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The Column icon The Column: Issue 22

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The Column is a monthly feature that explores the world of creativity and aesthetics.

Creative Sense
Mike de Sousa, Director, AbleStable

Of our five senses, some are used in creative activity more generally than others. The more we consider how our senses are used, the more we come to understand our world and expression of it.

Our Take on the World

The correlation between the 'creative senses' and those senses we most value uncovers our own particular nature.
Some respond to visual stimuli more strongly than to sounds. For others the most powerful sense is touch, taste, or smell. Our take on the world is defined by our particular nature, that is, how our bodies are built and our senses are wired. For those like me whose sense of smell is weak, the correlating experiences are of less importance. Eating is simply not as enjoyable to me as watching a movie.

Point of View

Creative activity (eg. choreography) may require different senses than experiencing the products of creative activity (eg. dance). For example, touch in choreography
is a fundamental sense that is required to create the dance (not necessarily the touch of others, but of the floor and the body as it experiences the force of gravity that defines the limits of dance). For those that view dance, touch does not play a part.

Each creative activity has at its core, a commonly shared experience, for music this is our sense of hearing. That said, there are occasions when an unexpected sense is used as the meeting place between the creative product and the person experiencing it. For example, the deaf musician Evelyn Glennie is more attuned to 'listening' to vibration that moves her body than those who hear without difficulty.

Creative Areas and Disciplines

features a directory of creative professionals. The directory is organised into 'Creative Areas' and 'Disciplines'. Creative Areas are broad creative categories, Disciplines are creative services and/or products offered by creative people. The distinction is important. We experience creative areas, we create within the confines of a discipline.

Each creative area has many related disciplines, some of which may also appear in other creative areas. For example, the discipline Lighting Design appears in the creative areas Buildings, Dance, Design, Exhibitions, Film, Music Video, Television, and Theatre. Other disciplines only appear in one creative area, for example Painting only appears in the creative area 'Visual Art'.

Click the following link to view all Creative Areas and Disciplines [opens new window].

The Dominant Senses

It's clear from the table that follows, certain senses are used far more than others in creative activity. That's not to say those senses are most significant on a personal level.

Creative Areas: Our Sensory Experience

The following table touches on the relationships between ourselves and creative products.

Creative Area
both a sensory and cerebral activity
[ ]
primarily required in the creative process
|| ||
primarily a cerebral activity
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
Music Video
[ ]
Visual Art
[ ]
|| ||
|| ||
|| ||
|| ||
|| ||

I've not used the word 'art' before in this column. Perhaps some may not view certain creative activities in the table above as art. The value however is not in definition, but in the consideration of how we experience the world. There are no facts, only ideas. We sense the world in our attempt to make sense of it...


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Authors background
Mike de Sousa is the Director of AbleStable®. Mike has been commissioned as an artist, music composer, photographer, print and web site designer, and author.

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