High Definition Imaging: the Paradox of Creativity within the Academy’

TR Flaxton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


In this paper I examine the creative tension that requires academic research to generate creative acts and vice versa, when research requires a methodology and creativity more often requires spontaneous and intuitive behavior. I will do this by reflecting on the outcome of my 3 year AHRC Creative Research Fellowship through the experience of both creating and exhibiting the series of research works, as a combined creative, theoretical and research gesture, within the moment when some argue that the time is becoming ‘postdigital’. My core research question was arguably couched within the digital: “How will High Definition Imaging affect the nature of art and entertainment from the point of view of both practitioners and audiences?” When I proposed my fellowship it was on the basis that the argument I would be making would exist within the work itself as opposed to within theoretical writing about the subject (which I would accomplish later with critical reflection). However, a deep question that pervaded my research process was implicit in the feeling that I was creating work with the wrong goal in mind and I struggled with that feeling until I felt I’d managed to balance the twin agendas of research and creativity. The key to finding that balance resided within a re-reading of Georgia O’Keefe who had said on becoming blind in later life: “creativity is like an abyss and it is only when you have dived into the darkness that your fear might turn into wings.” This understanding of the creative gesture was framed within the analogue and stimulated me to remain spontaneous when everything that academic practice seemed to demand was to replace the spontaneous with contrivance – as a scientist might construct a hypothesis only to then go on to find the proof for that hypothesis. I describe my journey, show some of the work, describe the exhibition process and reveal the extent to which the spontaneous and the intuitive aided me in search of the creative gesture that enabled me to balance the creative act with academic practice.
Translated title of the contributionHigh Definition Imaging: the Paradox of Creativity within the Academy’
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWatershed Media Center
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

Bibliographical note

Name and Venue of Event: Postdigital Encounters: Creativity and Improvisation
Conference Proceedings/Title of Journal: Journal of Media Practice Symposium 2011
Medium/genre: Symposium


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