May 12th, 2011 / 3:21 pm

At the A.N.D Project, a compelling collagelike interview with philosopher Richard Kearney & academic economist David Galenson about the nature of imagination and dual-creativity: “Imagination needs to be nourished by contact with what is other than itself and then, when it assimilates and digests and incorporates and incarnates with something other than itself, there’s always something other.”


  1. Guestagain

      thanks for this, read with great interest

  2. kb


  3. deadgod

      I liked the resourceful definition Kearney suggested giving to a kid of “to imagine; imagination”:  ‘to pretend; pretense’.  That’s a usefully low-res way of getting at this tricky inner experience or catalyst for inner experience (in the Kantian way that he later refers to).  It also illuminates the (possible) ethical dimension or aspect of the ‘thought experiment’ of imagination – another possible thumbnail definition – .

  4. deadgod

      The divvying of “imagination” into ‘conceptual’ and ‘experimental’ is an interesting appropriation of that terminology often unraveled and plaited here. 
      I wonder at how these terms are differentiated by Kearney, though:
      ‘conceptual’ imagining is done with few and controlled data, so as better to observe how they evolve and transform their environment (and itself in turn to change them);
      ‘experimental’ imagining lets “thinking” be released among many and/or much data, so as better to gain fruitful combinations and transformations.
      (- ‘observe’ and ‘gain’ both understood in the most participatory and self-risked sense.)
      That – if it’s an accurate paraphrase – seems to me to get “conceptual” and “experimental” ass-backward:  it’s an experiment in which the variables are few and controlled and a concept in which the variables are let to multiply and to play freely.
      Together, they make a subtle contrast with “conventional”, in which the variables are marshaled so as not to discover or surprise or challenge, so as to cause pre-normalized sensation, sensation calculated to conform to imposed bias.
      Imagination:  what challenges confirmation bias, or – that’s far too simple – , cognition where confirmation is either ratified or put at risk.
      I don’t think it contradicts Kearney to see that, while, in some particular artist, one might be dominant, conceptualizing and experimenting imply each other.

  5. Guestagain

      I found the usage of conceptual and experimental a bit squishy here as well and would have preferred more precision or at least traceability to cognitive sciences and the scientific method in general. I think artists work in this way more than they would perhaps like to admit, or maybe scientists work like artists more than they would like to admit. A theory/conjecture (via brainstorming) is tested via experimentation, experience, and research yielding empirical stuff (food for thought) to get a concrete conceptualization. I agree this does work ass-backward as well; an intuited concept is tested via experimentation, experience, and research yielding theory/conjecture that may or may not be further perused to concrete conceptualization via more iterative experimentation. Imagination (imaging) threads and drives all the intuitive conceptualization and testing/experimentation. Where one decides to end and call it a “work” depends on emotional and aesthetic disposition as well as intellectual training in critical assessment, history, and craft.