previous day
next day
all days

View: session overviewtalk overview

09:00-11:00 Session 6A: Creativity at Work: Genealogy, Semiotics, and Well-Being
For a historical and conceptual genealogy of creativity. Creativity as a component of postmodern Ideology?

ABSTRACT. Creativity constitutes a very complex and multifaceted category that has been investigated in a multidisciplinary manner in the scientific and academic literature. Its polysemic nature in itself and the breadth of its possible meanings – which make it necessary to approach it through concepts such as gesture (Maddalena, 2015) – also produce a context of vagueness and ambiguity. In recent decades – starting in the 1980s in a “pioneering” way, and since the 2000s in an increasingly systematic manner – the idea of creativity has circulated widely intergenerationally and among the most diverse social groups. A kind of democratic right to creativity has thus been configured, the antithesis of the original vision of the creative person as a solitary genius and out-of-the-ordinary figure, somewhere between uniqueness and madness (Martari, 2010). Psychology and, above all, neurobiology have recently indicated emotions among the prerequisites of creative productions (Damasio, 2022). These scientific findings introduced a further element of legitimisation of the “democratic” (or rather “democraticist”) view of creativity as a universal and perennial condition of individuals “naturally” empowered in this respect. A conception that suggests the hypothesis that creativity can also be configured as a declination of the ideological apparatuses (Spruce, 2020) that accompany the spirit of today’s times and the latest stage of neo-liberalism – understood here, at large, as the political-cultural, as well as economic, configuration of digital, immaterial and symbolic capitalism characterised by an unprecedented degree of knowledge economy, technological innovation and «technical creativity» (Montani, 2017). With this paper I would like to try to thematise this issue and raise a series of questions, investigating certain formats of public discourse and political language, such as that of the definition of certain countries in terms of «Startup Nations» by their ruling classes (Emmanuel Macron's France; Israel). A label that “dissolves” national identity, moreover in an era of electorally victorious sovereignism and nationalism, by contrasting it with a cosmopolitan and universally recognised dimension such as creativity, from which it draws its inspiration and by which it emphasises the idea of its general dissemination within the social body. The idea of the «Startup Nation» clearly shows the influence of the «Californian Ideology», in which narratives around creativity take centre stage. In this cultural context and climate of opinion, creativity has taken the form of a genuine moral imperative. The paper aims to reconstruct the historical and conceptual genealogy of the vision of creativity in terms of an ideology, i.e. «the complex of beliefs, opinions, representations, values that orient a given social group» (Lenk, 1994). The reconstruction intends to start from the original, long hegemonic idea elaborated within the framework of Romanticism (the solitary and asocial genius, but indispensable for collective progress) to the contemporary centrality in the collective imaginary of the new narratives of creativity. In the postmodern context, creativity is configured at the same time as an aspirational and compensatory form in the face of the risk of the jobless society, and as an incessant praise of the new (Bartezzaghi, 2016), comparable to the notion of disruption in the digital economy.


Banks, M. (2007). The Politics of Cultural Work. Palgrave Macmillan: London. Bartezzaghi, S. (2016). “What’s new. Ambiguità del nuovo e semiotica della creatività”. Versus, 2, 309-322. Damasio, A. (2022). Feeling & Knowing. Penguin Random House: New York. Lenk, K. (1994). “Ideologia”. Enciclopedia delle scienze sociali Treccani online. Maddalena, G. (2015). The Philosophy of Gesture. McGill-Queens U. P.: Montreal. Martari, Y. (2010). “Manovre cognitive. Un modello teorico della creatività”. Intersezioni, 2, 245-275. Sparti, D. (2021). “Eclisse del genio solitario? Creatività distribuita e intenzionalità nella condotta improvvisata”. Paradigmi, 3, 537-554. Spruce, G. (2020). Creativity as Ideology. Routledge: London.

Professional supervision for social workers as a creative tool to promote well-being.

ABSTRACT. In Italy, within the juridical framework of the LEPS - Livelli Essenziali di Prestazione (Essential Levels of Performance), the Supervision of Social Service Workers has been introduced in 2022. A revolution concerning the strengthening of the overall responding social needs system, the achievement of well-being and the prevention of burn-out phenomena among social workers. A creative and supportive tool that want to give some scientific and reflective instruments to the professionals in Social Services in order to approach risks and problems related to work. In particular, supervision stands as a useful reactive and creative tool: "a system of thought-meta on professional action, a space and time of suspension, where to find, through reflection guided by an expert, a balanced distance from action" (Allegri, 1997). In fact, supervision is an authentic dialogue, a dialogic relationship, a creative process (Bini, Pieroni,Rollino, 2017). In July 2023 (ended in December 2023), a supervision project started for the Larino’s Ambito Territoriale Sociale (ATS - Social Territorial Ambit) a city in the Molise region, in the centre-south of Italy, in which I was personally involved as a supervising social worker. The project consisted of two parallel co-created approaches, alternating face to face and online sessions for 8 hours per month: a group supervision, involving 3 social workers and an individual supervision for each of them. In this sense, the creativity process (Watzlawick, et. Al. 1971; Sclavi, 2003) consisted to put at the centre colleagues stimulating the Problem Solving (Shon, 1993), the Lateral thinking (De Bono, 1967) and the Divergent Thinking (Guilford, 1967) through the role play use and also projective techniques, imagery, videos. Thanks also to the constant activities monitoring, short-term goals and overall satisfaction, there are some preliminary goals achieved: a better general well-being, a greater involvement in daily work activities through emotional and limits awareness and a reflection on the negative and positive aspects of the profession. It is hopeful that the project will be able to continue from February 2024 because the supervised social workers reported the desire to investigate professional aspects not yet explored.

Landscape as creative gesture. Eco-cultural artwork between archaeology and materialistic semiotics

ABSTRACT. The intersection of semiotics and landscape archaeology presents a rich and innovative avenue for comprehending the complex interplay between human beings and their environments (Preucel 2007). This interdisciplinary approach seeks to unravel the symbolic dimensions embedded in the archaeological record, transcending traditional methodologies and enriching our understanding of past cultural landscapes. In the light of this assumption, semiotics provides a theoretical framework to interpret the symbolic meanings assigned to landscapes by past societies. By analysing the semiotic elements present in spatial arrangements, researchers can unveil the socio-cultural narratives encoded within the archaeological landscape. This approach enables a nuanced exploration of how past communities imbued their surroundings with meaning, reflecting their beliefs, ideologies, and social structures (Mangano 2009). Landscape archaeology, on the other hand, focuses on the spatial organization of human activities and the dynamic relationship between societies and their environments. Integrating semiotics into this field allows scholars to delve deeper into the cultural significance of landscape features, such as settlements, monuments, and ritual sites. The semiotic approach aids in deciphering not only the functional aspects of these elements but also their symbolic roles within the broader socio-cultural context. In this perspective, archaeology can be understood as a semiotic of material reality (Sirigu 2001), a semiotic of the human workings on the environment and landscape. This particular insight allows to overcome the prejudice that landscape is something static and purely accidental, starting to consider it as an artefact (Rubertone 1989), that is, a product of human cultural labour – rather than something purely natural. This latter thesis presents some similarities with Ferruccio Rossi-Landis materialistic semiotics; indeed, starting from the Marxian acceptation of labour as goal oriented activity (Marx 2002), Rossi-Landi, considers every human artefact – including landscapes – as synapses in which material and semiotic production converge (Rossi-Landi 1985). By considering landscape as a material-semiotic artefact, it is also possible to understand it as a complete and creative gesture (Maddalena 2015). Indeed, according to Maddalena, labour itself can be considered a complete and creative gesture, because labour implies a teleological transformation of reality towards a goal (symbol), realised at a particular point (index) according to an infinite set of possibilities (icon) (Maddalena 2011). More specifically, the iconicity characterises the creative dimension of gesture. In line with these argumentations, it is possible to interpret landscape not only as a mere product, but as an artwork (Ponzio 2017), that is, a semiotic artefact which overpass its purely functional meaning.


Maddalena, Giovanni, 2011, Il lavoro come conoscenza. Uno sguardo semiotico, in Spazio filosofico. Lavoro, 1, pp. 1-11. Maddalena, Giovanni, 2015, The Philosophy of Gesture. Completing Pragmatists’ Incomplete Revolution. Montreal, McGill-Queen’s University Press. Mangano, Dario, 2009, Semiotica e archeologia. Dialogo con Marcella Frangipane, direttore dello scavo di Arslantepe in Turchia, in E/C, 2009-08-06, pp 1-12. Marx, Karl, 2002, Das Kapital. Volume I. Fourth edition (1890), (H. G. Ehrbar, Trans.). Retrieved from Preucel, Robert W., 2006, Archaeological Semiotics, Blackwell, Malden-Oxford-Carlton. Ponzio, Augusto, Il valore e l’opera, in G. Borrelli, A. Santangelo, G. Sgro’ (eds.), Il valore nel linguaggio e nell’economia, Libellula, Massafra, pp. 215-233. Rubertone, Patricia E., Landscape as Artifact: Comments on “The Archaeological Use of Landscape Treatment in Social, Economic and Ideological Analysis”, in Historical Archaeology, Vol. 23, No. 1 (1989), pp. 50-54 (5 pages), Springer, Berlin. SIRIGU, Roberto, 2001, ARCHEOLOGIA COME “SEMIOTICA DELLA REALTÀ MATERIALE”, in Quaderni. Soprintendenza archeologica per le provincie di Cagliari e Oristano, 18 (2001), pp. Rossi-Landi, Ferruccio, 1985, Metodica filosofica e scienza dei segni. Nuovi saggi sul linguaggio e l’ideologia, Milano, Bompiani 2006.

Deactivate the machine. Agamben the pathology of gesture

ABSTRACT. The aim of this work is to propose a critical analysis of the concept of gesture in Giorgio Agamben’s thought. We will try to demonstrate that, if the gesture is linked to a creative dimension and involves the possibility of modifying reality, the theory proposed by Agamben is based instead on a pathological reading of the gesture which excludes a transformation of the existing. According to the philosopher, whoever makes a gesture «does not limit himself to acting, but, in the very act in which he carries out his action, he simultaneously stops it, exposes it and keeps it at a distance from himself. If we call this third mode of human activity “gesture”, we can then say that the gesture, as a pure means, breaks the false alternative between doing which is always a means aimed at an end - production - and the action which has in itself its end – praxis» (Agamben 2017, 138). Emblematic figures of the gesture are, on the one hand, Bartleby, and on the other, Pulcinella. Through them, Agamben carries out a deconstruction of the western concept of power, understood in its double declination, power of being and not being, of doing and not doing. Through this reading, the gesture becomes «an activity, or a power that consists in deactivating and rendering human works inoperative and, in this way, opens them to a new, possible use» (Agamben 2017, 138). The gestures of Bartleby and Pulcinella are actions aimed at interrupting the action itself, actions that are not directed towards an end, a meaning or a purpose and both characters become the radical witnesses of a thought of deposition and inactivity. The latter, however, excludes from its merely passive horizon any possibility of radical change in existence and becomes an ontological and political confirmation of the status quo in which the subject's actions are no longer linked to a means or an end but revolves empty, that is, without meaning and without purpose. Bartleby and Pulcinella then become masks of inertia, passive characters who settle into inaction as they are inactive and defeatist. The aim of this work is to show how the scribe and the mask can only apparently be read as figures of disobedience that invite revolt against the totalitarian and homogenizing devices of power and above all how the idea of the gesture proposed by Agamben is a failure compared to to the political dimension because, behind its apparent subversive charge based on the idea of a destituent power, in reality, lies a conservative dimension based on the passive acceptance of what exists.

09:00-11:00 Session 6B: Creativity as a Literary Gesture
The self as multiplicity in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando: Tracing identity by way of pragmatism

ABSTRACT. In working towards a synergistic fusion of philosophy and literature, my presentation will focus on the issue of recognizing diachronic identity in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando: A Biography—a book that oscillates between fantasy and reality, between biography and fiction. It is precisely this characteristic that enables it to expand the limits of what is possible, planting the first seeds for the emergence of a new world. Without a doubt, this function of literature is the one that interests me the most in this talk since it paves the way for a direct conversation with philosophy, bringing it face to face with that element of surprise that will offer it new and essential content. Literature is the space where subjective consciousness meets reality, and each work offers a unique perspective. It meets the reflection on reality, the philosophical gesture par excellence, in order to offer it what reality cannot, either because literature describes a potential image of the world for which the conditions of its actualization are not yet clear or feasible, or because the flow of becoming and the constant changes it brings about do not permit the crystallization of this image for the purpose of studying it further. At the same time, the entanglement of philosophy and literature updates literature by showing its direct relevance to reality. On this basis, Orlando, the book’s protagonist, offers us an especially good case to study philosophically the emergence of personal identity, seeing how they undergo a series of transformations throughout the more than three centuries of their life. To trace the experience and recognition of their identity, I draw upon Maddalena’s concept of complete gesture, a Peircean tool that allows us to conceive the formation of identity as a synthetic process of bearing meaning from one point to the next—a creative process which, in turn, enables us to recognize the continuity linking them as the unity we call “self”. As I will argue, Orlando’s writing of the Oak Tree poem is the complete gesture that enables them to recognize their identity through the changes they had been subjected to. In fact, the same can be said for Woolf herself and her writing of Orlando. Yet, as I will suggest, it is through others that both Woolf and Orlando manage to fulfill their writing gestures, thus paving the way for the realization and recognition of their identities. After all, it is there, between ourselves and others, between ourselves and the world, that we discover the meaning of life and achieve self-actualization.

The creative comprehension as a literary gesture

ABSTRACT. This paper would like to focus the idea of creative comprehension as it emerges in Michail Bachtin’s reflection on the nature of the literary text. The Russian critic conceives the text as «enunciation», that is the «real unity of verbal communication», produced by the relationship between the two elements that compose the sign: sense and meaning. Developing a critical comparison with Saussure’s structural linguistics, Bachtin considers sense the most individual, unique and unrepeatable aspect of every speech act; meaning, on the other hand, concerns the language that precedes the text and, therefore, allows for repetition and identification with it. For this reason, in Author and Hero in aesthetic activity (in Art and answerability), Bachtin argues for the centrality of the text, restarting from the analysis of language seen as metalanguage. According to the scholar, in order to truly enter into dialogue with the text, the simultaneity of two movements is necessary: intertextuality and extralocality. On the one hand, in fact, texts always exist in an intertextual dimension, since they transcend the boundaries of their own contemporaneity, placing themselves in the large time of centuries; on the other hand, they are necessarily settled in their own time, which, for us who read, is another time, another space, another culture. The otherness that defines this dialogical relationship is the lever for the fullest understanding of the image of the world that that text communicates to us, so distant from us and, precisely by virtue of this distance, so interesting. The meaning of one culture is revealed only by getting in touch with the meaning of another culture, and – if the questions that construct this dialogue are authentic – it bears a creative comprehension that is totally open to the other without becoming, at the same time, confused with it. The first interpreters of this new creative relationship are precisely the author and his characters, bearers of a word that is never equal to itself, i.e. never final. Just the character, constituted of language, represents for Bachtin the critical category in which all forms of extralocality, meet up significantly in terms of body, space, time, meaning, value. At the end of this process, outlined by Bachtin’s theory of character there is first and foremost the discovery of speech as an act of freedom; along with this, the struggle against the «reification» of man: each character is not only independent of its author, but also of the ultimate judgment of the words uttered by others. Therefore, in the logical and linguistic clash they engage in with each other, the characters explain again the need for creative comprehension as the act of deep human understanding, capable of respecting all the common characteristics and, simultaneously, all the differences between the identities at stake.

How the tale is spun: the creativity of habits in narratives

ABSTRACT. In the last decades, a narrative paradigm has spread in the human and social sciences as a particularly fruitful approach to several dimensions of human experience: personal identity and selfhood, social cognition, and philosophy of mind are just a few of the fields of inquiry where the concept of narrative has been put to work (Hyvärinen, Hatavara, Hydén 2013, Herman 2013). The growing popularity of the narrative paradigm has been met with objections that, albeit diversely articulated, share an underlying suspicion: that the narrative paradigm betrays experience. On the one hand, the artifactuality of the notion of narrative is seen as producing hyper-cognitive, artificial, aestheticized approaches to experience (Bourdieu 2017/1986; Strawson 2004; Zahavi 2007); on the other, the concept of narrative still bears an uncomfortably underdeveloped relation to embodied dimensions of experience, as it is not clear whether such narrative form emerges or can be found within the body (Menary 2008, Meyers 2013, Hutto 2007). These objections are connected: if embodied experiences don’t have an ‘original’ narrative form, it seems as if whatever narrative is spun afterwards will be forcefully concocted. Such objections have prompted many to search for the embodied roots of narrative tendencies, with the double goal of both clarifying how narrative dimensions are tied to embodied ones and vindicating the adequacy of the former to understand the latter (MacKenzie 2007, Brandon 2014). To this end, habits have enjoyed some particular attention as possible transmission chains between languaged and narrative dimensions of experience and embodied ones. Habits seem suitable to link narrative and body because they are embodied structures that can be agentially fostered: they can serve as means through which narrative dimensions can seep into the body (Dings 2018, Wagner 2020). While this is a promising intuition, I argue that it also makes a partial, and ultimately unsatisfying, use of the concept of habit. Appealing to the Pragmatist, and in particular Deweyan, tradition, I argue for a richer role for habits in relation to the narrative dimension. Rather than serving as merely instrumental means through which narrative dimensions are related to a mute body, habits offer a first synthetic ordering of experience at the embodied level. The role habits have for narrative dimensions is to be found in their own internal temporal configuration and in the relation they bear to aesthetic experience and rhythm (Kestenbaum 1977). Habits form a first kind of embodied continuity out of which narrative dimensions can surface; they reveal the creative role the body and its dynamic relation with the (synchronic and diachronic) environment plays in forming narratives. Arguing that habits are fully engaged in the fostering and emergence of narrative dimensions, I also argue that they constitute a site of embodied creativity: they structure a rhythmic experience that can later be developed or blossom into full aesthetic experience. I will first introduce the problems of the narrative paradigm and how the search for suitable mediators of embodied and narrative dimensions has led to the concept of habits. I will then argue that habits’ temporal structure, and its relation to the notion of rhythm, offers a first terrain out of which an original ordering of body and environment emerges. This allows to reverse the relationship of habit and narrative, and to show how bodily configurations partake in breeding, fostering and changing narratives. Thus, the paper will contribute to the ongoing debate on the usefulness and limits of the narrative paradigm; approaching it through the Pragmatist notion of habit, it will further situate the notion of narrative within research on the embodied dimension of self and cognition, as well as within the debate on everyday aesthetics.

Creative Writing in COVID-19 Pandemic: Crises and Challenges

ABSTRACT. The study of creativity is a notion awakening growing interest in social sciences. This attention represents discussions on potential economic and social development of creativity skill as a profession or even industry. This research reviews sociological studies of creativity, which are associated with the socio-cultural approach to creativity research in general. Creativity and writing skill are very close corresponding to each other. Writing notion ordinarily encompasses "creative thinking and relating new information with the prior knowledge and this make new information sense" (Lawwill, 1999). Writing can be observed also as a recursive process compelling both cognitive and meta-cognitive processes, alike creativity. Social environment, individual cognition and effective processes all impact on generating written text. Given the specific effect of COVID-19 crisis on creative industry though the need for social distancing and self-isolation, this research attempts to examine the mediating effect of creativity in helping people cope with stress in times of pandemic. Recent empirical evidences consistently indicate that creativity can be effective resource for individuals encountering a crisis situations (Damian and Simonton, 2014; Orkibi and Ram-Vlasov, 2019). Furthermore, research on the link between creativity and well-being is infrequent but supposes that creativity can be positively related to these outcomes (Smith, 2016; Conner, DeYoung, Silvia, 2018; Tang, Hofreiter, Reiter-Palmon, Bai, Murugavel, 2021). Therefore, regarding creative writing industry I propose following hypothesis - the pandemic had a constructive impact on the creative writing industry presenting several advanced directions of development. Creative writing programs, courses and schools are growing in numbers and influence in the world. They are attractive for students to enroll on, reputable for institutions to offer and challenge-able for researches to explore the phenomena of industry from different points of view. Because of its role in innovation and entrepreneurship, creativity has become one of the key concerns of organizations and businesses (Runco, 2004). Thus, European Association of Creative Writing Programmes (EACWP) has an established track record in producing successful novelists and other authors, bring new challenges in reconciling creativity and society, and provide an advantageous source of employment for writers and journalists. As many experts claim writing in general plays a major role in higher education both in students’ learning abilities. Teaching CW – that is, encouraging students to write by drawing upon their imagination and other creative processes – may support talent innovative mentality in all areas (Barbot, Tan, Randi, Donato, Grigorenko, 2012). Teaching writing also helps to teach how to behave creatively in live (Sternberg, 2009). During the pandemic crisis years writing industry has transformed, like all industries of education, art and leisure entertainment. In order to continue the enterprise, EACWP modernized its performance and directions to help members and institutions. All these efforts are convenient and promising in a new format of post-pandemic future and can be applied in rethinking and researching trends in creative writing industry in the world. Previous research has not taken a deeper look at CW industry focusing on sociological way, cause main works investigate it through interdisciplinary lens (in relation to Noth’s “semiotics umbrella” vision). My aim is to reconstruct and figure out mechanisms, which were associated with challenges during the pandemic. Fractionally, it is an attempt to analyse the chronology of an unprecedented new-wave social reality. Ultimately, this research constitutes a call to sociologists to pay more attention to creativity and accelerate toward a sociology of creativity in all specters.

09:00-11:00 Session 6C: Philosophical Approaches to Creative Gestures
Synthetic Reasoning and Gesture
Mathematical Gesture
The Creative Modality. Charles S. Peirce on Possibility

ABSTRACT. It is now well known that Peirce developed a unified discourse on vagueness and that this notion runs through the architecture of his system in various senses. Generality and vagueness, understood as figures of the indefinite and the indeterminate, play a fundamental role in Peircean philosophy, not only on the logical-semiotic level, but also on the epistemological and metaphysical levels. On the basis of these considerations, there are those who have been involved in the elaboration of a logic of vagueness (Brock 1969, Chauviré 1995, Tiercelin 1992, 2019), following Peirce’s logical and pragmatic definition of generality and vagueness, and those who, like Lane (1997, 2017), have also developed their research on the metaphysical level. In my talk, I will try to focus on how Peirce’s scholastic realism, articulated progressively over the course of his life, led him to consider not only generals but also vagues as real, and how this theoretical point was crucial to Peircean pragmatism (EP 2.354). To do this, it is first necessary to consider the distinction Peirce makes between the three logical modalities, namely possibility, existence, and necessity. Peirce associates each of these modalities with a more or less intense feature of determination and definition. Existence is that individual, determinate category which sees the clash and reaction between two brute facts; according to Peirce’s logical definition, it must be said that both the principle of contradiction and the principle of the excluded third apply to existence. Necessity, on the other hand, is that to which the principle of the excluded third does not apply, since A is not necessarily B, nor is A necessarily not B (NEM 3: 762). To possibility, on the other hand, the principle of contradiction cannot be applied. As Lane has shown, this does not mean that Peirce abandons the principle of bivalence, the principle according to which a proposition or assertion is either true or false. In this sense, vague signs are not contradictory signs. Late Peirce believes that both generals and vagues are real: “It certainly can be proved very clearly that the Universe does contain both would be’s and can be’s” (CP 8.216-217). My hypothesis is that Peirce also gave the notion of reality to the vague insofar as he was able to articulate the concept of possibility in a different way. For late Peirce, the possible is no longer just a modal term that can be analysed in terms of ignorance and informational states (the earlier nominalist view of possibility prior to 1896), but an objective modality of the real that Peirce discovers by taking up the “Aristotelian doctrine of real possibility” (R 288: 129). The possible is thus configured in the final phase of Peircean thought as that which, blind to identity, articulates an inexhaustible multitude of intermediate variations of generals, making the notion of generality susceptible to creative modification: would-be’s must be accompanied by can-be’s and may-be’s.

The creative imagination: tracing phenomenological gestures across inner worlds

ABSTRACT. This paper presents a theoretical framework distinguishing the fluidity of “heteromorphic imagination” – where mental associations and episodic memories intermingle freely to proliferate atypical possibilities – and the crystallization of "creative imagination," marked by the emergence of compelling, constructible ideas. We propose that the pivot points, where emerging possibilities transform into articulable creativity, are significant metamorphic phenomenological gestures with profound existential implications. Heteromorphic imagination involves unconstrained, radically divergent play across real and unreal combinatory spaces, remembered impossibilities, and speculative blends. This manifests a timeless state balancing past, present, and future scenes as part of unconscious exploration. In contrast, creative imagination emerges from heteromorphic imagination when spontaneously recognized resonant patterns induce metacognitive focus, signifying ideas worth capturing and expressing. We define metamorphic gestures as pivotal phenomenological events where one mode transmutes to the other – heteromorphic into creative. Such gestures hold revelatory potential for tracing the origin of creativity’s spark, where novel patterns self-organize into meaningful ideation. Our methodological approach, blending brain-computer interface technology with qualitative phenomenological research, aims to trace the contours and impacts of these creative gestures. By capturing and analyzing subjective reports and neural signals, we seek to decode the transition points in creative ideation. This work is a continuing effort that holds special relevance given the rapid advances in procedural computational systems designed to automate facets of creativity. Illuminating the pivotal phenomenological gestures and their contours reasserts human elements that automated creativity may augment but likely cannot replicate.


Alves-Oliveira, P., Arriaga, P., Xavier, C., Hoffman, G., & Paiva, A. (2021). Creativity landscapes: Systematic review spanning 70 years of creativity interventions for children. The Journal of Creative Behavior.

Amabile, T. M. (1996). Creativity in context: Update to the social psychology of creativity. Westview Press.

Bellemare Pepin, A., Harel, Y., O'Byrne, J., Mageau, G., Dietrich, A., & Jerbi, K. (2022). Processing visual ambiguity in fractal patterns: Pareidolia as a sign of creativity. Creativity Research Journal.

Casey, E. S. (1971). Imagination: Imagining and the image. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 31(4), 475–476.

Corazza, G. E. (2016). Potential originality and effectiveness: The dynamic definition of creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 28(3), 258–267.

Gardony, A. L., Eddy, M. D., Brunyé, T. T., & Taylor, H. A. (2017). Cognitive strategies in the mental rotation task revealed by EEG spectral power. Brain and Cognition, 118, 1–18.

Gendlin, E. T. (2018). A process model (1st ed.). Northwestern University Press.

Glăveanu, V. P. (2015). Creativity as a sociocultural act. Journal of Creative Behavior, 49(3), 165–180.

Guilford, J. P. (1950). Creativity. American Psychologist, 5(9), 444–454.

Hennessey, B. A., & Amabile, T. M. (2010). Creativity. Annual Review of Psychology, 61(1), 569-598.

Jansen, J. (2018). Imagination – phenomenological approaches. Routledge.

Jung, C. (2016). Psychological types. Princeton University Press.

Jung, C. G., & Chodorow, J. (1997). Jung on active imagination. Princeton University Press.

Kind, A. (2022). Imagination and creative thinking. Cambridge University Press.

Merleau-Ponty, M. (2012). Phenomenology of perception. Routledge.

Merleau-Ponty, M. (1993). Eye and mind. In G. A. Johnson (Ed.), The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader (pp. 121-149). Northwestern University Press.

Osborne, P. (2004). The reproach of abstraction. Radical Philosophy, (127), 21-28.

Pelaprat, E., & Cole, M. (2011). “Minding the gap”: Imagination, creativity and human cognition. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 45(4), 397–418.

Rominger, C., Gubler, D. A., Makowski, L. M., & Troche, S. J. (2022). More creative ideas are associated with increased right posterior power and frontal-parietal/occipital coupling in the upper alpha band: A within-subjects study. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 181, 95–103.

Rudolf Arnheim. (2023). Visual Thinking (2nd ed.). University of California Press.

Sartre, J.-P., & Elkaïm-Sartre, A. (2004). The imaginary: A phenomenological psychology of the imagination. Routledge.

Smolucha, F. (1992). A reconstruction of Vygotsky’s theory of creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 5(1), 49-67.

Streminger, G. (1980). Hume's theory of imagination. Hume Studies, 6(2), 91-118.

Stokes, D. (2016). Imagination and creativity. In A. Kind (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of philosophy of imagination (pp. 247–261). Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

Vygotsky, L. S. (2004). Imagination and creativity in childhood. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 42(1), 7-97.

Whitson, J. A., & Galinsky, A. D. (2008). Lacking control increases illusory pattern perception. Science, 322(5898), 115–117.

09:00-11:00 Session 6D: Creativity, Art, and Social Change
Creativity without Creative Product

ABSTRACT. For most philosophers of creativity, a mental process is only creative if there is a creative product at the end of it. Noël Carroll (2003) and Jacob Bronowski (1985) have argued that an audience’s response to artworks can be creative in the sense that understanding the artwork means re-creating it. I will argue that we should understand creative processes independently of any kind of output, and that we should define the creative process through the role of the imagination. Berys Gaut (2003) and Michael Beaney (2005) have discussed different models concerning the role of imagination in creating: imagination could either display ideas, or search for ideas, or connect different ideas. I will argue that instead of thinking of different models of which only one can be correct, we should think of different functions the imagination can take in creative processes. Once we look at the role of imagination in terms of different functions, we can see that these functions are at work even in processes that don't lead to an output.

Beaney, M. (2005). Imagination and Creativity, Open University Philosophy, Open University Philosophy. Bronowski, J. (1985). The creative process, Leonardo 18: 4, 245–248. Carroll, N., Art, creativity, and tradition, in: Gaut, B. and P. Livingston (eds.),The Creation of Art: New Essays in Philosophical Aesthetics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003, 208–234. Gaut, B., Creativity and imagination, in: Gaut, B. and P. Livingston (eds.),The Creation of Art: New Essays in Philosophical Aesthetics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003, 148–173.

Pain Pals as the Collective Creation of a Pain-Centered World: Strategies for Playful Actions Leading to Social Change

ABSTRACT. What would a pain-informed world look like? The aim of this paper is to assessing how imagining a shared meta world can be a strategy for the collective generation of a social identity as a Disabled person, specifically in the creative project Pain Pals. Pain Pals is a tabletop role-playing game, which would be included under the same category of character-centered games like Dungeons and Dragons – but in this game, the avatars are built around the experience of chronic pain that people with many different disabilities and illnesses undergo. The project is led by Vancouver-based non-visual artist Carmen Papalia, who has developed it first during a residency at Berkeley Disability RadMad Lab, and subsequently independently together with a group of game developers, Critical Disability Studies scholars, and Disability Justice activists. As a speculative design collective exercise, Pain Pals offers an alternative to the hegemonic imagination of a future where, as Leah Lakshmi has put it, Disabled people are the norm (dystopia) or completely erased (utopias). Given this characterization, the project will serve us as a case study to address the intersections of two main areas of the conference: civil creativity and social change, and imaginary meta worlds.

In order to do so, I present the case and its history up to the current moment, highlighting how the core of the project of the game lies in a collective gesture of imagining a meta world informed by the experience of pain. The character design process and game assets are examined from a lens that understands creativity as a relational and caring event. Secondly, I address the different creative strategies deployed in the project in detail. Here, I address specifically modes of ‘worldmaking’ and how different worldly dimension are altered in ways that affects how we relate to our environment and to others in a significant way.

Disability Justice artistic practices are guided by the idea that the embodied dimension and the lived experiences of the body generate a kind of knowledge through the senses, which can inform political transformation towards an organization of bodyminds that make future disabled lives sustainable. For this reason, in the concluding part I will connect these worldmaking strategies to social change and Disability Justice activism through an argument that enables a transference between the sphere of play and aesthetics and the sphere of politics and the commons, which will be developed from the standpoint of Alva Noë’s conception of reorganizational activities in embodied cognition.

Falling beyond the ideas of creative avant-garde: exploring the politics-aesthetic bond in youth-led social movements. From grassroots activism in Naples and Milan to global networks.

ABSTRACT. Creativity and politics have been tied throughout much of the recent history of political mobilization within capitalist societies. As a matter of fact, sets of creative practices have significantly contributed to shaping the repertoires of collective action since the global uprising in 1968 [Bogad, 2017]. Performance art, music, graffiti, and posters manifested a «synergistic and multiplying effect» [Gordon-Zolov, 2023: 52] in most cycles of protests, representing a legacy for both contemporary social movements and their scholarship. The idea of creative avant-garde being an identifiable component of contemporary social movements has informed different streams of the academic debate since the late 70s, trickling down from political sociology to aesthetics [cfr: Melucci, 1996; Sholette, 2017]. Such a path has so far resulted in several categorical labels, with artivism [Milovich, 2005] being the most recurrent one lately [cfr: Nossel, 2016; De Laure and Fink, 2017]. Unsurprisingly, the very concept of artivism has been stretched to cover a variety of relational dynamics involving political actors and artists in protest scenarios. In this regard, it seems thoughtful to note that both artistry from autonomous but solidaristic individuals and ateliers as artistic intervention from within the actual protest body are commonly coded as artivism, suggesting that solidaristic and integrated actors contribute equally to shaping the protest imaginary [cfr: Hebdige, 1979]. As a consequence, artivism has been increasingly perceived as a vague terminology and a constraint for social movement actors. In actual fact, it has inherited most of the criticism that had already targeted other categories, such as the general idea of the avant-garde [Léger et al., 2014] and the creative wing [Eco, 1983]. In recent times, youth-led transnational movements advocating for climate justice – such as Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion – had seemed to dismiss artivism as the paradigm structuring the relationship between political and artistry components of their networks. Even throughout the rough time of COVID-19, when performative actions became a core element of protests due to pandemic restrictions, no artistic wing has emerged as composed of identifiable individuals or groups, nor were performances presented as a merely symbolic overlay to protesters’ claims. Such networks have made visible changes in social movements concerning art and creative practices that have already manifested episodically and locally. Hence, such a shift – that happens to be both conceptual and relational – is worth being located and investigated from a critical social science perspective. It seems to raise at least two questions going hand in hand: a) how do youth-led movements position themselves in the path of past social movements, both local and global, and b) what kind of artistic agency do they achieve dismissing the idea of creative avant-garde? Consequently, the argument will develop as follows: in the first part of the contribution, I will explore major changes in the aesthetic-political bond in grassroots movements in Italy, building on the case-study research I conducted in Naples and Milan in late 2022. Mainly, I will locate each of the networks I have put under scrutiny (Verità e Giustizia per Ugo Russo in Naples and Non-Una di Meno in Milan) in the broader context of grassroots activism in Italy. By doing so, I will be able to unveil how each network has elaborated practices and labels in order to avoid coding the politics-aesthetic bond as in the “creative-wing” relational model. Then - entering the second part of the article - I will connect such local changes to the transnational ones, expanding the spectrum of aesthetic-political bond alternatives developed from youth-led movement. In order to do so, I will mainly focus on two sets of creative practices: urban fallism [cfr: Frank and Ristic, 2020] and museum “vandalism” [cfr: Kinyon et al., 2023].

Gesturing Towards the Virtualization and Defamiliarization of Our Presents: Ursula Le Guin’s “Cartographies of the Possible”

ABSTRACT. Creativity, and more specifically human creativity, has often been regarded as an unreliable epistemological and critical source. Especially in the case of science fiction, this sense of unreliability is to be linked to the conviction that the worlds imagined have no tie to our experiences of reality or the context we live in. Luckily, in the last thirty years, a more positive evaluation of the creative gesture and alternative modes of knowledge has found its place. In this essay, I intend to rely on such perspectives—namely, on Rosi Braidotti’s posthumanism. Indeed, Braidotti articulates a view of the (post)Humanities as a field where creativity is always linked to critical praxis. The departure point of this research, then, is a radical faith in the imaginative power (as potentia) of the post-Humanities, which catalyzes reflection on alternative and affirmative modes of interaction with our embedded contexts. According to Braidotti, two fundamental notions animate and articulate the field of the post-Humanities: cartographies and figurations. I argue that the combination of critique and creativity inherent in such notions allows for the development of other worlds in feminist sci-fi writings as dependable sources of reflection on our embedded and embodied contexts. I therefore refer to these narratives as “cartographies of the possible”, reliable alternative maps of our realities. What happens, then, when a writer such as Ursula K. Le Guin affirms that they are writing about their present but transferring it in other worlds? What happens when creativity is presented as an embodied and embedded instrument able to reflect critically on reality? The aim of this paper will be to demonstrate how such alternative literary maps can be considered as catalyzers of reflection on our terrestrial contexts, with an emphasis on embedded perspectivism. These worlds are nevertheless not to be conceived of as points of arrival or ways to suggest utopic solutions to the polarizations of the Anthropocene. Instead, one must place value on the constant negotiations of values and socio-economic models proposed in these cartographies, where attention needs to be placed on these very processes of negotiation rather than on any final or static solution. Indeed, the emphasis Le Guin places on becoming and the virtual capacity of her narratives to displace our perspectives is what should be most treasured. Valuing the post-Humanities’ imaginative potential means making the effort of thinking of our world outside of our world—or, as just another world. Notions of otherness, queerness, gender, race, and time shift in these narratives, providing the readers with new visions on humanity, subjectivity, history, memory, resistance, difference, and ecology. It is thanks to the virtual power of these cartographies and figurations that literature can imagine otherwise and, therefore, offer affirmative models of subjectivity and rhizomatic existence that can be implemented in our present predicaments—namely, sci-fi literature looks at reality with a projective gaze. Literature becomes, then, a praxis, never isolated from its embedded realities, as well as an imaginative lens that helps us see ourselves other than ourselves. Against the distrust and disregard for the post-Humanities in the current capitalist age and the unending violence towards forms of embodied, racialized, gendered and naturalized otherness, literature can function as an agent of tangible change and critical reflection. Exploring its possibilities means, then, engaging with a much-needed catalyzer of socio-political transformation. The post-Humanities’ ability to imagine otherwise—in this case in a sci-fi setting—must be investigated for its subversive and defamiliarizing power. The attention to defamiliarization in Le Guin’s novels is, indeed, a literary form of care for a polarized world.

11:40-13:30 Session 8: Plenary Session: Creativity and Multi/Inter/Transdisciplinarity
Location: AULA MAGNA
Creativity as a Transdisciplinary Concept

ABSTRACT. This talk will outline the structure of the concept of creativity as a transdisciplinary concept,in distinction from its more restricted interdisciplinary uses. Due to the multiplicity of theirconstitutive disciplinary sites, it will be argued, transdisciplinary concepts are inherentlycontradictory. These contradictions are at once theoretical (‘scientific’) and ideological(‘everyday’ and ‘institutional’) and, in particular, stem from the relations between thesedifferent sites. Universities are the main mediating institutions of the latter kinds ofcontradiction, internal to transdisciplinary concepts. The history and some recent uses ofthe concept of creativity (‘creatives’, ‘creative writing’) will be used emblematically toexpound some of these contradictions, and their dialectical ‘creativity’.

Gesture as Form: Plant Life as Dynamic Matter

ABSTRACT. Although the study of gesture is not a unified field, there is a common terminology to describe gesture which points towards its essential aspects as a mode of behaviour: action, movement, intention, expression and meaning. Can there be, then, any ‘gesture’ in plant life? Or is plant life devoid of ‘gesture’ in any meaningful sense? In this talk I will suggest, following the botanist Agnes Arber, that the concepts of ‘behaviour’, ‘form’ and ‘growth’, which refer to different phenomena in animal life, should be understood as different aspects of the same phenomenon in plant life. The way is therefore open to contrast the actionist and expressionist paradigm of gesture appropriate for animal life with the behavioural gesture of plant life as growth and form. In this talk I will suggest – counter-intuitively, perhaps – that this conception of plant gesture helps us to avoid the anthropomorphic tendency to interpret plant life according to animal models, as this is a creative ‘gesture’ with no expressive purpose, and thus one which allows us to think critically about the dominant interpretative gestures towards plant life.

Collaborative intelligence and creative gestures for the future of safety critical systems. A human centred perspective

ABSTRACT. “Organizations that use machines merely to displace workers through automation will miss the full potential of AI…Tomorrow’s leader will instead be those that embrace collaborative intelligence, transforming their operations, their industries and –no less important-their workforces.” H.J. Wilson and P.R. Daugherty (Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI Harvard Business Review Press, 2018)

The need for human in the loop automation is particularly relevant for safety critical industry where industrial accidents related to technological malfunctioning have been diminishing leaving the human error responsible for up to 80% of the accidents (Stanton et al., 2009). However, even if one of the main aims of introducing automation is often to improve safety by reducing or eliminating human errors; it is often argued that this may simply induce new types of errors.

To take full advantage of human machine collaboration, companies must understand how humans can most effectively augment machines, how machines can enhance what humans do best, and how to redesign business processes to support the partnership.

The opportunity is that the proliferation of wearable sensors that can track human factors in a non-intrusive manner coupled with the abilities of modern AI systems to integrate heterogeneous data to identify anomalies and safety critical situation can now transform the role of the human in the loop for safety critical systems also.

To address this changing and exciting landscape there is a need to consider the followings multidisciplinary aspects:

  1. Capability to understand our own limitation as human being and cope/use them as another element of live data for Industry 4.0 (to understand what aspect of human performance can be assessed and monitored considering the new capabilities offered by Neuroergonomics tool such as EEG and Eye tracking and what can be considered a legitimate and ethical aspect to assess. Whether for mutual performance monitoring in a teaming environment or for also self-monitoring and feedback.)
  2. Capability to harness and analyse live data from for industry 4.0  for control of safety critical process to train new AI algorithms to anticipate safety critical scenarios.
  3. Capability to create novel hybrid collaborative intelligence frameworks to combine the two main key live data sources to support decision and or anticipate critical scenarios in Human-machine Performance optimizations, whereby the human and the intelligent and or autonomous agents can really work as a team.

In the present talk we will just briefly present some areas of application and the key challenges and opportunities they raise in terms of function allocation, dependability and overall system performance. In this sense a collaborative intelligent creative gesture is an innovation  that required a combined effort from an intelligent, robotic or autonomous agent and a human.



15:00-17:00 Session 9A: The Creativity of Critical Gestures
Metaphor as Picture and Gesture in Wittgenstein

ABSTRACT. This paper discusses metaphors and similes in connection with aspect-blindness and aspect-teaching in Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations.

“Pictures” play many roles in Wittgenstein’s work. First, he draws pictures, such as the duck-rabbit or the Necker cube. But he thinks of, and with, them too. When he thinks of what it means to intend, to have a goal or aim, he writes that the final interpretation of such an intention is a picture (Zettel, § 231): If I am applying for the Campobasso Symposium on Creative Gestures, I may have a picture in my mind of myself sitting thoughtfully in the ravishing brutalist university building of Molise with a notebook and a pen on the table in front of me. Differently but in a related sense, Wittgenstein thinks of religious belief in terms of putting one’s life under a picture (LC, 56). If I lead my life guided by the picture of this world as a trap set by an evil God, my life will be different than if I had the picture of a benevolent God in the back of my mind. In the Tractatus, furthermore, there is what has sometimes been taken to be a “picture theory of language.” Following the physicists Helmholz and Hertz who interpreted scientific practice as the production of pictures, Wittgenstein writes here: “Wir machen uns Bilder von den Tatsachen” (TLP 2.1).

However, the “pictures” that interest Wittgenstein in the Philosophical Investigations (or more broadly, since Philosophical Remarks) are metaphors, “analogies between the forms of expression in different regions of language” (PI, § 90). These metaphorical pictures can keep one “captive” (PI, § 115), an experience that he walks his reader through in §§ 90-116. Yet, he also uses a metaphorical devise to liberate oneself from pictures. In these passages, he namely produces several similes that help to see things differently. Moreover, in describing his aim in philosophy, he uses a simile to show how philosophy can show a way out of captivity (PI, §309).

In my talk, I take this gestural force of metaphor to help see things differently to be a case of what Wittgenstein, in Culture and Value and Philosophy of Psychology, thinks of as seeing something under a different “aspect.” I will investigate the double character of metaphors as captivating and liberating by looking at them in terms of Wittgenstein’s discussion of “aspect-blindness” and “teaching aspects” (PPF, §§ 129ff; 232ff; 257ff). Doing this, I will be keeping in mind also insights from post-Wittgensteinian theory of metaphor (Blumenberg, Black, Cohen, Davidson, de Man, Hesse, Rorty, Ricœur, Sontag). Simile, so goes the hypothesis, appears in Wittgenstein as philosophical gesture of disclosing aspects, a gesture curiously both creative – in changing everything about the way we see something – and unproductive – in leaving everything just as it is.

This talk is part of the invited panel “The Creativity of Critical Gestures.”

Dalinian Gestures: Freedom as Sovereignty and Political Ambivalence

ABSTRACT. Gestures are ways of pointing out something rather than saying it (Särkelä). However, they are also forms of self-expression, revealing something about the subjects who make them. For individuals, making a gesture involves expressing a way of relating to oneself. In my presentation, I will explore this expressive dimension in the context of "Dalinian" gestures and connect it to their politically ambivalent meaning. Dali once mentioned that initially, he wanted to be his cleaning lady, then Napoleon, and finally, Dali himself. As this shows, Dalinian gestures, encompassing his artwork, writings, sayings, and biography, were socially and politically ambivalent. Throughout his life, they served revolutionary leftist purposes, the form of life liberal capitalist consumer societies, and the legitimization of conservative and authoritarian regimes. Simultaneously, Dalinian gestures are closely tied to a form of self-relating marked by moments of blockage and explosion, reflecting an incapacity to engage in an appropriative relation to his own desires.

My objective is twofold: first, to demonstrate that Dalinian gestures should be interpreted as creative attempts at liberating oneself from such a reified self-relation (Honneth). Secondly, to provide an interpretation of the political ambivalence of Dalinian gestures deeply connected to the understanding of freedom embodied in those attempts. My claim is that the reason of the ambivalence lies in that Dalinian gestures represent expressions of creative attempts at gaining freedom as sovereignty (Loick) over oneself.

This talk is part of the panel "The Creativity of Critical Gestures"

Adorno in the Mirror

ABSTRACT. My contribution reads Theodor W. Adorno’s philosophy together through a photograph of the philosopher standing in front of a mirror which was shot in collaboration with the photographer Stefan Moses in 1963. In my paper, I begin my enquiry by focusing on the question of the self-portrait in Adorno’s philosophy, especially referring to his autobiographical work Minima Moralia, and then shift to assess other texts such as the Dialectics of Enlightenment and essays as The Subject and The Object and The Concept of Natural History. My attempt is to show how an analysis of the photograph juxtaposed with the text becomes a source of reflection with regards to Adorno’s philosophical architecture. In this paper, I firstly will address the question of Adorno’s relationship with the photographical medium and, subsequently, confront this portrait with other self-portraits from art history to draw out some aspects of it which help in reflecting upon the techniques of representation. In this portrait, Adorno points to himself in a way that emphasizes on the medium of reflection, both through the use of the mirror and of the reflex-camera. This act of mirroring, which I characterize as a formal interplay with the gesture of reflection is a recurrent structure in Adorno’s texts, as noted by both Martin Jay and Gillian Rose. (Jay, 1973: Rose, 1978) I show how the use of textual mirroring by Adorno is explicated by the use of the rhetorical device of the mirror-chiasmus. In this paper, I refer to Anthony Paul’s account of the typologies of chiasmi outlined in his 2022 book Chiasmus and Culture (Paul, 2022). A structure that subverts the relationship between two elements symmetrically as if these were reflected in a mirror, the mirror-chiasmus is often used by Adorno to complicate conceptual relations such as that between myth and enlightenment. Using this device, I want to show how the understanding of a creative gesture that is performed in an artwork, in this case, in Adorno’s self-portrait, can shed light on some of the conceptual structures which constitute Adorno’s philosophy. This paper, in understanding of the mirror-chiasmus as a gesture, attempts to create a common ground to assess and think through philosophy and art together. Therefore, it proposes to be the starting point for a project that encompasses other creative gestures, inverting the movement of criticism which usually goes from philosophy to art to one that would read philosophical texts informed by artistic forms instead.

This paper is part of the panel “The Creativity of Critical Gestures.”


- Jay, Martin. The Dialectical Imagination : A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 1923-1950. [1st ed.]. Boston: Little, Brown and co., 1973. - Wiseman, Boris, and Anthony Paul, eds. Chiasmus and Culture. New York: Berghahn Books, 2014. - Rose, Gillian. The Melancholy Science : An Introduction to the Thought of Theodor W. Adorno. London: Macmillan, 1978. - Adorno, Theodor W., and Hanns Eisler. Gesammelte Schriften. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1970.

Creating Scenes. Freud as a Genealogist

ABSTRACT. Sigmund Freud's primal scenes have been the target of criticisms and controversies. Both at the level of therapy - e.g., the Wolf-Man's case - and at the level of historical and enthropological speculation - e.g., in "Totem and Taboo" - Freud scenes look like arbitrary and mythological construction, devoid of scientific accuracy and of empirical validity. In this intervention I will argue that these scenes are insightful and productive exactly because of their lack of scientific validity and empirical accuracy. These scenes should be understood as part of Freud's genealogical and critical strategy - a strategy that is not necessarily debunking, but that can be problematizing, and even affirmative. To articulate this proposal, some remarks on genealogy, creativity, and mythology will be necessary. I will do that by including in the conversation Wittgenstein's and T.S. Eliot's remarks on Frazer's "The Golden Bough".

This proposal is part of Arvi Sarkela's panel "The Creativity of Critical Gestures"

15:00-17:00 Session 9B: Techology and Creative Gestures
Intentional Action and Creativity - The Challenge of AI

ABSTRACT. According to Margaret A. Boden, creativity is both fundamental to human action and a challenge for AI (1998). This paper is devoted to philosophical issues related to creativity. One debate that arises in the comparative perspective between human capabilities and AI is whether AI is limited to combinational forms of creativity or can generate novel ideas and even disrupt the dimensions of the space in which these ideas are applied. To clarify what we mean by creativity and the creative, the comparative perspective between human action and AI will be helpful. AI is an integral part of the practices and institutions of contemporary digital society. It is also a source of hard philosophical questions, and thus both a probing and a relevant area for philosophy. In the philosophy of agency, action is to be explained in terms of the intentionality of intentional action. Thus, the notion of intentional action is more fundamental than the notion of simple action. Moreover, acting for a reason is closely related to intentional action. Therefore, the question is not only whether AI is capable of conceiving unexplored combinations of familiar ideas, or whether it is capable of generating novel ideas by exploring structured conceptual spaces. Rather, the question is, first, whether AI is capable of being creative, and, second, whether its novel forms of creativity represent an area of inquiry for philosophy of action and related reflection on action and human creativity. The paper I am presenting is divided into three parts. 1. I am going to explain what creativity is. My approach will broadly consider it as a fundamental feature of human action. 2. Creativity and AI. I am going to raise the issue of improvisation and AI because it has given new impetus to the discussion above. For example, when discussing the potential of generative AI, people are again wondering how many combining and recombining elements can be found in both machine and human creativity. 3. A series of questions to guide us in our final discussion about creativity and the creative.

Media archaeology and gestures. Bodily inscriptions, affective imprints, and technical objects.

ABSTRACT. As the medium of modernity, the most representative among the optical media, cinema technologies have predominantly been traced back to previous illusionistic techniques anchored in the physiology of the human eye. Pioneering media archaeological approaches have recently directed attention to the crucial role of the other senses in the pre-cinematic and reconstructed a genealogy of the moving image based on the sense of touch and the act of touching the screen, which has today forcefully resurfaced in the digital mediascape (Strauven, 2021). Adopting the same non-ocularcentric perspective, my contribution will focus not on the sense of touch but on gestures, and particularly, on the bodily process of image making through early cinematic dispositifs, regarded in their philosophical nature as technical objects. According to Gilbert Simondon’s definition, a technical object is a composite of machinery and human gestures, of which it retains the meaning and the cognitive potential (Simondon, 1958). Therefore, grasping the logic and the identity of a machine, its history and archaeology, means analysing its technical properties together with the inscription, in its design, of the user’s body, whose movements and postures must be considered not as external but intrinsic to the instrument itself (Grespi 2017; 2019). In the case of early movie cameras, the way in which the positions of the operator, his/her gaze and manual dexterity are modelled through optical-mechanical elements, like the viewfinder and the hand-crank, is of critical relevance for the genealogy of the machine. Significant details concerning the design of the first cameras have recently been brought to light, but what is still missing is a reading of gestures of use both with reference to their cultural history, and to the series of machines characterized by the same bodily inscriptions. Further investigation concerns the relationship between the camera and gambling de-vices, first and foremost the slot machine, which is part of the gamut of coin-operated machines of crucial importance in the context of precinema (Huhtamo, 2005). The history of the design of the slot machine allows us to reflect on the gestures required from the users, in the conviction that even the most simply operative gesture is charged with a modulable affective dimension. Since gesture is “the articulation of an affect” (Flusser, 1991), a gesture-based genealogy of cinema reveals unexpected feeling poured onto the medium, and specifically its hidden nature as combinatory machine operating between chance and desti-ny. The rotating movement of the arm and wrist introduces the universe of ancient magic (recalling celes-tial mechanics, the wheel of fortune, and so on), and provides a modern version of it, in which mechanics becomes an ‘objective’ tool for divination (if trusting the predictions of a fortune-teller was to abandon oneself to superstition, then turning to the fated inner workings of a hand-cranked Fortune Teller Ma-chine meant taking advantage of a side effect of science). In sum, my speech will draw on anthropology and the philosophy of technique to develop an archaeology of cinema as a gestural machine, which expresses broader and more unexpected affective currents than those traditionally associated to the main device for recording, or narrating reality.

Triggering photography. A qualitative analysis of the media debate about the artistic gesture of Boris Eldagsen.

ABSTRACT. The sociology of art has focused extensively on transgression as a hallmark of contemporary art. Both socio-systemic (Luhmann 1995, Martignani 2023) and the phenomenological (Heinich 2021) traditions have addressed the dynamics through which art questions aesthetic, legal, and institutional boundaries. The value of performative gestures of transgression is largely dependent on communities current conflicts, ambiguities and imaginaries; therefore mediatization plays and increasingly central role in shaping modes and meaning of such boundary-crossing actions (Gemini 2003, 2008). In this regard, current innovations in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and computational technologies, which have become popular since the summer of 2022, are rapidly irritating different social systems and producing conflicts of opinion and changes in the technological imaginary. Within this framework, the controversy surrounding the award won by photographer Boris Eldagsen for an AI-generated picture offers a relevant case study. Eldagsen participated in the Sony World Photography Award in April 2023, winning the prize in the 'Creative' section with an AI-generated image entitled Pseudomnesia: The Electrician. However, the artist refused the prize, stating that he only participated to provoke a reflection on photography and the photorealistic image in the era of generative visual media (Arielli, Manovich 2023). His provocative gesture triggered a public debate involving the art and photography institutions, actors, and audiences, but also generalist media, amateurs and those who engage with generative technologies and artificial intelligence. The Boris Eldagsen's gesture allows to analyse the position of AI-generated photorealistic images within the collective imaginary of generative visual media and computational creativity, and their social role in mediatized communication. The following paper tackles the case study by using Instagram as the primary platform for the analysis, since it is still the main social media for the circulation of visual objects (Serafinelli, 2017; Rogers 2021). The research analyses the meanings produced in online interactions around the Boris Eldagsen's image. We used the Crowdtangle tool to collect a sample of posts related to the story over the course of one year: we identified the types of pages and profiles of the 380 Instagram posts to understand to which topic and area of interest is the news connected. In the second phase, we analysed the post content and the caption: a further selection of 152 posts in English and Italian allows us to reduce the sample and identify more specifically which positions and controversies emerge. Finally, to conclude the survey of public opinion, we analysed the posts comments, highlighting topics and sentiments; in this case, the sampling is achieved by saturation. Different positions arise on different issues because of Boris Eldagsen's gesture regarding the meaning of digital photographic images, whether AI can create artistic works, what the role of the artist and institution and which ethical and political trajectories could be pursued.

References Arielli, T., Manovich, L., 2023, Artificial Aesthetics: Generative AI, Art, and Visual Media, Gemini, L., 2003, L’incertezza creativa. I percorsi sociali e comunicativi delle performance artistiche, FrancoAngeli, Milano. Gemini, L., 2008, In viaggio. Immaginario, comunicazione e pratiche del turismo contemporaneo, FrancoAngeli, Milano. Heinich, N., 2021, La sociologia alla prova dell’arte, Mimesis. Luhmann, N., 2017, L’arte della società, Mimemis, Milano-Udine. Martignani, L., 2023, Le provocazioni dell’arte contemporanea come re-entry nel sistema dell’arte. Considerazioni a partire dalla proposta sociologica di Niklas Luhmann, in Quaderni di Teoria Sociale, V. 2 N. 2 (2023), pp. 136-156. Rogers, R., 2021, Visual media analysis for Instagram and other online platforms, in Big Data and Society, 8(1). Serafinelli, E., 2017, Analysis of Photo Sharing and Visual Social Relationships: Instagram as a case study, in Photographies, 10:1, pp. 91-111.

15:00-17:00 Session 9C: Not only “experts”: paths of creativity in/and the “system of science”
Paul K. Feyerabend on Creativity in Art and Science

ABSTRACT. In the course of Western modernity, a clear trend has been detectable to separate, more or less sharply, art and science, as well as their respective “products”. While ‘art’, and ‘the arts’ in which it has been articulated, should be conceived as the proper realm of human creativity – whatever the notion may mean – science and ‘the sciences’ should be conceived as the realm of rational thinking, for which creativity may represent a danger and should be replaced, at the most, with ‘originality’. Put differently, the artist is the gifted, talented human being allowed, and indeed expected, to trespass the borders of reason and rationality, while the (hard and soft) scientist should remain well anchored just to the rules of reason and rationality, as they have been canonized during the rise of Western modernity, in order to serve as a reliable, objective, neutral “expert”.

Despite this narrative, still alive and well, things have never unfolded like that, as demonstrated by the plain fact that what we usually term ‘discovery’ or ‘progress’ or ‘innovation’ and ‘novelty’ in the field of ‘science’ has indeed always to do with some degree of ‘creativity’. As a matter of fact, the inability to accept that plain fact arises from the still widespread idea that the ‘scientist’ should be an expert and not a (co-)creator, a circumstance that by the way can explain the current lack of properly ‘new’ ideas created by ‘science as a (mere) profession’ – if not in the field of technics and technologies – favoring instead a mere recombination of what is already well known, without any strive to meet courageously the unknown.

In every time and place, however, and that means also under the constraints of that “system of science” constituting one of the most celebrated “achievements” of Western modernity, people contradicting the rules of the game from within have always been (and still are, if invisibly) there, though enjoying an ambiguous reputation for their eccentricity – i.e., being those exceptions, which are said to have no other function than to prove the rule. In this panel, we will briefly consider three of such “exceptions” and their positions on creativity: David Bohm, Paul K. Feyerabend and Vilém Flusser, trying to show how creativity has indeed been central to their thinking, still offering relevant hints as to the possibility to enter the ‘way of creativity’, open even to those who have been trained in the by now somewhat asphyxiating, and ultimately useless, role of the specialist, the professional, and the expert.

Inebriation and the Apparatus: Vilém Flusser on the Creative Gesture

ABSTRACT. In the course of Western modernity, a clear trend has been detectable to separate, more or less sharply, art and science, as well as their respective “products”. While “art”, and “the arts’” in which it has been articulated, should be conceived as the proper realm of human creativity – whatever the notion may mean – science and “the sciences” should be conceived as the realm of rational thinking, for which creativity may represent a danger and should be replaced, at the most, with ‘originality’. Put differently, the artist is the gifted, talented human being allowed, and indeed expected, to trespass the borders of reason and rationality, while the (hard and soft) scientist should remain well anchored just to the rules of reason and rationality, as they have been canonized during the rise of Western modernity, in order to serve as a reliable, objective, neutral “expert”. Despite this narrative, still alive and well, things have never unfolded like that, as demonstrated by the plain fact that what we usually term “discovery”, “progress’” or “innovation” and “novelty” in the field of “science” has indeed always to do with some degree of creativity. As a matter of fact, the inability to accept this plain fact arises from the still widespread idea that the “proper” scientist should be an expert and not a (co-)creator, a circumstance that by the way can explain the current lack of properly “new” ideas created by science understood as a (mere) profession – if not in the field of technics and technologies – favoring instead a mere recombination of what is already well known, without any strive to meet courageously the unknown. In every time and place, however, and that means also under the constraints of that “system of science” constituting one of the most celebrated “achievements” of Western modernity, people contradicting the rules of the game from within have always been (and still are, if invisibly) there, though enjoying an ambiguous reputation for their eccentricity – i.e., being those exceptions, which are said to have no other function than to prove the rule. In this panel, we will briefly consider three of such “exceptions” and their positions on creativity: David Bohm, Paul K. Feyerabend and Vilém Flusser, trying to show how creativity has indeed been central to their thinking, still offering relevant hints as to the possibility to undertake the “way of creativity”, open even to those who have been trained in the by now somewhat asphyxiating, and ultimately useless, role of the specialist, the professional, and the expert

Beyond the individual and the collective: David Bohm's perspective on creativity

ABSTRACT. In the course of Western modernity, a clear trend has been detectable to separate, more or less sharply, art and science, as well as their respective “products”. While “art”, and “the arts’” in which it has been articulated, should be conceived as the proper realm of human creativity – whatever the notion may mean – science and “the sciences” should be conceived as the realm of rational thinking, for which creativity may represent a danger and should be replaced, at the most, with ‘originality’. Put differently, the artist is the gifted, talented human being allowed, and indeed expected, to trespass the borders of reason and rationality, while the (hard and soft) scientist should remain well anchored just to the rules of reason and rationality, as they have been canonized during the rise of Western modernity, in order to serve as a reliable, objective, neutral “expert”. Despite this narrative, still alive and well, things have never unfolded like that, as demonstrated by the plain fact that what we usually term “discovery”, “progress’” or “innovation” and “novelty” in the field of “science” has indeed always to do with some degree of creativity. As a matter of fact, the inability to accept this plain fact arises from the still widespread idea that the “proper” scientist should be an expert and not a (co-)creator, a circumstance that by the way can explain the current lack of properly “new” ideas created by science understood as a (mere) profession – if not in the field of technics and technologies – favoring instead a mere recombination of what is already well known, without any strive to meet courageously the unknown. In every time and place, however, and that means also under the constraints of that “system of science” constituting one of the most celebrated “achievements” of Western modernity, people contradicting the rules of the game from within have always been (and still are, if invisibly) there, though enjoying an ambiguous reputation for their eccentricity – i.e., being those exceptions, which are said to have no other function than to prove the rule. In this panel, we will briefly consider three of such “exceptions” and their positions on creativity: David Bohm, Paul K. Feyerabend and Vilém Flusser, trying to show how creativity has indeed been central to their thinking, still offering relevant hints as to the possibility to undertake the “way of creativity”, open even to those who have been trained in the by now somewhat asphyxiating, and ultimately useless, role of the specialist, the professional, and the expert.

15:00-17:00 Session 9D: Creativity and Communication
AI and Creativity in the Media: An Abductive Perspective
Gestures as metacognitive moves: On the creative potential of multimodal semiosis during musical improvisation

ABSTRACT. We investigate the creative strategies involved in musical improvisation, focusing on the interaction of two phenomena central to embodiment: gestures and metacognition. Our particular interest is how gestures and other body movements may anchor metacognition during dynamic, intertwined processes of musical improvisation. While creating something new, the demanding cognitive-bodily task of improvising depends on multi-level processes of constraints such as verbal structures and rules, performance space, audience, patterns of bodily movement, music, and musical instruments (Author 2). For example, in oral poetry improvisation, which is the focus of the present contribution, poet-singers and rappers alternate in cycles of multilayered interaction: In traditions such as freestyle rap and Brazilian repente, improvisers engage in competitive dialogues attempting to surprise the opponent and the audience, while adhering to strict constraints of the improvisational style. To be able to do that, improvisers need to control, monitor, and evaluate the results of their own improvisations throughout the challenge, particularly when improvising and thus performing creative elaborations. We analyze this activity as a practice of embodied cognition of improvisers, distributed among various cognitive artifacts such as time, theme, meter and rhyme. More specifically, our goal is to investigate improvisers' meta-cognitive responses, focusing on the semiotic processes embodied during improvisation. Metacognition is considered as cognition about cognition (first and second-order cognitive process), e.g. as a metarepresentation – ‘knowing what one knows’; or more generally as the control and monitoring of one's own cognitive activity (Arango-Muñoz 2019). Metacognition can use procedural cues, context dependent inputs for self-evaluation (Proust 2019). We argue that gestures and other body movements are multimodal patterns of embodied diagrammatic activity (not internal symbol-based processes) that generate procedural cues reducing the cognitive load of metacognition (Author 1 & 2), facilitating decisions related to the exploration of new musical ideas. The theoretical considerations and sample analyses offered here build the groundwork for ensuing larger-scale empirical studies investigating how metacognition and gestures jointly drive the creative process of musical improvisation in different artistic contexts and how they shape musicians’ multimodal discourses about their performance practices. Using ELAN software (e.g. Kirsh 2011) and motion-capture technology we will conduct an analysis of the relation between motor activity on the one hand and meter and rhyme schemes in rap and repente challenges on the other. Then, the emerging patterns will be interpreted as distinct processes of semiosis, using Peirce's mature semiotics (e.g., Peirce 1966; Author 3). The aim of this approach is to understand how the relation between these (motor and verbal) activities operates metacognitively. Our hypotheses suggest that: 1) embodied and distributed gestural patterns and bodily movements structure the verbal improvisation task; 2) these patterns play a functional role in reducing the cognitive cost associated with the creative tasks of controlling, monitoring, and evaluating improvisation, allowing the improviser to focus on creative aspects; and 3) gesturing and playing an instrument (e.g. the viola in repente) serve as cognitive-bodily anchors enabling the improviser to manipulate and stabilize a representation of the verse, thus facilitating not only metacognition, but also following creative impulses and their multi-layered elaboration.

References: Anonymized AUTHOR 1 & AUTHOR 2 AUTHOR 2 AUTHOR 3 Arango-Muñoz, S. (2019). Metacognición. In Enciclopedia de la Sociedad Española de Filosofía Analítica (URL: Kirsh, David. (2011). How marking in dance constitutes thinking with the body. Versus: Quaderni di Studi Semiotici 113-115. 179–210. Issn: 0393-8255 Peirce, Charles S. (1931–1966). The collected papers of Charles S. Peirce, Vol. 8, Charles Hartshorne, Paul Weiss & Arthur W. Burks (eds.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Proust, J. (2019). From comparative studies to interdisciplinary research on metacognition. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 6(4), 309–328.

To be added after the anonymous review:

Atã, P. & Queiroz, J. (2016). Multilevel poetry translation as a problem-solving task . Cognitive Semiotics, 9(2), 139-147. Perissinotto, H. T. D., & Queiroz, J. (2023). Metacognition and diagrams in marking-for-self. Cognitive Semiotics, 16(2), 145–168. Mittelberg, I. (2019). Peirce’s universal categories: On their potential for gesture theory and multimodal analysis. Semiotica, 2019(228), 193–222.

Everything has to be done the Polish Way. Creativity Barriers Experienced by Innovators in a Post-Soviet Society

ABSTRACT. Innovators from post-Soviet transition societies experience barriers to creativity different from those experienced by inventors in developed countries. Since there has been little research into this subject so far, this article is an attempt to fill this gap. The aim of the study is to explore the mindset and environmental creativity hurdles experienced by Polish innovators as the representatives of post-Soviet states. The data was collected through individual in-depth interviews. Sixteen innovators from Bialystok, a city in the eastern part of Poland, were interviewed. The findings show that innovators experience both individual and environmental hurdles in their creativity actions. In the case of mindset barriers, the feeling of low self-esteem and lack of appropriate knowledge are listed as the most significant barriers, especially at the beginning of the career. The study has shown that although individual barriers hinder creative work, innovators make successful attempts to overcome them. Environmental blocks, however, have the most detrimental influence on innovators’ creativity and are the most difficult to overcome. Among these barriers innovators mention the characteristics of Homo Soviectus mentality, such as informal relations, nepotism, and lack of trust among academics and businesspeople. The study supports the hypothesis that the post-Soviet culture largely determines the low innovation level in Eastern European countries.