Intuition and Creative Practice: from a Material to an Immaterial Approach

Flavia Amadeu


The seminar will approach the thematic of intuition in order to lead a discussion about creative emergence in collaborative processes in art and design. Intuition will be considered as an element of practical intelligence, which lies beyond conscious awareness, is difficult to articulate and comprises knowledge that is acquired experientially and stored tacitly. This definition is one of the categories of Robert J. Sternberg’s theory, which draws together creativity, practice and analysis (Gerard P. Hodgkinson et al., 2008, p. 4-6).

The first part of the seminar will consider intuition and practice as a circular generative process, as a catalyst to creativity. Giaccardi & Candy (2009, p. 194) describe how materiality is connected to memory and imagination; while the sensory experience informs memory, the physicality of the material in turn influences the creative cognition through the practice. This suggests that experience is fundamental for the acquisition and development of tacit knowledge.

The second part will consider a dematerialization of the creative process. In this view, the focus from the material/the objects shift to the process, which can be seen within human interaction and participation in arts and design fields. According to Giaccardi, Lyotard speaks of “a ‘general interaction’, which replaces the structural principle of a stable substance with an unstable set of relations.” In this way, the material disappears as an independent entity and it becomes the immaterial (Giaccardi, 2003, p.33). In this relational function, empathy appears as essential for the construction of synergetic experiences in order to enable tacit knowledge to be exteriorized, as argued by Fischer (2000, p.530-531).
This seminar will show how this model of intuition might relate to design practice in the interplay with different elements in collaborative dynamics, such as in metadesign and in participatory methods. This is not a discretionary view of the subject as a single perception but as a (pre)thinking form, which intends to extend the comprehension of how strategies in design might be discussed and lead into my research and practice so far.


Reading for Seminar:

Fischer, G. (2000) ‘Symmetry of ignorance, social creativity, and meta-design’Knowledge-Based Systems,  (13).

Giaccardi, E. (2005) Metadesign as an Emergent Design Culture.  Leonardo, 38, (4)

Hodgkinson, G. P., Langan-Fox, J. & Sadler-Smith, E. (2008) ‘Intuition: a fundamental bridging construct in the behavioural sciences’British Journal of Psychology,  (99). pp 27.

Spinuzzi, C. (2005) ‘The Methodology of Participatory Design’. Technical Communication,  (2).

Treadaway, C. (2009) ‘Materiality, Memory and Imagination: Using Empathy to Research Creativity’Leonardo, 42 (3).