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Imagination - as a method

Author: Shi Qing Translator: Liu Yiwen 2007

The premise of looking imagination as a method is that you stll believe you have the ability to imagine or the fact that imagination is one of the few art methods. This is my feelings towards today’s sociological shift in art. It would ba a good thing art integrates with academics, which broadens the art ways. And sociology is also my favourite science. Art itslef has no problem because art should be diverse in themes, methods even standards. If you can produce good works nobody will care your producing ways. But if the diverse character of art become a trend, a authoity or even a strategy, we need to think twice. Nowadays artists are not enough confident and mature and lack of ideas. They pay too much attention to other complex things.

We look imagination as a method, become imagination is closely related with our ego. This also reveals that we still have not mastered it.

Imagination in an Individual View

I think art is an individual thing essentially. Generally speaking, scientific thinking is against artistic thinking, which also including the rational thinking in social sciences.Science is based on logical positivism controlling the error within a certain range. It is because science is measurable and can be tought to people that we can continue to study and develop the science. While all these put in art are different things. Art is a kind of expressive methods and the points of view. Art is a relatively independent individual system. Once an artst died, this system disappeared too. The differences in soul are totally individual and can not be replicated. While imagination is the fruit of individual consciousness and the free association of mind. It is an amplifier of individual sound. Art and imagination encounter unexpectedly.

It is undoubted that sociological methods are the main stream in academic world.Even so, art still describes our world in a traditional and mysterious way. The assumption of studying this world totally in a rational order is a super ideal of Descartes and Kant. And Nietzsche and his embracers attempt to restore the true look of our world, a complex, diverse, vague and broken look. Only through a sequence of explanations, not concepts,we can understand this world. This is the social possibility of artists' existence. I hope there is no collision between art and sociology which can provide an angle of watching for the individual, using nearly real first person to get close to the original state of the world. So that the individual system can connect with its life and provides a platform for us to observe and understand the world and then sample from the social life.

Physical Attributes of Imagination

Imagination definitely comes from our bodies, which is a twin brother of our instinct. Imagination depends on individual's experience while the experience, to a large degree, born of our bodies. Rational consciousness provides us lthe logic training. It is a method of induction based on reasoning and proving.Then we can get accurate answers in which there are no surprises. Our body is an image of the world,so called "tiny universe", whose complexity pushes us to question the answers containing errors. Rational consciousness suppresses the emotions through the public mechanism and emotions are forced to change channels to search breakthoughs.Rational consciousness will appear in our dreams and inexplicable motives and for sure, they also can be another exit of the imagination. Our body is the takeoff runway of the imagination, which are wanton, impulsive, unreasonable and inconceivable.It is the primitive recovery of the individual’s essence. In today's stressful social system, imagination becomes the only legal channel. It is a masquerade of our body. It is a grammar rhetoric of our body.

Art should actively cooperate with our body to reserve the secret path of individual's ego and keep the direct art methods used by individuals.These primitive, mysterious and emotional consciousnesses are related to the body closely. This is the times of the body's rejuvenation.

Politicization in Imagination

The imagination can be thought as a way of understanding the realities in our world.Actually, the word "reality" is a politicised word and so is the imagination. The access to the public or individual life is very limited. What we get is more from the social media actively or passively. The developed media provides us a platform to get in touch wtih a broader world.Certainly the information is replayed,noisy and used.So it is alike the imagination.The strength in "collective imagination" or "social imagination" can make anything commercial goods.Criminal case is one of the best object in "collective imagination", which caters to the psychological state for peeping. Although some social information is professional and secret, we still can get many criminal reports on newspapers and TVs showing the completed plots and details in criminal cases.Our violent peep is a consumer behavior meeting the profits of the media. With the help of collecttive imagination, the media becomes the product processed by the power will and commercial interests. The media is political even with the imagination as a used medium it still is political.

Art also shares the politicization, which plays the role of reporting the information in society. Individual's self-expression and imagination is ultimately inexistent. Only in social groups can art produce sharing values. The possible communications decide the premise for art to make impacts.So art can be looked as an individual media for individuals in our society which also needs individual imagination.

Narrative Borrowing in Imagination

Narratives is a language habit and conveys informations in time. When imaginations come into the time orbit, naturally narratives become the frame of imaginations and build effective communications.After all,narratives is one of the oldest expressive ways,travelling together with human beings' histories,traditions and culturals. It is the genetic code of people's public consciousness.Before the civilization emerged, narratives continued myths and religions in oral ways. Text era is the heyday of narratives when some complex narrative systems were built up like histories and fictions. While in modern times,images displace texts.And this greatly stimulates the possibilities in image imagination.Narratives exist in images themselves. People are familiar with the grammar in commercial advertisements and music videos. Imaginations return to the origin of narratives and give the soul of narratives.

To restore the narratives in art is to restore the possibilities of the complexity and comprehensiveness in our expressions. The imagination plays as a successor of the narratives and continues to meet the narrative need in our society. While the attitude towards narratives from the contemporary art is very vague. The symbolic images look likely to stop the narratives rudely but fit to the narratives in the imagination.Now we need narratives in the contemporary art is out of question and the urgent thing is to build a new narrative in a new circumstance.

Methods In Imagination

"Historical Imagination" in the dimension of time:putting individual experiences into histories. Classical histories, for me, make no sense. They are like the dried dead bodies.The complexity and the contingency in histories are filtered "properly" in intentional or unintentional manners, especially the physical context.Furthermore,the changes in historical context themselves are a kind of classical histories' self-emasculation. Only in new experiences, can histories acquire new reproductive capacity. Personally speaking,histories provide imaginative materials.Imaginations are the microbes destroying our histories and have the possibility to creat new lives. Taking histories as an entry, imaginations will perform many strange images.

"Individual City" in spacial ecology: Individual experiences build the structure of our cities. Individual physiology and psychology complete the social existence and extension at the aid of the life and imaginations in reality. The city space consists of numerous individual spaces and crossed public spaces, in which individual ecological path reveals.Everything about physical bodies and imaginations fill in the net structure of urban streets and different spaces are activated. The grammar of individuals in the city is complex,sentimental, fragmented and vivid.Individual imagination suspends in the sky over our real city, which the light and color firstly get through and then shine on evey corner in our city.

Purpose of Imagination

Imagination is an old training method used by us to observe ourselves.And art is a return of sensible strength, a magic to recall our hypnotised bodies and souls and a channel to restore our perceptions and emotions, which is significant in self-treatment. I' m very sure that art is not only the luxury in visual illusions and social economies but a new Shaman of self-identification. Imaginations hold the wizard wand of the secret of the world and lead us into a world of freedom. To rouse imaginations is to awaken yourself. Maybe this is the real purpose of art.

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