“Is Anybody Talking About Originality?” asks a recent post at click opera about creativity. Comparing the myth of masturbators who suffer from palm hair growth, imomus describes a “similar trope” from the psychometric research into creativity.
For educational psychologist Gary A. Davis, “personality characteristics of creative people include awareness of their creativity, originality, independence, risk taking, personal energy, curiosity, humour, attraction to complexity and novelty, artistic sense, open-mindedness, need for privacy, and heightened perception”. The first sign of creativity, you might say, is believing in it, the second is looking for it. Belief in originality is productive of originality.
Momus goes on to look at a number of randomly chosen Frieze reviews, before concluding originality as alive, but low on a critics’ list of attributes for which to look. “Postmodern appropriation and referentiality seems to have bumped it down the priorities list, and I’d argue that where it isn’t looked for, originality won’t flourish,” he writes. “If nobody’s even talking about the hairs on your palm, they might as well not exist.”
Notably, writing a post exploring the idea of originality’s fading consequence seems wholly relevant because we still buy its connection to creativity. A need for privacy, however– also listed by psychologist Gary A. Davis as an attribute amongst creative people– seems much more dubious, particularly in the age of Facebook. In fact, as it pertains to creativity, nobody’s discussing the matter at all. I expect this comes from the perception that increased communication (which tends to accompany a decrease in privacy) aids the creative process. Probably the best evidence of this social trend exists not in art reviews, but on lefty dating sites. Virtually everyone seeks to woo by describing their consumption of media as large and listing various communication devices they can’t do without.
But where does all this leave privacy and the creative process? As far as I can tell, nobody buys into the concept enough to have even asked. In other words, those hairs on your palm? They don’t exist.