Sunday, 6 July 2008

Accuracy, beauty, truth

We had a brief discussion about accuracy, beauty and truth. In a research workshop the previous week, we had discussed how analysing data requires creativity and inspiration even though most people don't like to admit it. But it's not just that any kind of ideas will help, it's a very skilled kind of creativity that notices what's there in the data that might matter and pulls it out. In the art class, the teacher disagreed with us when we said we wanted to be able to draw "accurately"; she wanted us to make "beautiful" marks and not to lose creativity in trying to accurately represent. My frustration is in not being able to make the kind of mark that I find beautiful -- it happens sometimes but I'd like it to be much more skilled and reliable.

We agreed that what we wanted to see in our pictures was some kind of "truth" about what we were painting, and that's what I was trying to get at in "accuracy".

I think there's a great commonality between achieving this in one's art and achieving it in the kind of research that I do. Both require mastery of technique combined with imagination and being open to possibilities.

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