Thursday, November 12, 2009
The creative city concept aims to restructure urban economies toward new synergies between culture and economy. In an age of globalization and information flows, the creative cities framework articulates coordination among knowledge industries, investment and real estate sectors, creative practitioners across the arts and entertainment, architects and planners, government officials and diverse community members to create an economically and culturally viable and attractive city, particularly for the ‘creative classes.’ The Creative City is an idea motivated by dynamics of a competitive global economy (neo-liberalism) where wealth and power predicate on the dominance of knowledge, information and image production.
... a city with potential and ability to offer opportunities for its residents and visitors to explore social, economic, political and cultural avenues within its cosmopolitan spaces. A creative city thrives on partnerships with private firms and the goodwill of the public.
Imaginary, visionary or original? These words all resonant a sense of creativityyet, how can we describe the creative city? Perhaps the Creative City can bestbe defined by examining the words separately. When I think of City I think of apopulated area with geographical boundaries. The core of cities tends to be morepopulated than its peripheries and perhaps these peripheries than creates a newcity. My perspective of city includes that of a polity as opposed to theattributes of the polity.Nevertheless, the word Creative, resonates a very unique and differentdefinition. Creativity comprises a type of innovation and explosion of diverseattributes, personalities and cultures. This can include the way in whichcertain institutions are developed, used and transformed within a city. Theinstitutions that make up for example, Toronto can include but is not limitedto: the government, various office buildings, the university, the hospital, themall and the transportation system. Yet, when we think of these institutionscreativity is bound to be apart of its inception. It is these different aspectsof a city that make it unique. Everything in Toronto is exactly what makes itcreative. Creativity encompasses a sense of inclusiveness and belongingness tosomething that is truly unexplainable. The inability to define creativity isexactly what makes something mystical and truly inspirational.
By: Angelica Radjenovic
conceptions is something that, I agree, seems to only be catching on in the
mainstream and policy circles now.
The Creative City
I think of the Creative City in somewhat interconnected, somewhat competing
For instance, if I base my understanding on my own interpretation of how
creative and non intersect, I come up with the Creative City as a new plan for
negotiating meanings: cultural meanings, artistic meanings, economic meanings,
political meanings, identity meanings, philosophical meaning and
socio-psychological meanings. Essentially, we all engage in dynamics of power
and negotiation every day of our lives. Up to now, as you say, we have left it
up to artists to be the main interpreters of the world around and inside of us.
Then various members of our society take those interpretations and re-interpret
them to somehow fit their sphere of experience, be it economic, political,
social and so forth...
So we have non-artists interpreting the work of artists into things that are
meaningful and useful to them: like the way a song becomes an anthem, becomes a
movement, becomes a political revolution; or he way a painting becomes a vision
for the world, becomes a way of seeing things, becomes a mantra, becomes a way
of doing business...
The Creative City for me has been, up to now, a movement about a way of
organizing city life to more readily incorporate artistic interpretations into
real-world manifestations that serve what we normally conceive of as
non-artistic ends. Despite the movement being focused heavily on Richard
Florida's own vision or interpretation, the rest of us can use this momentum to
insert our own artistic, or non-artistic interpretations and applications onto
the world scene. We start with our city as the hub of our own daily experience,
and sometimes our visions gain a life beyond our cities.
As Taunya so eloquently notes, the important thing to note is that some
interpretations get more lift than others, and so we should be both cognizant
of this power differential, and hopeful that everyone will eventually be able
to contribute to equalizing it, expanding it, and enriching it further.
In the simplest terms, I've always thought of creativity as a set of connections - and the challenge of creativity as trying to go beyond the obvious connections and lead to the creation of something new, innovative.
How does this lead into the city? What are the elements of the city that lead to these connections? What are the obstacles that stand in the way of these connections? Are we only now starting to value the importance and relevance of these connections - because of media, knowledge society, globalization of information etc. ? Hence the idea of Creative City is suddenly in the spotlight...
Could our focus be on the connections that have been happening all along - in the form of physical encounters, organic intellectuals - in places like the trane, drake, gladstone etc. ? The Creative City that always was.
Can the Creative City now survive without these places or do they still play their very relevant part?
A Creative City
a diverse metropolitan that continually fosters permanent and impermanent public acts of creativity - benefits from an economic infrastructure, able to support (compensate) creative endevours. A Creative City, at its core, focuses on the interaction of creative publics. A Creative Economy, while it aims to stimulate a Creative City as industry, also discriminates between desirable publics. It promotes a knowledge economy (in place of traditional, industrial labour - employed by 'lower-class' workers), citizens with post-secondary education (over 'experience'), begins by increasing investments in the "most important heritage buildings" as deemed by a select City Council, and often favours 'cosmopolitan' works to Indigenous art. A Creative Economy is fundamentally concerned with stimulating commerce, with creativity as a byproduct.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
(below, parts of a short-story displayed on the factory wall in Liberty Village)
Where did the time go? I never even posted my pics of Luminato!
Here are some pics of 2009 Nuit Blanche and 2009 Luminato, in two separate posts.
Kaleidoscopic views of the contents of a dryer, Queen St. West.
View inside and outside the cone structure, Liberty Village.
There is also video of people singing into this structure in the above post.
Building homes from boxes, working with same tools as the homeless, Liberty Village.
Though many people were disappointed with this year's Nuit Blanche, I can't say I agree.
Last year I was in the downtown core. It was my first Nuit Blanche and I was by myself. I was mesmerized, and I really did not expect to enjoy the second one as much. I was supposed to meet up with people this year, but because it was so loud and crazy I never heard my phone ring. So I wandered alone through this maze of people, art installations and festive cheer.
I can't say I felt alone or bored, or let down, since it was just as fun and thought-provoking as the year before. This year I was in Zone C, Queen west and Liberty village. The streets were packed with people who, for reasons more enlightened and interesting than the usual, were partying it up. Sure the clubs and bars were still open, and packed, but so were the streets, galleries, salons, restaurants, shops and food-stands. The venues that did not officially participate did not let that stop them from contributing art pieces, installations, music or performances to the evenings' festivities.
The rejects from the official festival either simply set up shop somewhere, or joined a network of rejects (called officially "Les Rues Des Refuses" [sic] ) who help each other to find venues or outdoor locations for their own installations. See the map for this year's LRDR.
My question is, did anyone ever witness this kind of public outpouring of art from the non-commissioned, or rejected artists at Luminato? Anyone who has attended both could clearly see that there is no comparison. Why is that? What makes Nuit Blanche so spectacularly special that it encourages artists to spontaneously create and promote? I remember one artist in particular on Queen street, a photographer named Thom Hamilton, who decided to take a picture a day for the hundred days leading up to his departure from Toronto. He displayed them in an alley and put up a poster with his name and an explanation of the project, and that's it. Because of Nuit Blanche the crowds he got were amazing! I think of all the openings and wine and cheeze affairs I simply miss because it is difficult to get motivated to go out for one art event unless it is really big or special to you. Lesser-known artists could not hope to get nearly as many people to engage with their art unless a collective event of this size exists to draw people out.
So I avoided the big names, the long lineups, the commissioned works where inconvenient, and checked out local talent, festival rejects and uncommissioned works along the way. These were gems sometimes. Sometimes they were amusing, like the group honouring people along Queen street for anything at all. They welcomed people onto the podium and honoured them for...whatever! One girl was honoured for being "random". Some galleries had bands playing Led Zepplin covers that got crowds engaged in a way I could not imagine happening on just any old night at any old bar for any old ZEpplin cover band in Toronto. Let's face it, some of the excitement of the creations was simply a matter of atmosphere...but what an atmosphere!!!
I used to say, upon my return from China, I can see why new Chinese immigrants are so lonely here. In China everybody talks to everybody all the time, and people are everywhere at all hours of the night, especially in big cities. There are lights and noises that animate the most common streets. Ex-pats have something they refer to in many ways: "ex-pat syndrome", or "post-China blues" or "re-culture shock" or whatever you want to call it. They all refer to the same this, the loneliness and emptiness of North-American streets upon our return from the bussling Asian continent. We get used to it after a while, but the sense of loneliness, anomie, alienation, or isolation one experiences at a given point in their American lives is a result of our culture perhaps. Freedom of expression is the other part of our culture. My point is that in a country like Canada, as free as we are, we use relatively fewer opportunities to express it and exchange ideas about it than we could. The city of Toronto has offered us this amazing opportunity to engage together in the most fun way possible, and I still hear sooooooo many complaints about how we engaged, why, in what way, and why not in some other way, or what was WRONG with the way we engaged. I'm just amazed that such a free-spirited event, that was reminiscent of my "alone-but-never-lonely" experience in China did not garner the flood of positive reaction to equal the flood of positive artistic response. The artists stepped up and made the evening special, and the critics just did not get it I guess.