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Arkadiusz Półtorak

Summary

In the article, Rabih Mroué’s performance-lecture So Little Time (2017) is discussed as an example of counterfactual mobilization for the purposes of political critique in contemporary art and theatre. I scrutinize Mroué’s references to the modern history of Lebanon and—drawing upon a cultural analysis of this performance—discuss the artist’s rendering of the instrumentalization of Lebanese collective memory by competing factions in the country’s political scene. Drawing upon existing readings of Rabih Mroué’s oeuvre offered by Charles Esche and Shela Sheikh, I posit that the artist reveals the arbitrary quality of the representations of the past through defamiliarization (ostranenie), and that his method bears an affinity to Jacques Derrida’s notions of deconstruction and decolonization.

Open access

Mateusz Chaberski

Summary

In recent science-fiction literature, we can witness a proliferation of new counterfactual narratives which take the 17th century as their point of departure. Unlike steampunk narratives, however, their aim is not to criticise the socio-political effects caused by contemporary technological development. Such authors as Neal Stephenson or Ian Tregillis, among others, are interested in revisiting the model of development in Western societies, routing around the logic of progress. Moreover, they demonstrate that modernity is but an effect of manifold contingent and indeterminate encounters of humans and nonhumans and their distinct temporalities. Even the slightest modification of their ways of being could have changed Western societies and cultures. Thus, they necessitate a rather non-anthropocentric model of counterfactuality which is not tantamount to the traditional alternative histories which depart from official narratives of the past.

By drawing on contemporary multispecies ethnography, I put forward a new understanding of counter-factuality which aims to reveal multiple entangled human and nonhuman stories already embedded in the seemingly unified history of the West. In this context, the concept of “polyphonic assemblage” (Lowenhaupt-Tsing) is employed to conceptualize the contingent and open-ended encounters of human and nonhuman historical actors which cut across different discourses and practices. I analyse Stephenson’s The Baroque Cycle to show the entangled stories of humans and nonhumans in 17th century sciences, hardly present in traditional historiographies. In particular, Stephenson’s depiction of quicksilver and coffeehouse as nonhuman historical actors is scrutinized to show their vital role in the production of knowledge at the dawn of modernity.

Open access

Mateusz Borowski

Summary

The article is devoted to the analysis of chosen examples of counterfactual narratives which diverge from the typical alternative accounts of history written in the “what if” mode. It focuses on counterfactual representations of space flight and moon landing as crucial historical events of the 20th century. The point of departure for the text is provided by the New Historicist understanding of historical fact and historical event, with particular attention paid to Hayden White’s concept of metahistory. However, to identify the possible functions of the new counterfactuals, I go beyond the binary of past and present which lies at the core of White’s concept. To this end, I employ Jacques Derrida’s concept of artifactuality, which describes the process of the production of facts about current events. I apply this concept to analyse two examples of counterfactual films about space flight: the comedy Moonwalkers (dir. Alain Bardou-Jacquet, 2015) and a mockumentary First on the Moon (dir. Aleksey Fedorchenko, 2005). In these examples, I identify strategies of deconstruction of fact-making which Derrida recommended in his essay. In the concluding part, I introduce the third example of counterfactual narrative, which not so much deconstructs factuality but, rather, counteracts the process of cultural oblivion. In Hidden Figures (2016), Margo Lee Shetterly reconstructed the role that African-American women played in the space race, introducing them into the official historical narrative. In this case, I also compare the book with its cinematic rendition to argue that counterfactuals introduce a new model of thinking of collective relationship with the past.

Open access

Claire Norton

Summary

The article explores how a number of artists have employed the counter/actual as a form of past-talk in a conscious intervention into socio-political and ethical issues arising from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. I argue that such uses of the counter/actual more effectively foreground the injustices arising from the occupation while not only problematising the process of representation but also deconstructing the ways in which histories are intimately intertwined with relations of power and practises of legitimisation; they do not simply reproduce “the (f)actual” but work to repossess the past from the dominance of hegemonic interests.

Open access

Mark Donnelly

Summary

This paper argues that where appropriations or invocations of the past have contributed to projects of social and political change, they have usually done so with little or no recourse to the historical past. Instead, activists and campaigners have used various forms of vernacular past-talk to unsettle those temporary fixings of ‘common sense’ that limit thinking about current political and social problems. The example of such past-talk discussed here is the work of the art-activist collective REPOhistory, which sought between 1989 and 2000 to disrupt the symbolic patterning of New York’s official and homogenized public memory culture by making visible (‘repossessing’) overlooked and repressed episodes from the city’s past. In effect, they challenged the ways in which history’s dominance of past-talk within the public sphere was constituted by exclusions of subjects on grounds of gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status. REPOhistory fused politically-engaged art practices with Walter Benjamin’s belief in the redemptive potential of dialectical encounters between past and present. To assess the value of their art-as-activism projects (“artivism”), this article will situate REPOhistory’s practices within a frame of ideas provided by Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Ernesto Laclau, and Chantal Mouffe. In a series of street sign installations that mixed visual art, urban activism, social history, and radical pedagogy, REPOhistory exemplified why the past is too important to be trusted to professional historians.

Open access

Monika Modrzejewska-Świgulska

Abstract

The aim of this work is to reconstruct the convictions and opinions of Polish female film directors concerning work competences that actuate work and success in the field of film directing. Qualitative data are presented in the text, which were collected by the Author herself in free interviews carried out with twelve Polish female film directors.

Open access

Dorota M. Jankowska and Iwona Omelańczuk

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to weigh the empirical and hypothetical evidence to assess the claim that imaginative play supports the acquisition and development of social and emotional competence. We analyse children’s play and social skills using a development-based perspective. On this basis, we describe the developmental trajectories of imaginative play and the components of socio-emotional competence during childhood, especially in the pre-school period. In addition, we review the research literature on the possible link between imaginative play and creativity in children, and on how this type of play is predictive of later life creativity. Finally, we discuss hypothetical mechanisms that may account for the relationship between imaginative play and social competence in the preschool years and beyond.

Open access

Beata Kunat

Abstract

In this paper I will attempt to compare two categories of passion and creativity. I will try to answer the question: What has passion got in common with creativity? What is the common denominator and what is different? What is the role of passion in the creative process? Searching for the mechanism of passion and its components is necessary to discover its relation to creativity I will refer to passion psychology (Vallerand, 2015). The basis of my analysis will be the Dualistic Model of Passion (Vallerand et al., 2003; Vallerand 2008, 2010, 2015), the concept of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perserverance (Duckworth et al., 2007; Duckworth & Quinn, 2009, Duckworth 2016) and the concept of Flow (Csíkszentmihályi, 1996). In the process of mapping the areas that connect passion with creativity I will refer to four ways of its understanding: creativity as a process, a personality trait complex, a product and the interaction between the creative individual and the context or environment. I will also refer in my comparisons to The four C Model of Creativity (Kaufman & Beghetto 2009).

Open access

Ahmed M. Abdulla, Mark A. Runco, Hanadi N. Alsuwaidi and Huda S. Alhindal

Abstract

Personal obstacles to creativity were investigated by sampling 297 Arab women from four Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Obstacles to Personal Creativity Inventory, as self-report, was used. It assesses four types of obstacles (a) inhibition/shyness, (b) lack of time/opportunity, (c) social repression, and (d) lack of motivation. The results showed that the highest mean was reported for the lack of time/opportunities factor, followed in order by the three other factors: lack of motivation, inhibition/shyness, and social repression. (A high mean is indicative of more obstacles.) A multivariate analysis of variance indicated that reported obstacles to creativity significantly differed by field of study. Women in the arts reported experiencing fewer obstacles related to social repression in comparison with women in engineering, who showed the highest mean. No significant effects were observed for level of education, country and income in the GCC countries. The MANOVA also showed significant interactions between (a) education and sector (i.e., government vs private), (b) country and sector, (c) income and field of study, and finally (d) between field of study and sector. Results from this study were compared to two other studies, in Brazil and Mexico, that used the Obstacles to Personal Creativity Inventory. The high mean found for the lack of motivation in GCC countries deserves further investigation, given that motivation is so important for creativity and often is something that can be encouraged.

Open access

Jessica Jacobs

Abstract

As the problem-solving methodology of design thinking has gained legitimacy in business and educational environments, this article suggests we also think about incorporating “art thinking” into approaches in design pedagogy. To study what skills and techniques can be useful in other disciplines, we can first review the stages of the creative process which are centered around preparation, incubation, ideation, illumination, and evaluation. Within those stages, we can tease out specific elements unique to the artistic process that can be particularly useful, including mindsets of emotional engagement, intuition, and tolerance of ambiguity as well as cognitive strategies such as the use of metacognition, resource banks, generators and constraints, prolonged research, problem-creation, conversation with the work, closure delay, and reflection and thematic coherence. Emphasizing these elements and strategies in design pedagogy can expand possibilities for creativity and innovation.