Curating Micro-narratives: The New Creativity
By: Dr Ampat Varghese Koshy
Creators will not create original work but engage in curating already existing work to CREATE ORIGINALITY.
My previous articles have dealt with canon- making (IWiE), with geographic and regional based (Keralite, Indian) writing, with poetry, with (Indian) criticism and theory, with different methods of reading and with the revelatory and revolutionary understanding that writing that makes its mark is usually no longer tradition(s)-upholding but subversive or transgresses, with its moral intent being on the side of what is beneficial for and in harmony with the whole cosmos and not just human beings.
In two of the articles I had spoken of new ways of reading that have been brought up by the fact that we have new media to read like films, TV, pages on the world wide web that we browse or trawl/troll or crawl through, videos, all starting with radio, media that deal not only with text, but image, movement, sound , music etc. This shift is best exemplified by talk of new media, alternate media ( to text/print) mixed media, hypermedia, visual media, auditory media, AV media etc. What has come to stay is mixed and hypermedia, being made even more refined with the coming of nano-media and mobile phone and tabs and chip and app technology. We are living in the post- digital age whether we like it or not and in this age creativity takes the front or driving seat and writing takes a back seat.
In this world of hyper-realism (Jean Baudrillard) and micro or mini-narratives ( Jean Francois Lyotard), new heroes are being thrown up who are dealing no more with the world of writing as we know it but are instead stakeholders in the world of creativity which is the real future.
The best example is Jawed Akhtar.
Jawed has one of the finest minds I have come across in a long time because he does something others have not thought of. The difference is they do it unconsciously in or on social media but he does it consciously making him king of the art. He CURATES the creative process. His most popular posts are micro or mini-narratives that go like this
1. He posts a series of connected pics.
2. He posts the name of the photographer or gives the source as links.
3. He posts, along with the pics, a series of fascinating quotes on the topic he wants us to think on from different books by different authors that are also well sourced and linked, that are of such a nature that one does not need to have read the books mentioned to enjoy them, but the real takeaway is the whole created by the quotes coming together in your mind in fascinating kaleidoscopic patterns that are tantalizingly incomplete and need you to fill in the dots.
4. He uses as a signature the idea of drinking coffee, using an icon.
5. He links words in the texts to other pages that lead sometimes to distractions and dead ends ( a critique, yes) but sometimes to fascinating detours. The danger here is the reader may get lost in these detours and not come back, and he has not yet learned to limit them or use them properly and powerfully to create maximum effect.
6. He gets as readers usually highly literate ones whose comments add to the richness of the tapestry he is weaving.
7. One is clearly in the presence of a new kind of use of modernist techniques like the collage, bricolage, assemblage, pastiche and montage. (But the stress is on the minimal time required for its consumption. Seemingly!)
8. He could do more, for example with tags, videos and audios or apps added but what he does is so startling, the pics speak so much, match so beautifully one another and the quotes and links, and the quotes and links add up to so much, while the comments are so interesting and the presentation so unique that one can only label him as a kind of pioneer in hypermedia and new media and mixed media worth studying.
He writes, but I am not interested at all in whether he writes well or to read his writing, as he without writing writes better than writers simply by making use of the CREATIVE PROCESS consciously, (- by attuning it to the finest of sensitivities regarding what new media (social media, Facebook in this case) demands in its hyper and mixed nature, that without writing a word, by understanding the meta-structure of creativity which is to take and put together the finest elements one finds, after research, in writing and every other form of art, and with an encyclopaedic mind and minute eye for detail -) and creates new masterpieces and also expresses himself fully in micro- and mini- forms, to encapsulate himself or stamp himself or brand or impress himself on us as an unforgettable and memorable ‘virtual’ identity!
His world is simply delightful.
One remembers Joyce: “The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails.”
One remembers Eliot: “a receptacle for seizing and storing up numberless feelings, phrases, images, which remain there until all the particles which can unite to form a new compound are present together.”
Jawed is doing it and there are many others like him, no doubt. These are the new creators. They need attention and study in their metacognitive modes. This does not mean they have nothing to say. They too have a lot to say as seen in his fascination with Tipu Sultan, pretty women, nudes, Jarod Kintz, James Dean, masculinities, women’s issues etc.
The fact that he uses a ‘pomo’ and ‘poco’ method does not make Jawed any less Indian or Muslim, though it may make him inaccessible to the rural Indian who is not proficient in English. However the images offset this to some extent, and his audience is anyway going to be international and middle and upper class while using such sophisticated media techniques of search, find and share which is still not something everyone can use.
He predicts a route that will become more and more prevalent where creators will be asked not to create original work but to use already existing work to Create ORIGINALITY and thus meet the demands of the new world we are living in, where time is money and people have too little time to spend on anything.
He predicts the problematization of and radicalisation of plagiarism too, in miniature. But most of all he predicts the arrival of a twist in life where likes, comments , views and reads are becoming the new franchise or even finance for survival and only Entrepreneurs like him and me Of such Creativity can build online reputations solid enough to carry them through the rough seas of market demand and consumption in the coming days. His work is a mutely powerful testament to the power of Aesthetics in a world that wants the meaningless glorified. His work is a museum, a portfolio, a designer’s work, and he is the one conducting a perennially fascinating exhibition in it as its curator, curating as to the manner born his art works, and letting us be mini co-creators in his world, unique and different, a remix and a mash- up, and I am happy he came across me as I have the wizardry of words to explain to the world his work just as he shows off validly his budding mastery with the medium he swims in, as one of the digital generation.
(As a closing note, I would like to say that this continues delving into my previous how to read article and links back to it directly.)
Jawed’s work of delving into the metaphysics of creation has to be seen, read and mulled over to be believed. Here, given below, is as a link is an example.
Joyce quote taken from:”James Joyce.” BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2015. 12 June 2015. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/jamesjoyce161069.html
Originally from the novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Eliot on impersonality quote taken: from: https://sites.google.com/site/nmeictproject/presentations/4-2-3-impersonality
Originally from the essay Tradition and the Individual Talent by Eliot.
The opinions shared by the writer is his personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of Learning and Creativity Magazine. The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.