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Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Adrian Piper 1991 exhibit Decide Who You Are-"Skinned Alive"

Adrian Piper 1991 exhibit Decide Who You Are-“Skinned Alive”

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Adrian Piper is a first-generation conceptual artist and analytic philosopher who was born in New York City and lived for many years on Cape Cod, Massachusetts before emigrating from the United States to Germany. She began exhibiting her artwork internationally at the age of twenty, graduating from the School of Visual Arts in 1969 with an A.A. in Fine Art and a concentration in painting and sculpture. While continuing to produce and exhibit her artwork, Piper received a B.A. Summa Cum Laude with Research Honors in Philosophy and a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Musicology from the City College of New York in 1974. For graduate school in philosophy she attended Harvard University, where she received an M.A. in 1977 and a Ph.D. in 1981 under the supervision of John Rawls.

self portrait

self portrait

She also studied Kant and Hegel with Dieter Henrich at the University of Heidelberg in 1977-1978. Her formal education lasted a total of 27 years. Piper taught philosophy at Georgetown, Harvard, Michigan, Stanford, UCSD, and Wellesley College. Following in the steps of trailblazing pioneer Dr. Joyce Mitchell Cook, in 1987 she became the first tenured African American woman professor in the field of philosophy. But for her refusal to return to the United States while listed as a Suspicious Traveler on the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s Watch List, Wellesley forcibly terminated her tenured full professorship in philosophy in 2008. Since 2005, she has lived and worked in Berlin Germany, where she runs the APRA Foundation Berlin and edits The Berlin Journal of Philosophy.

Adrian Piper is also bi-racial. Much of the early focus of her artwork, became the interpersonal dynamics of racism and racial stereotyping, as seen here, in her video installation, “Cornered” (1988).

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Works that further explore racial themes include her pencil drawing “Self-Portrait Exaggerating My Negroid Features” (1981); her collective performance and video “Funk Lessons” (1982-4); her unannounced “Calling Card” interactive performances (1986–1990); her mixed media installation “Close to Home” (1987); her video installation Cornered (1988); and Vanilla Nightmares (1986–1989), her series of racially and sexually transgressive charcoal drawings on pages of the New York Times. Her first retrospective in 1987 at the Alternative Museum in New York, reintroduced the art public and a new generation of viewers to the media, strategies and preoccupations of first-generation Conceptual art.

And yet Piper is also well-known for her principal philosophical publications in metaethics, Kant, and the history of ethics. Her scholarly two-volume study in Kantian metaethics, “Rationality and the Structure of the Self, Volume I: The Humean Conception” and “Rationality and the Structure of the Self, Volume II: A Kantian Conception”, was accepted for publication by Cambridge University Press in 2008. “Rationality and the Structure of the Self” was the culmination of 34 years of work.

A multi-faceted woman and creative genius, Adrian Piper founded the Adrian Piper Research Archive (APRA) in 2002, after being diagnosed with a chronic, progressive, and incurable medical condition. Although the condition had vanished within two years after she emigrated to Germany in 2005, she continued to develop APRA as a personal and public resource for students, scholars, curators, collectors, writers, and members of the general public who have a constructive curiosity or scholarly or professional interest in her work and life.

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It is amazing for that one who’s talents and knowledge have been so demonstrated, that physical features such as skin color could ever play a negative role in her life.

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Psychology Today – “Why We Are Afraid of Creativity” by Michael Michalko

Once people establish a hypothesis about the way things are, they develop a deeply-rooted bias against anything that causes them to feel uncertain, anxious or confused about their pre-established hypothesis. The novelty of the new watch caused great uncertainty in the minds of the watchmakers. This bias against uncertainty is activated when people are asked to evaluate new, novel ideas and interferes with the participants’ ability to recognize a creative idea. The insidious nature of this bias is that there is strong societal pressure to endorse creativity and its products and a strong social desirability bias against expressing any view of creativity as negative. The resulting state is similar to that identified in research on racial bias; a conflict between an explicit preference towards creativity and unacknowledged negative associations with creativity…

Do people desire creative ideas and innovation today? Most us would answer with a loud ‘YES, OF COURSE’ asserting that creativity is the engine of discovery in the arts, science and industry, is the fundamental driving force of positive change, and associated with intelligence, wisdom, and goodness.

Still while most people strongly endorse a positive view of creativity, historians have discovered that scientific institutions, business, education, medical, military, nonprofit, political organizations, and leaders and decision-makers in all fields routinely reject creative ideas much like the Greeks rejected atomic theory

continue reading Psychology Today – “Why We Are Afraid of Creativity”

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Are creativity and suffering inherently linked? What are the obstacles which keep us from expressing our full aptitudes and that which is within? Is it the words and admonishments of others, or the thoughts in our own minds, which stop us in our tracks? Here are some thoughts from those who’ve successfully bypassed their fears to follow the Artist’s Way…

Elizabeth Gilbert’s address at TED Talks

Debra and Ari Seth Cohen discuss fears which block creativity

Of course, Julia Cameron wrote the book on creativity – The Artist’s Way.
She teaches a process of overcoming proscribed mindsets and negative self-talk, to retrieve the sense of integrity and empowerment, autonomy and abundance, that infuse all successful artists. Her program is worth a look, and excerpts from the twelve week course can be found on her website, The Artist’s Way.

One of Cameron’s more interesting concepts, is that of writing out “morning pages”. This is a practice of writing down all the thoughts that fill ones head, whatever they may be, emptying the mind of the worries and distractions holding us back. This isn’t journaling, per se. It’s simply a disgorgement of the clutter within and getting it outside our minds, filling her requirement of three sheets of paper, which may be kept, or tossed. I’ve found this practice fascinating and reveletory. She explains the morning pages process here. Even if you don’t participate in her program, I recommend a look at some of these ideas.

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The Hidden Treasure of Anger.

Great article. Well beyond the usual mantra “don’t hold on to your anger” and “holding grudges is bad for your health”, this story goes into why people get angry in the first place, which is oddly never discussed, but probably the most important issue.

What is the most skillful intention in relation to anger? In my view, it’s being interested in anger—your own and another’s. True anger is about unfairness, injustice, and intolerable treatment. Inquiring into the source of anger and trying to understand its message is very useful.”

Anger has unfortunately been confused or conflated with aggression, hatred, or rage—some of its more destructive siblings. Many people make the mistake of pushing away anger, being afraid that it will be destructive if expressed. Some may hyper-value silence as though it were its own virtue. Others may express aggression, blame, anxiety, or rage instead of anger. But if you have the skill to feel your feelings with a gentle acceptance of them, you are less likely to dissociate from your feelings or distance yourself from another in times of anger. You won’t have to hide your anger from yourself and you can learn about speaking it honestly and kindly—and about inquiring into your beloved’s anger at you.

In many ways, human anger is a treasure. The Greeks called it the “moral emotion” because they noted that animals did not possess it; animals, the Greeks observed, got aggressive and showed fight or flight reactivity. They did not get angry. Humans, on the other hand, could experience and express anger with its inherent reflective component: “I can see/know/feel that someone or something has wronged me.”

As a response to being wronged, anger is a boundary-setter that says, “Stop! I can’t tolerate this,” or, “This isn’t working for me.” It is not blaming the other or shaming the self. Often experienced first as a contraction in the throat, chest, stomach, or abdomen and a clenching of the fist, anger may be associated with the words “I can’t go on like this” seared into the mind.

Anger—sparked by injustice—is at the root of all protest movements, all major processes of change. In our most intimate relationships, when we or our loved ones experience or express anger, it is an opportunity to get to know one another better, to get closer and clearer, and to work with ourselves in a new way. It is an opportunity to ask ourselves, “Why am I feeling this?” “What needs to change here?” and “What do I need to do about it?”

Because anger is expressed at a moment of need, the person expressing it is vulnerable. If, when our partner is angry, we inquire into his need to be seen, treated, known, or held more wholly, dearly, or fairly, we have a chance of accepting our beloved more fully. In our closest relationships, our fate is bound up with the fate of the other. In Buddhist terms, our karma is interwoven and we cannot easily escape feeling the consequences of the beloved’s actions. It is a natural desire for us to want to keep our partner safe or happy, for both selfish and unselfish reasons. But, as a result, we have a tendency to want to control our beloved—and that often creates a sense of being unfairly treated.

Our closest relationships are the most challenging in our lives when it comes to practicing fairness, equality, and kindness. That is because in these intimate relationships, we always begin to get to know the other person (even if that person is an infant) through a process of psychological projection: seeing/feeling/experiencing the other through already familiar views, desires, and ideals. This is especially true in romantic love, where we “fall” in love through an idealizing projection and assume that the other is ideal for us and meets our needs in some particular or general way. When the other person does not do or become what we want, which is always the case, we can easily turn against him with hatred, rejection, or pain.

Working with anger skillfully can actually be very helpful in our not doing this.

Please read the rest of the article The Hidden Treasure of Anger. Good stuff!

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