VCAS conference stream: 'Productivity or Process: What is the Value in Making?'
​Part of the MCCT - Midlands Conference in Critical Thought 2024
Nottingham Trent University
April 5 – 6th, 2024

Do we care how we get the result (e.g. using AI to produce music), as long as the outcome is what we want? This stream, for us, represented a unique opportunity to invite participants to observe, reflect and re-imagine the possibilities, good or bad, of pursuit without a goal. We aimed to bring together a diverse community of artists, academics, theorists, and writers for transformative discussions and innovative thinking that can help precipitate developments across the realms of art, academia, and beyond. Within the realm of contemporary art and intellectual discourse, the exploration of the creative process as an aim in and of itself has gained significant momentum in recent years. This interest reflects the broader societal tensions between economic productivity and output, and the fundamental meaning found within the endeavours themselves. Our central objective for this stream was to challenge the value of outcome over process, and explore the implications of elevating the act of creation itself above any tangible end result. How might this shift in perspective impact artistic practice, intellectual inquiry, and our broader cultural landscape?

Through interdisciplinary dialogues, the presentation of diverse case studies and participatory actions, we aimed to create a space to explore the potential transformative power of process-centred approaches. In consideration of hierarchical structures, capitalistic systems, emerging technologies, rapid development of AI and growing economic strain, the case could be made that the pressure to produce outcomes with economic value is intensifying. Drawing inspiration from the avant-garde movement Fluxus, known for its emphasis on intermedia, performance, and dematerialization of art, we tried to challenge traditional art and societal boundaries. Our aim was to unite diverse voices and prompt reflection on the enduring relevance of 'process' in contemporary artistic and intellectual discourse, challenging the prevailing emphasis on final outcomes.

VCAS was selected to organise a stream of the MCCT conference with the theme: 'Productivity or Process: What is the Value in Making?' Our central objective for this stream was to challenge the value of outcome over process, and explore the implications of elevating the act of creation itself above any tangible end result. The stream was presented with a hybrid format, both in person and using Zoom.

'The creative process is an end in itself; it is a performance, an improvisation, a journey into the unknown.'
- George Maciunas

MCCT Midlands Conference in Critical Thought 2024

Participating Presenters: Sun Park, Ziegi Boss, Avantika Tewari, Melina Steiner, Grace Jackson, Oliver Cloke, Andrew Milward, Georgia Perkins, Anthony Kroytor, Holly Mills, Carali McCall, Q_plus_I (Questioner plus (I) Instructor)

Stream organisers and curators: Q_plus_I (Questioner plus Instructor) - Oliver Cloke and Patrick Loan


Holly Mills - Panel 4, collaborative drawing

Q_plus_I (Questioner plus Instructor) - Panel 4

Panel 1: Productivity, creation and digital technologies

Sun Park
A conceptual framework for human- AI art creation: the Distributed Artificial Intelligence studies

Ziegi Boss

Avantika Tewari
Park Your Desire in the Platform Economy: Value for your Time

Panel 2: Electronic philosophies and molecular processes

Andrew Milward
Conceptualising the Process of Philosophy

Georgia Perkins
Contemporary Molecular Politics in Creative Processes

Anthony Kroytor
You Should Be Doing It Wrong! Unintended Applied Ontology in (Sound) Art

Panel 3: Manifesting processes

Melina Steiner
Anti-Manifesto – for successful self-doubting in art

Grace Jackson
A Shared Wooliness: Unearthing and propagating post-growth economic models through the Process of making with wool

Oliver Cloke
Is the creative process valued, or is the value only attributed to the finished object/ outcome

Panel 4: Processing drawing

Holly Mills
An exploration of collaborative drawing: perfectionism, productivity, and wellbeing

Carali McCall
Intervals Around the Sun

Q_plus_I (Questioner plus (I) Instructor)
Filling in the Gaps - A Productivity Journey


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This publication was created by Q_plus_I for the VCAS conference stream. All the presenters were asked to submit a text and a 2-minute drawing.