Accepted paper:

Transgressing the grid - questioning context and comparison through the creativity of architects

Author:

Aina Landsverk Hagen (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

Architects operate with grids when they are drawing their ideas, “making nature” through creative acts. In aiming to compare the metaphysics of creativity with the everyday realities of inventing new cityscapes this paper asks: What is the context of the architect’s imagination of the real?

Paper long abstract:

Architects operate with grids when they are drawing their ideas, whether it's the lines in the urban landscape or the placing of furniture in an office landscape. In inventing new cityscapes architects are "making nature" through creative acts. According to scholars on creativity (e.g. Crapanzano, 2003) people are innovative when imagining something that is beyond the horizon of the known. The imagery of these theories resonates with Latour's idea of the vast hinterland of material that is simply unconnected, not yet formatted (2005). This he calls plasma. Anthropologists might call it just another context. What we are all aiming at is describing the outskirts of the relational grid, the transgression of the social terrain. But is this where creativity is located? Through looking at the everyday creative practices and discourses of landscape and interior architects in two branches of the same company, located in Norway and USA, and their continuous struggle to cut the networks of relations in order to be simultaneously innovative and effective, this paper argues that the conventional imagery of creativity through metaphors as "flow", "mobility" and "flexibility", disguise the real nature of idea making. Instead, in aiming to compare the metaphysics of creativity with the everyday realities of "making nature" this paper asks: What is the context of the architect's imagination? Through asking what is at the outskirts of the relational grid of the "real" anthropologists might also reveal the context of their own imagination.

panel W018
Confronting uncertainty: imagination in art and material culture