Generatieve verbeelding (vertaling volgt!)

<deze tekst bevat wellicht nog enkele conceptuele onduidelijkheden! 17/07/02022>

Extending David Bohm & David Peat’s notion of generative order (see next section), I am using the term ‘generative imagination’ to point to the potential quality of human consciousness with which one can deeply participate in the generation of one’s reality (and one’s culture/society). This means not only artistically but also as a way of being in and of the world.

Ordinary perception usually pretty much boils down to ‘explicate imagination’, meaning that the perceived, shared reality unfolds in consciousness i.e. perception predominantly falls back on memory, habituated patterns, tacit cultural and personal knowledge. The capacity to look afresh is still there, albeit underneath the calcifications of habit – stored patterns and images. Only when something really stands out from the regular, this mostly unconscious system gets shook and one needs to reconsider one’s perception and feelings of awe or fear come up, usually very briefly, before an appropriate image replaces and dulls this experience.

Now, it is possible to move one’s attention ‘upstream’, toward the more generative order out of which ordinary perception flows. As a result, imagination can become more and more generative in nature, i.e. one is able to look at the world afresh and not take everything for granted. Certain aspects may reveal themselves spontaneously, altering the reality that unfolds. In other words, awareness is capable of more deeply participating in the imagining process, consciously enfolding the aspects it deems relevant. Hence, imagination can move upstream and become much more generative, temporarily or permanently, and thus a more creative gaze can ensue.

When it comes to artistic creativity, the quality of imagination can go from explicate (e.g. photorealism) to  ‘replicate’ (e.g. hyperrealism and  most post-modern photography-based painting) to generative (e.g. certain abstract art, inscendental art, …). A mixed variety is also possible of course in a work of art or a body of work.
Art movements such as Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism are mainly preoccupied with awareness of aspects involving explicate imagination, replicating some of these aspects, uncovering generative orders that were hitherto hidden or unexplored. To our knowing, art forms going farther upstream, examining the generation of space and time, are largely unexplored. Cézanne to this day is one of the few artists known for his work in that direction. David Hockney’s later periods are also a great example of generative imagination at play.

Note: most of my artwork stems from generative imagination firmly rooted in the body , meaning that my creativity is embodied and bound by bodily and mental intuitions. Imagination always involves a more physical/somatic component, but this can wildly vary. Abstract art, for example, is largely a mental affair.

Related concepts:

• Goethe’s dynamic way of seeing
• Coleridge’s esemplastic (unifying) power of imagination
• J. Krishnamurti’s direct perception (“looking afresh”)

Generatieve orde

“[Generative order] is concerned with a deeper and more inward order out of which the manifest form of things can emerge creatively.
Indeed this order is fundamentally relevant both in nature and in consciousness. ” (Science, Order & Creativity 2nd ed. p. 151)

“Science, Order & Creativity” (2nd edition), David Bohm & F. David Peat