The Artistic Talent

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Presented at the 5° Convegno Nazionale "Uno Sguardo sul Potenziale: Riconoscerlo e Valutarlo" (5th National Conference "Looking at the Potential: how to Recognize it and to Assess it") held by LabTalento - University of Pavia with StepNet Association and Foundation ERIS onlus. Pavia, Italy, April 4th 2014

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The Artistic Talent

  1. 1. The Artistic Talent Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  2. 2. introducing myself www.massimoschinco.it I’m a psychologist and a psychotherapist, working with individuals and families I’m also a supervisor in social services for children I’m Co – director of the School of Systemic Psychotherapy and Clinical Center at the Milan Center of Family Therapy I also teach at the Conservatory of Music, Cuneo and lead learning groups at the University of Pavia I’m a member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. I’m currently serving as a Member of the Board of Directors I’m an amateur musician and I play violin in the Orchestra Sinfonica Amatoriale Italiana. I’m a Member of the Board of Directors of the Orchestra as an author, I focus on creative change. My last book is “The Composer’s Dream”, published by Pari Publishing Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  3. 3. lecturing on the subject of the artistic talent is one of the most difficult task I’ve been assigned for a conference up to now the subject we are trying to focus on is highly elusive Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  4. 4. listen, for example, to what Federico Fellini once said about “understanding” a film or its realization Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  5. 5. I don’t like the idea of “understanding” a film. I don’t believe that rational understanding is an essential element in the reception of a work of art don’t tell me what I’m doing! I don’t want to know Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  6. 6. artists seem to be disturbed from an excess of conscious knowledge on what they do and why they do it in the meantime they need to be at the top of awareness and mastery for what concerns the technical aspects of their arts Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  7. 7. sometimes they are proud and settled about their mastery, like Giuseppe Verdi and sometimes, on the contrary, they never are, like Edward Grieg Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  8. 8. beyond the urge coming from scientific curiosity, it can be useful for educational purposes to investigate the artistic talent and this mainly to avoid educational mistakes that could create harsh suffering Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  9. 9. “the power of vocation” (the young man, whose father - an organ player - directed toward a career as a musician, gets up stealthily in the middle of the night to devote himself to his beloved studies of bookkeping) (cartoon by Giuseppe Novello) Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  10. 10. now I’ll try to outline a few features of the artistic talent that I consider as fundamental in order to do so I’ll draw in many ways from different sources: scholars, authors, musicians, painters, writers … it’s impossible to mention them all … Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  11. 11. first, my valued patients whose not few were and are artists a number of colleagues and friends that I hold in high esteem my friends musicians to whom I don’t know how to begin to say “thank you” for what they taught and teach me Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  12. 12. finally a patched community that I have in my mind today Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  13. 13. #1 FOCUS Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  14. 14. “what on earth will people say?” (the poet just found that at pg. 27 in his new book of verse was printed “YOU” instead of “THOU”) (cartoon by Giuseppe Novello) Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  15. 15. both outward and inward artists direct their focus in a quite different way than usually “average persons” do on the one hand their focus seems to be directed in a child-like way (“childhood realism” according with JeanPiaget) Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  16. 16. on the other hand their focus seems to be rooted “somewhere else” in respect to the world of ordinary perception in other words artists’ perception appears to be directed as if the artists’ mind were in touch with other, not ordinary levels of reality Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  17. 17. this condition can be described in several different ways according with different Authors “the thought underlying music” (Barenboim) “the not-reified reality beyond the thought and behind beauty itself“ (Celibidache after Schiller) “unfolding of implicate and generative orders” (Bohm) “processes of actualization in the potential stream of consciousness” (Manousakis) Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  18. 18. this condition puts the artist in a condition very akin to a “yes/no” attitude about action when the artist’s intuition is captured by a stimulus, she/he tends to go directly to action (Bergson) re-elaboration and reflection, when they are done, are done afterwards and usually experienced as wearisome and painful relationships are not easy for artists (and for those who live close to them …) Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  19. 19. #2 THIN BOUNDARIES Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  20. 20. the field of consciousness and the quality of its functioning can be described in terms of boundaries creative persons show themselves as featuring “thin boundaries” among the different areas of their sensitivity, imageries, logical thinking they show an enhanced continuity between wake and dream states Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  21. 21. metaphorically speaking it is as if they were more “porous” both for what concerns the inner and the outer world this condition makes them sensitive, socially more vulnerable and often in the need of defending themselves e.g. they can develop narcissistic attitude to defend themselves or, conversely, join stiff organizations and/or ideological systems Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  22. 22. while an artist grows mature, she/he more and more needs intermissions of silence and apparent unproductiveness these processes take place mainly under the threshold of conscious awareness they might be peaceful or painful and wearisome and last for years Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  23. 23. they might take with themselves the need of “finding shelter “ in some form of temporary pathology the strife itself can lead to pathology when the latter is treated without taking in account the frame that gives meaning to it, this can lead it to chronicity or to other iatrogenic disasters Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  24. 24. #3 VICINITY TO CHAOS Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  25. 25. Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center creativity implies vicinity to chaos in personal identity in mental health in cognitive pathways in the process of creation itself
  26. 26. Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center chaos is not necessarily a nasty word of course chaos can derive from the drive to dismantle pre-existing structures but chaos also means a complexity whose degree is near to infinity artists might go back-and-forth between these two form of vicinity to chaos
  27. 27. #4 ABDUCTION Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  28. 28. artists feel their commitment as a form of doom they feel that they have a duty to devote themselves to their arts they share this feeling with scientists and mystics they feel as they were abducted and actually they are Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  29. 29. #5 MASTERY Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  30. 30. in order to survive vicinity to chaos and to perform the duties of their artistic vocation artists must develop mastery at the highest level they can reach like Giuseppe Verdi used to say: “out of hard work and indefatigable study I learned to force notes in accord with my will” Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  31. 31. once arrived to this level of mastery, an artist feels free and allows her/himself to “forget technique” (nonetheless never gives up to study …) Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  32. 32. #6 TAKING TO THE LIMIT/MOOD OSCILLATIONS Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  33. 33. Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center “a part of my personality is obsessed with pushing things to the limit. It can be of great use when my obsession is funneled into constructive thoughts or creativity, but it can be destructive as well, mentally, physically or spiritually. I guess this is what happens to an artist who, when he feels his mood swaying – something we all suffer from, when we are creative – instead of facing reality being aware that this is an opportunity of creation, turns himself to something that will switch that mood off and stop that irritation. And this can be drinking, heroin, or anything else. One doesn’t want to face that creative urge, because he knows the self-exploration that shall be undertaken, the suffering that shall be carried on. This happens mainly, or in a quite painful way, to artists. Until they do not understand what it is that does this to them, they will keep doing something to kill this.” (from Robert Palmer’s interview to Eric Clapton on Rolling Stone Magazine, 1985)
  34. 34. this condition might facilitate the onset of depression, bipolar disorder or addictions but should NOT misunderstood as a pathological condition in itself Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  35. 35. artists, whether they like it or not, use to hang out at the darkness underneath and before the stage Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  36. 36. #7 PARTICIPATION AND STRIFE FOR ONENESS Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  37. 37. though artists might feel the need of isolation or, because of their peculiar sensitivity, may find painful obstacles to an ordinary social adaptation, feeling lonely, abandoned, depressed, hostile though their artistic language might be weird, unusual, difficult to understand artists are NOT isolated creatures Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  38. 38. the first task for an artist, the first harsh obstacle to overcome is to find a language and companions Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center “When someone else’s truth is the same as your truth, and he seems to be saying it just for you, that’s great. I read my books at night, like that, under the quilt with overheating reading lamp. Reading all that good lines while suffocating. It was magic.” from Charles Bukowski’s “Ham on Rye”
  39. 39. artists are expressions of the reality itself, at a level where everything and everyone are less separate than they ordinarily appear Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center they are genuine manifestations of what Montague Ullman used to call “the stuff of reality” they explicate in a shared language implicate generative orders of the reality itself
  40. 40. artists are out of control they often are trickster and matchless generators of resilience Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center artists safeguard, nourish and repair what the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel called “the infrahuman fabric” for better or for worse they speak on behalf of the living community beyond any kind of boundaries due to politics, religions, ideologies, gender and racial discrimination
  41. 41. #8 PASSION FOR REALITY AND GRIEF Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  42. 42. Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center artists share with mystics and scientists a compelling attraction for reality and share with them also the deep feeling that reality lies beyond appearency the artists’ way to reality is peculiar they invent it, using refined forms of delusion to transcend the delusion itself
  43. 43. Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center in this their path is different both from scientists’ and mystics’ scientists look after theories and demonstrations mystics try to purify, even to anullate their mind in their seek for true artists are spellbound by their own cipher of active imagination living thus all their life in paradoxical condition
  44. 44. Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center meanwhile not necessarily scientists feel compassion for human grief and pain though by different means mystics and artists do so artists are always in touch with grief and pain this is because artists are in touch with life in all its manifestations
  45. 45. Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center imagine the sea no sea would be possible without the bottom imagine that the sea is life and the bottom is grief where life is, there will also be grief no matters how many miles below grief is there anyway
  46. 46. Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center now and then waters retire or get dry so the bottom come to the surface maybe a telluric movement upsets the bottom and grief resurfaces violently it might be your grief or someone else’s grief is always there
  47. 47. Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center humankind needs help to give a beautiful voice both to life and to grief it is a basic and inescapable human need for this, artists often pay a high price this is what they are committed to do
  48. 48. I want to thank these wonderful persons for inviting me today out of a shared passion for life and for the strife of humankind Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center
  49. 49. Massimo Schinco, Italy Co-director at Milan Center of Family Therapy’s School and Clinical Center and thanks to you all for your attention dedicated to Sergiu Celibidache (1912 – 1996)

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