“Pataphysics, wrote Alfred Jarry at the turn of the 20th Century, is “the science of imaginary solutions”. Today we have quantum computers whose chip is held at very nearly absolute zero in order to allow the entirely imaginary entanglement of the infinitely small components of the physical universe. As we all know, these pieces of quantum matter become fixed only at the moment when they leave the imaginary realm.
Imagination is not important, it is essential. It will create a better world because it is the only means by which anything may be created. Creation exists in the transition from tacit to procedural knowledge. Imagination is the context for that transition, the aether through which anything may be brought into existence (or non-existence). Cultivating the imagination is therefore the surest way to make anything new.
How may we cultivate imagination? By exploring contradictions and exceptions, by being open to slight swerves and deviations in thought, by embracing unexpected encounters and unforeseen correspondences. Art views this as its natural territory, but it exists just as much in science. Finally, we as humans must accept that our imaginations are not the only ones that matter in this world.
Andrew Hugill is a composer, musicologist, creative technologist, and Professor of Creative Computing at the University of Leicester who has been busy with the first Aural Diversity workshop and his BBC broadcast of ’Spectrum Sounds’.