Constraints and Creativity

Constraints, to me, is a very interesting topic. From the past, I’ve seen through my experiences, the (good) effect  constraints have.

You know what they say – If it does not break you, it makes you stronger.

I would like to hear about what you think are some examples of the formal constraints that shape art.

1. Iambic Pentameter (to create sonnets) –

2. Venpa – one of the many tamil poetic forms and expressible as a context free grammar!

3. Mathematics!

4. Programming

5. Western Classical music – (as i understand) music is not playing any random frequency, but choosing from 12 frequencies (monochormatic scale) and their octaves. Even in this, a piece of music is usually made up of only a subset of these frequencies… (pentatonic, ditonic)… It is interesting to note that major scales give a happy feel and the minor ones give a sad feel!

Overall – I believe that constraints are not stifling, but give a grounding for expression.


3 Responses to “Constraints and Creativity”

  1. karen mackay Says:

    I see a parallel between the notion of constraints and the “starving artist” or “tortured artist”. That somehow without limitations, barriers or challenges we fail to create to a level that is seen with these constraints. With too much freedom creativity seems to wither.

    My first semester of grad school my studio professor often set many strict guidelines for our projects. I always felt they were getting in the way and so I would push against them. Ironically this defiance pushed my designs further. I decided that he didn’t really care about us staying within the guidelines but rather wanted to see how we would react to them. Just having the rules made me want to break them, move beyond those barriers and not be stifled by them. But I think without them I would not have pushed as hard.

  2. You hit the nail on the head with a great write-up with a lot of
    wonderful info

  3. It’s hard to come by educated people about this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!

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