has creative character.

Similarly, we may say that “mind” is immanent in those circuits of the brain which are complete within the brain. Or that mind is immanent in circuits which are complete within the system, brain plus body. Or, finally, that mind is immanent in the larger system—man plus environment.
Mind is a necessary, an inevitable function of the appropriate complexity, wherever that complexity occurs. But that complexity occurs in a great many other places besides the inside of my head and yours. We’ll come later to the question of whether a man or a computer has a mind. For the moment, let me say that a redwood forest or a coral reef with its aggregate of organisms interlocking in their relationships has the necessary general structure. 

If, now, we correct the Darwinian unit of survival to include the environment and the interaction between organism and environment, a very strange and surprising identity emerges: the unit of evolutionary survival turns out to be identical with the unit of mind.

Formerly we thought of a hierarchy of taxa—individual, family line, subspecies, species, etc.—as units of survival. We now see a different hierarchy of units—gene- in-organism, organism-in-environment, ecosystem, etc. Ecology, in the widest sense, turns out to be the study of the interaction and survival of ideas and programs (i.e., differences, complexes of differences, etc.) in circuits.

Let us now consider what happens when you make the epistemological error of choosing the wrong unit: you end up with the species versus the other species around it or versus the environment in which it operates. Man against nature. You end up, in fact, with Kaneohe Bay polluted, Lake Erie a slimy green mess, and “Let’s build bigger atom bombs to kill off the next-door neighbors.” There is an ecology of bad ideas, just as there is an ecology of weeds, and it is characteristic of the system that basic error propagates itself. It branches out like a rooted parasite through the tissues of life, and everything gets into a rather peculiar mess. When you narrow down your epistemology and act on the premise “What interests me is me, or my organization, or my species,” you chop off consideration of other loops of the loop structure. You decide that you want to get rid of the by-products of human life and that Lake Erie will be a good place to put them. You forget that the eco-mental system called Lake Erie is a part of your wider eco-mental system—and that if Lake Erie is driven insane, its insanity is incorporated in the larger system of your thought and experience."

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Creative Alternatives: what is it about and program for the course

The course serves as an introduction about basic thoughts and tools we will need to see and think ourselves as actors in the general and vague field of "creative economy". What do we mean with it - why are we interested in it - what can we do about it? Beyond a general attitude of "take the money and run".

We need to find a sustainable and intelligent, even critical and creative attitude towards economy, creative business, enterprise. We need to understand the world we live in - because we're about to contribute to it's making.

To pass the course you will be expected to be present, and active. I have invited some experts to talk, both as visitors and as panelists in the final discussion: use the possibility and ask them all the questions you have always wanted! And finally I will ask for an essay on a given topic.
Remember also to give feedback!

Program for the course:

8.9. Creative mind: what is creativity all about.
15.9. Creative economy: Jussi Vähämäki will speak about the "new" global information economy.
22.9. Creative work and workers: workshopping about what it means to belong to the "second generation autonomous workers". This will take place in Reposaari, in collaboration with the VKM course on "Interaction of theory and art", focusing on one's identity as a "maker".
29.9. Creative City: within the "Experimental happening" we will experiment with cityspace and creative economy.
6.10 Creative Alternatives: Panel discussion involving people who sustain themselves within "creative" field between economy and non-economy.