Creative Journal needs a creative mind

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007 (Posted 14 years, 5 months ago)

What is Creative Journal? Creative Journal had a negative denotation for me at the early stage. I took Creative Journal as a piece of homework at the beginning because I did not understand why should I keep writing it every week, and who am I writing for. So I treated it as something that I had a duty to do.

Why I am writing? The uncertainty of writing became my motivation towards writing. Now I have a very positive feeling towards it. I realised that I am not writing for anyone but rather for myself. Whenever I read a good article, come back from a fantastic exhibition or have had an exciting discussion with course-mates, they all become very good resources for it. Gradually, the creative journal became one of my hobbies which records my thoughts, builds up my ideas and also keeps my mind busy with controversial issues within contemporary society.

Creative journal helps me to think seriously about what I have perceived, heard and also when I have given my own opinions towards contemporary issues. It differs from essays, one can write freely without restrictions from particular topics.
However, the fact is that I found all the subjects of which I am interested, actually interact with each other. For example I have been interested in whether Chinese contemporary architecture has been influenced by the Western idea of modernity. Meanwhile, I also keen to research whether Chinese contemporary art has its own identity or if it may be seen as a copy of the Western phenomenon. Both topics are relevant to the study of visual culture, and both issues had obvious effects in the City in China today.

Creative Journals help me to review what I have studied in the past, and make connections with similar contexts. It naturally draws a visual mind map for me, which helps me to analyze my mind and thinking.

Nevertheless, I have also met difficulties through writing. It was difficult to talk about things objectively. A piece of creative journal can be from a very personal point of view. However, I think it is good to not repeat what has been said in history, instead, to develop one’s own thought further based on today’s issues in various situations.

Theories are still very crucial for supporting one’s ideas and also to help to reveal contemporary issues. I also enjoyed in studying thinkers with differing viewpoints. Researching on a very specific subject can lead one into depth in this study area. Moreover, through long-term research, one may gain unexpected knowledge and find more interests. For example I wrote a series of discussions about ‘YCA (Young Chinese Artists) is on its way’, which is quite different from my studies of feminism. These require different style of wiring.

Among various subjects, I have been interested in the Chinese contemporary art market, in terms of how it has dramatically developed through the last 30 years. It has many influences from within and also outside of China. When Chinese indigenous culture suddenly becomes a source of creative motivation for Chinese artists, and their artworks become products, and these products are brought to the international market, afterwards, this market becomes hotter and hotter. I really want to know the reasons behind this.

In terms of Chinese contemporary art history, it is fascinating to see who is making it and how it has been constructed.

With my language advantage, I am also able to compare and contrast different ideas and philosophies towards contemporary art from the West and China. I have found that language plays an important role in terms of exchanging ideas. From many articles in Chinese publications, I have discovered how the Chinese perceive contemporary art. As Chinese contemporary art gradually becomes popular in the West today, many Western critics have had their attention drawn to it. One can easily come across art reviews or critical essays in many famous English-language art and theory magazines today, such as Art Forum, Art in America, Radical Philosophy and so on.

I feel fortunate that I am studying art theory and am able to associate with various viewpoints from both the Chinese and the Western sides towards contemporary art. Since then, I have not been satisfied with just being an observer. I have tried to apply my knowledge to them by using what I have learned through this course. For example, in ‘A Fake Conversation’, I joined the conversation among art critics (in this case Richard Vine and Christopher Phillips) and presented my own opinions. Another example will be ‘ “Aftershock” shocked me’ – a series of criticisms on the YBA British Contemporary Art show which is held in China this year. I focused on the fact that Tracy Emin’s ‘my bed’ was ‘castrated’ when the Chinese version of it appeared, and I reviewed in English in how the Chinese media presented this show. With the aim of encouraging Young Chinese Artists to be more creative and groundbreaking, one may sense the new cultural imperialism is coming in by the back door with the show.

Feminism studies is also one of my favourite subjects. It was quite shocking after studying feminism in art in the West. Women were not included in the Art circle for a long term throughout art history. In my journal, I took the opportunity to compare two compelling thinkers to show the ‘sexual difference’ between Luce Irigaray and Judith Butler. This helped me to obtain knowledge about Western cultural background as well as to look at contemporary art through this perspective.

I believe that creative journal needs a creative mind. A creative mind is not about thinking randomly, it will be developed little by little by continually writing it and being passionate, active and critical about one’s interests.

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