I came across HitRecord earlier this week. It has all this cool media (video, sounds, images, text) called records created by its users for use by its users to re-imagine, re-mix and re-create. It is a community in formation as collaborations are encouraged. It is a entrepreneurial business in experimentation as hit records receive profit sharing. I am intrigued and inspired. I want to join in the fun, but I am afraid. After all, I’m not really an artist – am I?
I’m not sure when I decided I wasn’t creative. I remember coming in third place in a poetry contest in middle school. I remember because there’s a newspaper clipping in my scrapbook with my picture and a caption that says I came in third place. Unfortunately, the poem didn’t make it – something about rain, I think. I remember one of my favorite creations in art class was inspired by Superman’s fortress, I don’t think my teacher got it. My horse drawing was horrendous, her disappointment with that was clear. I think it was the B in ceramics in college that finally sealed the deal. If creativity was going to mess with my GPA, then I wasn’t going to be involved and I probably wasn’t very good anyway.
Is that how creativity dies? Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity. Howard Gardner says the creating mind is critical to be productive and fulfilled in this age. He says education needs to protect creativity by creating environments where mistakes, self-reflection and a variety of approaches are valued. Seth Godin says that artists are absolutely essential to the educational system, but the educational system is likely to use all the bureaucracy and fear at its disposal to stamp out the artistry and unique gifts that artists bring to the table.
I’m not sure where education will come out on this, but I do know that technology is offering many different avenues for creative expression. There are all sorts of individuals and organizations using the internet to re-imagine, re-mix and re-create. They seem to be providing a space for mistakes, self-reflection and a variety of approaches. I think it’s time to join in. Wish me luck! I hope to see you out there too because we’re all creators. Here are some collaborative spaces to check out. Please add to the list in the comments and share your experiences.