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RESEARCH-PHILOSOPHY- CREATIVITY


Stop imagining a poetics of everyday life and make it happen.
Become a camel, then a lion, and then a child, and then begin again, until death.
- Henri Lefebvre


Nomadic Creativity

VJEKO SAGER

The outside of philosophy is a wasteland fit only for nomads. - Immanuel Kant

Creative Lifestyle


The ultimate goal of life is to find out what “drives you”... Yet, this is easier to say than to realize, as our path is filled with obstacles and doubts. Despite all odds, some of us continue to pursue their inner calling. Creativity is one of those vocations that brings  permanent sense of wonder and drives the mind ahead of the body. Creative lifestyle means to refuse excuses and follow the mind.


Drawing at the cafe’s is my daily habit, allowing me to keep the mind, hand and eye in coordination. The smell of coffee and ambient noise provides a perfect space for high levels of concentration and I know I am in the zone when everything around me ceases to exist. 


I start drawing without ever knowing what will happen and I enjoy the thrill of seeing the image drawing itself,  appearing through the whiteness of the paper. This sensation is similar to excavating an idea or being present at it’s  birth. 


Every idea asks for a different treatment  and I am often changing drawing methods and instruments to allow particular image to appear in its purest form. This way I adapt all my knowledge and skills to serve the occasion, like a surgeon or restorer of some precious treasure.

Open Studios


Early summer breeze at the Alice Lake (near Squamish) was flipping  through my papers, like a delicate fingers of some curious creature...


Water was brought from the lake and trees provided a perfect shade for midday sunshine. In short, a studio to dream for...


It is absolutely divine, to be at the source of inspiration, away from civilized disruptions. Every line absorbed the freshness from the  air and marks on paper appeared as sharp as pine trees...mixed with muddy grey colours of stones washed out by long rains.


It is impossible to copy nature, and I will never understand those who desperate pretend to “capture” natural beauty. All experiences  fall short in conveying smells, vibrations, temperature and  other innumerable ingredients that are burried beyond perception, like memories of the summer.


Eastern wisdom  teaches us that art stands in the middle in between perception and imagination and  image is the place where memory and vision overlap. 

photos by Amona RA



Drawing Thoughts

VJEKO SAGER

“Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” – Miles Davis


Errare humanum est



          Drawing stubbornly resists to be seduced by technology. It endures classifications and formulations, disciplinary divisions and political correctness. Drawing refuses formal treatments and continues to take advantage of error, scratch and spillage of inks on paper. Drawing connects mind, surface and hand, relaying on incidents that cannot be understood  by  machines. In fact, the ultimate reason why drawing keeps on existing is - appreciation for  mistakes.


Unplugged



It is the impossible to digitalize serendipity. Drawing generates delicate washes and scratches that cannot be translated into binary data. It requires intuition, chance, skills, inspiration, response, accuracy, emotion, speed and slowness at the same time.  Delicate yet passionate, drawing is practiced by individuals who have capacity to produce maximum results with least amount of instruments. In fact, drawing maybe the most genuine medium of all, due to it’s directness.

Drawing Future 


Drawing carries creative seeds of the future. Fortunately, there is a great number of youngsters who are currently re-discovering the act of drawing through power of time, better known as a “zone”.

The act of drawing generates creative bubble  which quiets the surroundings and guards the mind from the noise, protecting us from stress and loss of inventiveness. 


True question is not what to draw, but what not to draw. - V. Sager



Sketching Thoughts

VJEKO SAGER

There is nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown - (Canetti 1981, 15/13)



The end of memory


We live in times that will be remembered as the age of contradictions: we claim technological advancement and face the loss of nature, praise interactions and remain isolated more than ever before, engage in multitasking and crave for creative authenticity. Those who experienced this world before digitalization, had different sense of life. Living involved all senses, things were tangible, experiences memorable, time was coherent and people were talking to each other. The end of history is nothing but the end of memory, and who needs memory in times of search engines? As Google became a synonym for knowledge, digital natives don’t ever need to remember a thing. As an educator, I am aware of contradictions that technology imprints on students’ minds by turning virtual sensations into pseudo-experiences . Miss Emily Carr used to advise young artists to: “Be careful that you do not write or paint anything that is not your own, that you don't know in your own soul.” (Klee Wyck, 1941)

Lost time


Sketching is one of those practices that requires absolute presence. Not only because it connects mind, eye and hand, but because it requires a somatic time. A time to stop and reflect, take a (critical) distance and allow fresh ideas to enter the mind. Sketching brings back the sense of presence.

Flatland


Rectangle is the rarest form that exists in nature, yet it appears to be the most common shape of anything we make, from buildings, screens to sheets of paper. The autocracy of rectangle confines creative freedom by imposing compositional rules. Due to planar thinking, most images turn naïve and flat. Flatness stands for “void of time” and this is the reason why technology compresses space and time into a “permanent now”.
Meaning of art is based on immersion (all senses) and it is essential to overcome binary thinking and implement the notion of the pictorial space, as space liberates form and allows mind to perceive the wonders of perception.

Escape form Flatland


The main reason for creative block is inertia. Changing spaces means changing times. Creative energy depends on perpetual flow of ideas and their transformation into actions & events. Aristoteles’s Lyceum was a peripatetic (school of walk), which practiced walking while studying, similar to many notable schools that followed this idea. Creative nomadism brings freshness to the mind, as all senses are activated and engaged by motion. Sometimes, mind can travel without body, as Deleuze and Guattari indicate: “You can sit still and be a nomad. Nomadism is a way of being”. (Capitalism and Schizophrenia, A Thousand Plateaus,1980)

Sketch or draw


They may seem to be alike, but there is a considerable difference in between sketching and drawing. Sketching is a conversation with oneself, an attempt to see what we think. Drawing is more ambitious, as it aims to communicate ideas and intentions with others. It usually requires longer time and more elaborate depiction. For this reason, drawing has autonomous life, while sketches remain safely guarded and compiled into sketchbooks.

Creative nomad


My sketching practice depends on many factors and each of them is important in some unique way. It is possible to draw with anything, but certain fetishism surrounds drawing instruments and their treatment. For example, every paper determines a choice of media and demands particular drawing strategy. Some papers absorb and other reject the same medium and that’s why it is impossible to buy paper without touching it. In addition, every drawing methods re-acts differently according to countless reasons and it is essential to have all the instruments at hand. Having this in mind, I configured a portable studio (backpack), to carry all indispensable drawing tools.

Coffee culture


Coffee plays an important role in my drawing and I love the smell and noise of the coffee shops, which serves as a sealant for my creative bubble. As a part of the sketching ritual, I usually dip my brushes into coffee to add warm and delicate brown washes to the drawing. Ambient noise buffers my ears and I don’t hear sounds while I am in the “zone”. Some of my best works are by-product of coffee culture.

Transubstantiation


Conceptually, my sketches act like a signage on the road, showing me which way to go and which directions to avoid. As my interests and directions vary, drawing remains the only medium assisting me to perceive the invisible and attain the impossible. There is a good reason why Greek word “idea” translates as “form”. Over the years, I’ve seen thousands of my ideas appearing on paper, engraved, revealed, imprinted, spilled, scratched, or gently rubbed. Some turned to be unique and memorable and some caused creative agony. Some rushed to emerge and others tried to escape. My sketchbooks remain a genuine evidence of my creativity, reminding me of seized and missed opportunities to understand who I am. I am what I draw.




Drawing exposes bad things in people. - Leonardo da Vinci


In the Name of the Image

VJEKO SAGER

imago = likeness = eikōn = icon = image = imagination = picture = painting = symbol



Image


Imago (imagi-nation) is mental image based on memory. Similarly as JPG files, memories are compressed for easier retrieval. We often forget that images are stored as complex recollections, involving inner (emotions) and external factors (space-event). Imagination may be regarded as retrieval of these imago-memories which generate new (imaginary) images.

Photograph


What most people call image is not an image but a photograph. Photon-graphos (engraving with light) mimics reality, because it imitates our way of seeing. Actually, photograph is as far from reality, as it captures  abruptly reflected light. To call photograph “real” is the ultimate reversal of truth. 

Icon


Acheiropoieta was a term for miracolous images “not done by hand”, which magically appeared on the surface. Icon is a symbolic image, which traditionally attains power beyond comprehension. Nevertheless today’s icons are called small digital interface buttons with magic powers of another kind. 

Ancient Greek εἴδωλον (eídōlon, “image, idol”), from εἶδος (eîdos, “form”)

Icon is in fact eidolon or idol, originally from Greek word eidos which means form. In this sense eidos also means idea (form), or better to say mental picture.





Picture


Ancient cultures refer to a picture as a threshold between mind and nature. Made by hand, often using paint (pictura), picture is merger of perceptive and mental resemblance. This kind of image-making is still present in Oriental arts (ink-based painting). Sumi-e and similar styles are based on combination of observation, memory and intensive practice, maintaining creativity at the level of meditation.

Digital glare

 
We should pay attention when speaking of images, making sure the term relates to visual sensation we try to describe. That’s why it is important to say that technology-generated “images” (a.k.a. digital pictures) and not images at all. They are binary codes (electromagnetic bits) which are stored and retreived by software which uses light that emanates form the screen (pixels) to project the invisible algorithm. Images made with light have magical powers and  that’s the reason behind addiction and dependence on glaring screens.





Death of Light

VJEKO SAGER

PERIPATETIC photography

per·i·pa·tet·ic/ˌperēpəˈtedik/
1. traveling from place to place, in particular working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
Ancient schools of philosophy praticed thinking, walking and talking, in order to keep body and mind agile.

Walking with a camera provides perfect perspective of the world, allowing constant change of scenery and opportunity to perceive nuances,  sporadic events and capture visual curiosities. Photography is the best tool to capture memories...yet, photography is a DEATH OF LIGHT, as photons “die” while “engraving the image”. 

I use photography as a prosthetic of vision, which allows me to retain what would otherwise be a fleeing moment.  
In this sense, I search for visual paradoxes, moments of synchronicity and weirdness, residues and fragments of life, neglected, rejected and unimportant imprints, evidence of events and complex entaglements of trivial things.
Photography is the best evidence of visual thinking, as there is nothing in between mind and image, but a shutter.


Decision to press the shutter reveals our state of mind. 







Acheiropoieta

VJEKO SAGER

(Byzantine Greek: ἀχειροποίητα, “made without hand”; singular acheiropoieton) — also called Icons
Made Without Hands (and variants) — are Christian icons which are said to have come into existence miraculously, not created by a human.


In the old days, before darkness wrapped the Earth, artists used their arts to worship the Light. Every step of art making served only one purpose: to purify the soul. Firstly, artist was supposed to prepare a surface for the sacrifice, made out of skin glue and white chalk. Polished with hand, gesso would become smooth and hard like a bone. Then, he would grind, filter and clean pigments, until they achieve their purest hues. Pigments will be mixed with egg emulsion, symbolizing unification with the Sun. Coloured emulsion would be applied with soft sable brush using gentle gestures. White gesso would absorb and intensify luminous transparency of colours that will never be mixed in between themselves, but laid devotionally on top of each other. Every step of the process would be accompanied with a prayer and work will be finalized with grea  joy and sense of fulfillment, Painting will never be signed, as signature represents ego that exercises dominance over the content. If ever, signature might appear on the back of the painting, referring “the slave of art” followed by  a humble name.  

Acheiropoieta is an image that reflects  painter’s soul.








Painting - silver leaf & oil on canvas 





Ignorance is fearless.- V. Sager


Jump Into Void

VJEKO SAGER



empus neminem mane

/ time waits for no one /

Archeology is not a science of the past, but of the future. Further we look into the past, better we can envision the time to come. Unfortunately, most of us look back only in moments of desperation and to make things even worse, we rarely analyse the present. This is why almost no one feels comfortable predicting the future. 

In the moment of bliss, Kandinsky exclaimed: “Everything started talking to me!”.

To become aware of nuances means to be able to establish connection among things. In this sense Greek word POESIS means to become a mediator in between the world and spirit. 



Dimidum facti, qui coepit, habet

/ once you’ve started, you’re halfway there /

This is one of my favourite drawings, which arrived into this world (almost) by itself. In fact, I am not sure if I did anything, but facilitated marks and traces to appear on paper. All I did was to wait for the right moment and act as a transmitter of the idea.

Is this art? Regardless the definition, I felt directly connected with the source of the idea, in other words, I became a medium or “mode of expression”. What some call medium is actually just a tool, like pencil or computer, and focusing on tools means refraining from art.

Omnia cause fount

/ everything happens for a reason /

What do you see in this picture? Orwellian message? Prisoner’s signature? Secret code? Nothing?

Knowledge stops before logic and logic stops before intuition. The way we perceive the world depends on the capacity to link and identify things, but knowledge often goes as far as the reason or intellect can go. Then, there is nothingness, this empty void, cold and distant…which conceals what actually exists. Yet, who is willing and brave to step into nothing?



Salire in vacui

/ jump into void

Every moment provides an opportunity to escape from this dimensions. Firstly, we have to free ourself from prejudices, norms and regulations. The power of will is nothing but this crack in time, a fleeting moment, a chance to take action. The power of will turns impossible into possible. 

However, there is always doubt which acts like a little screw that got loose. And clock with a loose screw cannot run on time...The crack becomes wider and soon it turns itself into an abyss which swallows those who wait. Only those who understand  past will understand future. So, forget the now and take a leap.



Particles Without Theory

VJEKO SAGER



written on 12 years old dust in my studio
Dust is everything and nothing at the same time. Touching upon events and interactions, dust particles float through space gathering memories and events into neglected corners. Our dead cells merge with plants, animals and minerals, creating chaotic mixtures of undefined dimensions. Dust carries memory of its origin like a code. In some way, dust (as memory) covers the entire Earth, reminding us on the meaning of time. Each particle  once belonged to someone or something and it will again become a property of something or someone. This way, every speckle is eternally used and reused. Dust is entropy.  Dust is alive. It breathes winds, gets sick and spreads diseases. Dust is time and it slowly and patiently measures hours and days, millenia and eons. Dust is to be worshipped, like every memory... and like every memory, it dissapears, somewhere where all memories are hidden.



Vjeko Sager
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