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Creation Configuration

Creation was characterized by the participants’ trying out new ways of jointly acting and expressing thoughts and feelings that led to a collective outcome. It entailed the use of the art materials provided for the session but also the use of other objects in the room and the participants’ own bodies (e.g., drumming on a board or whistling to make music). In Session 2 the work was a set of pictures; in Session 3 the participants painted, danced, hummed, whistled, and engaged in pantomime; and in Session 4 they made graffiti. The Creation configuration was generally characterized by a shift from talking to doing. In Sessions 2 and 3 there was little or, for stretches of time, even no talking during Creation. In Session 4 there was an interweaving of doing and talking. The intensity and length of the configuration varied, too: Creation in Session 2 was highly intense but relatively brief (10 min). In Session 3 it was both extremely intense and lengthy (36 min). In Session 4 it lasted for almost 35 min, but at the end of that session the participants engaged in an activity that we designate as pseudocreation: They accepted the offer of one of the members to lead them in a Tai Chi exercise. Although it was a collective dance of a kind, it was highly ritualized, leaving the followers no scope for a creative response. We did not observe a Creation configuration in Sessions 1 and 5, whose participants never appeared to form as a group around a task other than talk and did not generate an observable product.

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