CREATIVITY: The Sketch in the Arts and Sciences
Symposium's website: www.ias.edu/hs/creativity — Creativity has a history. It is hard for us to imagine that people have not always experimented, tried out, tested—sketched—ideas before putting them into practice. Yet, that is what the record shows: in the visual arts, for example, the medieval artist created unselfconsciously, out of a millennial workshop tradition that did not require "pre-visualization." The transition from the medieval model book, which provided a repertory of prototypes to be copied, to a series of preparatory studies in which a final design was worked out, took place in the Renaissance. In fact, our modern way of thinking "out loud," on paper or in some other medium, may be a relatively recent development. The purpose of this symposium is to explore the history of the creative process itself, by examining the evidence, of whatever kind, for trial and error—or its absence—in a variety of periods and disciplines. What is a preparatory study, and does it have a parallel history in different fields? What does a musical or choreographic sketch look (and sound) like? What is the history of the writer's "rough draft"? What constitutes a sketch in photography or film? How does the scientist, natural or mathematical, try out ideas before he can prove their validity? The symposium will include creative people as well as scholars, in the hope of shedding light on the edges of conception.