Context: The idea for this article sprang from a desire to revive a conversation with the late Ernst von Glasersfeld on the heuristic function - and epistemological status - of forms of ideations that resist linguistic or empirical scrutiny. A close look into the uses of humor seemed a thread worth pursuing, albeit tenuous, to further explore some of the controversies surrounding the evocative power of the imaginal and other oblique forms of knowing characteristic of creative individuals. Problem: People generally respond to humor, i.e., they are inclined to smile at things they find funny. People like to crack jokes, make puns, and, starting at age two, human infants engage in pretense or fantasy play. Research on creativity, on the other hand, has mostly scorned the trickster within. Cognitivists in particular are quick to relegate wit, whimsy, and even playfulness to the ranks of artful or poetic frivolities. Method: We use the emblems of the craftsman, the trickster, and the poet to highlight some of the oblique ways of knowing by which creative thinkers bring forth new insights. Each epitomizes dimensions intrinsic to the art of “possibilizing.” Taken together, they help us better understand what it means to be playful beyond curious, rigorous beyond reasonable, and why this should matter, even to constructivists! Results: The musings characteristic of creative individuals (artists, scientists, children) speak to intelligent beings’ ability to use glitches intentionally or serendipitously as a means to open up possibilities; to hold on to a thought before spelling it out; and to resist treating words or images as conventional and arbitrary signs regardless of their evocative power. To fall into nominalism, Bachelard insisted, is a poet’s nightmare! Implications: Psyche is image, said Jung, and when we feel alive we rely on the imaginal to guide our reason. Note that image is not here to be understood as a picture in the head or a photographic snapshot of the world. The imaginal does not represent, it brings forth what we understand beyond words. It does not lock us into a single mode. Instead, it is a call to be mindful, in Ellen Langer’s sense: in the present, mentally alert, and on the outlook for our psyche’s own surprising wisdom (sagacity. Constructivist content: Debates on the heuristic function and epistemological status of oblique ways of knowing have long occupied constructivist scholars. I can only guess whether my uses of Jung’s imaginal or Bachelard’s anti-nominalism would have amused or exasperated Ernst! I do know that, on occasion, Ernst the connoisseur, bricoleur, and translator allowed the rationalist-within to include the poet’s power to evoke as a legitimate form of rationality. He himself has written about oblique knowing as legit!
In this paper two swarm intelligence algorithms are used, the first leading the “attention” of the swarm and the latter responsible for the tracing mechanism. The attention mechanism is coordinated by agents of Stochastic Diffusion Search where they selectively attend to areas of a digital canvas (with line drawings) which contains (sharper) corners. Once the swarm’s attention is drawn to the line of interest with a sharp corner, the corresponding line segment is fed into the tracing algorithm, Dispersive Flies Optimisation which “consumes” the input in order to generate a “swarmic sketch” of the input line. The sketching process is the result of the “flies” leaving traces of their movements on the digital canvas which are then revisited repeatedly in an attempt to re-sketch the traces they left. This cyclic process is then introduced in the context of autopoiesis, where the philosophical aspects of the autopoietic artist are discussed. The autopoetic artist is described in two modalities: gluttonous and contented. In the Gluttonous Autopoietic Artist mode, by iteratively focussing on areas-of-rich-complexity, as the decoding process of the input sketch unfolds, it leads to a less complex structure which ultimately results in an empty canvas; therein reifying the artwork’s “death”. In the Contented Autopoietic Artist mode, by refocussing the autopoietic artist’s reflections on “meaning” onto different constitutive elements, and modifying her reconstitution, different behaviours of autopoietic creativity can be induced and therefore, the autopoietic processes become less likely to fade away and more open-ended in their creative endeavour.
Open peer commentary on the article “Creativity in Solving Short Tasks for Learning Computational Thinking” by Valentina Dagienė, Gerald Futschek & Gabrielė Stupurienė. Abstract: Computational thinking (CT) skills are nowadays strongly advocated for educational institutions at all levels. CT refers broadly to skills of thinking about the world from a computational perspective, however, not necessarily referring to programming skills in particular. There is still a lack of consensus about what CT means, and how CT should be taught. This open peer commentary briefly discusses some ongoing trends of CT in response to the target article, which reports development, field testing and piloting of an extensive set of new learning materials for teaching CT. Recent calls for interdisciplinary technology education, creativity and open-ended problem solving in CT are highlighted.
Arnellos A. & Darzentas J. (2007) Exploring Creativity in the Design Process: A Systems-Semiotic Perspective. Cybernetics & Human Knowing 14(1): 37–64. https://cepa.info/3329
This paper attempts to establish a systems-semiotic framework explaining creativity in the design process, where the design process is considered to have as its basis the cognitive process. The design process is considered as the interaction between two or more cognitive systems resulting in a purposeful and ongoing transformation of their already complex representational structures and the production of newer ones, in order to ful?ll an ill-defined goal. Creativity is considered as the result of an emergence of organizational complexity in each cognitive system participating in the design process, while it is trying to purposefully incorporate new constraints in its meaning structures. The meanings generated in each system are identi?ed as the contingent and anticipatory content of its representations, and where self-organization is the dominant process in which they are continuously involved. Furthermore, Peircean semiotic processes appear to provide the functionality needed by the emergent representational structures in order to complete the cycle of a creative design process. Creativity originates in the abductive stage of the semiotic process, the fallible nature of which is maintained in the proposed framework by the fact that the respective emergent representations can be mis?ts. The nodal points of the framework are identified and analyzed showing that a cognitive system needs the whole interactive anticipatory cycle in order to engage in a creative design process.
The notion that human activity can be characterised in terms of dynamic systems is a well-established alternative to motor schema approaches. Key to a dynamic systems approach is the idea that a system seeks to achieve stable states in the face of perturbation. While such an approach can apply to physical activity, it can be challenging to accept that dynamic systems also describe cognitive activity. In this paper, we argue that creativity, which could be construed as a ‘cognitive’ activity par excellence, arises from the dynamic systems involved in jewellery making. Knowing whether an action has been completed to a ‘good’ standard is a significant issue in considering acts in creative disciplines. When making a piece of jewellery, there a several criteria which can define ‘good’. These are not only the aesthetics of the finished piece but also the impact of earlier actions on subsequent ones. This suggests that the manner in which an action is coordinated is influenced by the criteria by which the product is judged. We see these criteria as indicating states for the system, e.g. in terms of a space of ‘good’ outcomes and a complementary space of ‘bad’ outcomes. The skill of the craftworker is to navigate this space of available states in such a way as to minimise risk, effort and other costs and maximise benefit and quality of the outcome. In terms of postphenomonology, this paper explores Ihde’s human-technology relations and relates these to the concepts developed here.
This paper describes a transdisciplinary theoretical-practical research, which address on the discussion about the possible applications of Multi-agent Systems, underlying the Maturana and Varela’s autopoietic concept considering the achievement of emergent results as heuristics to creativity. Autopoiesis (from the Greek “auto” which means “itself” and “poiesis” which means “creation”) describes the autonomous systems, able to self-reproduce and self-regulate, while iterating with the environment. In order to explore those concepts, we present Zer0, a game that invites the player to drift in a universe ruled by geometric shapes. Through interactions with other shapes, the player is able to evolve from a single line shape to more complex ones. Zer0 is a multi-agent system able to compose emergent music in real time. As interactions occur, chain reactions create the game soundtrack. There are two main agents involved: the player and the other shapes. While the player enjoys the ride, the other shapes are trying to interact with each other in order to expand their lifespan. The communication between agents is made through generated pulses, which are emitted by them and also serves as sonar, in order to perceive the environment.
Bersini H. & Varela F. J. (1991) Hints for adaptive problem solving gleaned from immune networks. In: Schwefel H.-P. & Männer R. (eds.) Parallel Problem Solving from Nature, Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 496. Springer Verlag, Berlin: 343–354. https://cepa.info/1964
Biology gives us numerous examples of self-assertional systems whose essence does not precede their existence but is rather revealed through it. Immune system is one of them. The fact of behaving in order not only to satisfy external constraints as a pre-fixed set of possible environments and objectives, but also to satisfy internal “viability” constraints justifies a sharper focus. Adaptability, creativity and memory are certainly interesting “side-effects” of such a tendency for self-consistency. However in this paper, we adopted a largely pragmatic attitude attempting to find the best hybridizing between the biological lessons and the engineering needs. The great difficulty, also shared by neural net and GA users, remains the precise localisation of the frontier where the biological reality must give way to a directed design.
Bishop M. J. & al-Rifaie M. M. (2017) Autopoiesis, creativity and dance. Connection Science 29(1): 21–35.
For many years three key aspects of creative processes have been glossed over by theorists eager to avoid the mystery of consciousness and instead embrace an implicitly more formal, computational vision: autonomy, phenomenality and the temporally embedded and bounded nature of creative processes. In this paper we will discuss autopoiesis and creativity; an alternative metaphor which we suggest offers new insight into these long overlooked aspects of the creative processes in humans and the machine, and examine the metaphor in the context of dance choreography.
Open peer commentary on the article “Creativity in Solving Short Tasks for Learning Computational Thinking” by Valentina Dagienė, Gerald Futschek & Gabrielė Stupurienė. Abstract: Teaching computing concepts and computational thinking via short tasks could be considered as an implementation of a minimalism movement in education. Minimalism in this context does not mean less educational or less creative. This commentary will attempt to provide additional insights of minimalism in the form of cards with short tasks, supported by personal experience at university level.
Brocklesby J. (2007) The theoretical underpinnings of soft systems methodology-comparing the work of Geoffrey Vickers and Humberto Maturana. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 24(2): 157–169. https://cepa.info/2800
This paper seeks to juxtapose the work of Sir Geoffrey Vickers and Humberto Maturana with a view to thinking more about the theoretical underpinnings of Peter Checkland’s soft systems methodology (SSM) and of soft systems and soft operational research more generally. The paper argues that Maturana’s ‘Theory of the Observer’ can usefully complement Vickers by specifying more precisely the nature of the cognitive structures that underpin people’s descriptions of situations, by clarifying the relationship between cognitive creativity and the historical and relational constraints that bear upon people’s descriptions and explanations, and by providing a more complete description of the dynamics that underpin individual and social learning.