Sculpture Network Lab: Creativity and the 101st Yoghurt Cup

How many faces does creativity have? What does it depend on? And does it differ in form from industry to industry? At the third Sculpture Network Lab in Munich, we talked to 5 representatives from industry, the creative sector and the arts about what creativity means to them.

It’s 7 pm in Munich, we are sitting in Hofspielhaus in dim light and with a drink in our hands. It could just as well be a relaxed evening at home in the lounge with some friends. But quite a lot is about to happen! The latest issue of the Sculpture Network Lab is entitled Impulses of Creativity in the Intersection between Art and Business. The event was once again curated by the proven team centered around Eva Wolf, Angelika Hein and Willy Hafner, and sponsored once more by the Waldemar Bonsels Foundation. There is a lot to discuss, first and foremost the question of what creativity actually means.

It quickly becomes clear that our panel is already divided on this question – sorry, I say "panel", but that's not quite true. Because this time the whole audience is our panel; in a real workshop atmosphere all participants can join in at any time. Eva Wolf and Angelika Hein are our presenters and will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to speak.

Die Gäste backstage
The guests backstage. Photo: Timian Hopf

The art of being creative

All art is creativity, but not all creativity is art. That is probably the only thing our invited guests agree on. Where some can deal freely with their impulses, others are subject to certain constraints of their professions. For Micha Goes (Managing Director of PACOON Strategie & Design GmbH), creativity is not only about developing new packaging designs, but also reacting flexibly to customers. “The customer then wants the 101st yoghurt cup to be designed", he explains to us – this of course leads to laughter, but the serious aftertaste of this statement remains and hangs in the room throughout the evening: Our society demands innovations at a rapid pace and permanently. Everything must be innovative, unprecedented - and creative (!) A demand that’s challenging to meet.

And that doesn't have to be the case, says Manfred Holler (emeritus professor of economics and author). For him, creativity is about creating something new. And the number of real innovations in our society is not only limited, but also depends on a number of factors: Knowledge, time, the cultural background ... Which often defines how creative we can be. It is clear that not everyone can reinvent the wheel.  

Creativity with limits?

But there is contradiction in the audience and on the panel. Is creativity really limited? Isn't the thought that everything is possible with our ideas and impulses exactly what drives many of us? Walter Kuhn, who only last year caused a sensation with his installation 1000 Poppies at Königsplatz in Munich, represents the artists at this talk. He does not want to adopt a general attitude to this question, but only to speak for himself: his works always arise from personal experiences. He processes what he knows, what he has learnt and his experiences. And isn't that the case for everyone? Are our own experiences the limits that restrict our creativity? We all seem to think about it very differently, but also very passionately.

Advertising is also a form of art!

But now we are talking about art again! It's noticeable that when it comes to the concept of creativity, you quickly end up on the subject of art, even if everyone agrees that we shouldn’t talk about synonyms. Charlotte Bufler (Chief Creative Officer at the communications agency The Wunderwaffe) doesn't want to dwell on this. Good advertising requires a great deal of creativity! And advertising can move just as much as art, it can initiate social discourses and bring about positive changes. Maybe not the 101st yoghurt cup – but she has a whole series of examples in her repertoire that help to convince us that advertising can be more than just sales promotion. She talks about an underpass in New York for example, which has gone from a drug hotspot to a wedding location as part of an advertising campaign with a large YES graffiti. 

Thomas Thiede wants to discuss this with a different approach. Of course, good advertising can have this effect. But he thinks that the term "creativity" is used far too frivolously: "Something like ‘creative baking’ is nonsense – the baker simply does his job.” The adjective "creative" is applied to all kinds of activities in order to enhance them. Many of these activities are associated with becoming "creative" in the original sense, i.e. creating something out of nothing, but they are far from being creative. Once again we debate the definition of creativity, a problem that appears throughout the entire evening over and over. 

And now what?

The discussion takes longer than planned: Many points have to be considered and we all have a feeling that we’re on the trail of something important that we can't just stall. The question of how we deal with creativity and how we can squeeze out more of it in our everyday lives and in our many different professional areas is certainly a hot topic for many. At the end of the evening there are no solutions, but many impulses that we take with us into our own lives: Whether we make art or design yoghurt pots – we will all certainly think a lot about this evening.

Do you have the solution? What does creativity mean in your everyday life? Write us with your answers!

MCBW, unser Partner
The Munich Creative Business Week, our partner. Photo: Timian Hopf


Sponsored by

Waldemar Bonsels Foundation


Sophie Fendel

Author: Sophie Fendel

Sophie Fendel rediscovered her passion for three-dimensional art at sculpture network. Since the Lab at the Hofspielhaus she takes a closer look not only at yoghurt cups, but also at the definition of art and creativity.



Cover picture: Angelika Hein, Eva Wolf, Manfred Holler, Micha Goes, Thomas Thiede, Walter Kuhn, Charlotte Bufler. Photos: Timian Hopf

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