DAT501 – Creative Strategies: Personal Manifesto

Creative Strategies: Personal Manifesto

A manifesto is a statement of intent that defines the beliefs and aspirations of an individual or a group. Some of them spend more time defining what the author rejects than what they accept, as if to break free from an established order – the Futurist Manifesto is the original example.

Manifestos can be useful in (re)defining our thinking patterns.



John Cage and Sister Corita Kent: Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules:


Bruce Mau: An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth:


Japanese Aesthetics:


(This isn’t strictly a manifesto, as it isn’t a claim – it is more a collection of observations on Japanese aesthetics. But, it has all the makings on one. If it had been written by an artist with the intention of defining the important aspects of their practice, it would be).

The Futurist Manifesto:


This is the original art manifesto from 1909. Full of youth, machismo and violence it is a provocation and call to arms as much as statement of intent.

and Werner Herzog’s Minnesota Declaration:


Herzog is a documentary filmmaker who talks about different types of truth – the facts (which he calls the ‘truth of accountants’) and the poetic ‘ecstatic truth’. The latter is a ‘truth’ which is not necessarily true to the facts but in Herzog’s view has more value – is more ‘true’ – and is entirely justified, a position that was extremely controversial in the world of documentary cinema and which led him to write this manifesto.

Herzog’s stance foreshadowed and predicted ‘reality’ TV and the rise of ‘alternative facts’ in politics.

Write you own personal manifesto

How do you make work? What is important to your creative process? What do you believe in? What do you reject? Consider the creative strategies and aesthetic decisions that are important in your own practice. Write down 10 as your own personal manifesto.

  1. Don’t be afraid to start something just because you think it won’t be good enough
  2. Take on board the good ideas, gracefully decline the less good ideas
  3. Don’t waste time worrying about things over which you have no control. Things almost always turn out in ways that you don’t expect and there will always be something new to worry about soon!
  4. Don’t measure your work against other people’s work
  5. Always be learning
  6. Take the time to walk and to think and to develop and cultivate ideas
  7. Remember Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by/And that has made all the difference.”
  8. Always try to find something that inspires you, even in the most unlikely of tasks or places or people
  9. Find out what work you enjoy and make that work as good as it can be
  10. Don’t take criticism personally; make use of it and turn it to your advantage

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