Intuition and Creative Process

With the aim of deepening the discussion about a philosophical approach within artistic research, we seek to explore the interaction between process in artistic practices and the Bergsonian/Deleuzian method of intuition and the establishment of a common ground between both. We propose to look at intuition from three vantage points: first, as a mode of knowledge-creation that is aesthetic, immediate, and unmediated, unprocessed by rational reflection and not founded in established scholarship; second, as a method as proposed by Bergson and intuitively developed by Deleuze in Bergsonism (1988)—how the three (five) rules of the method are not to be reconciled with a priori or a posteriori determinations as things in themselves but instead with the differential progression of otherness as the event’s becoming; third, as within the advancement of creative process as the production of change in terms of time seen as solution to a specific problem.

Intuitive innovation lies at the juncture of the repositioning of method and valuation. The convergence between ways of knowing, ways of being and ways of doing is producing new practices that articulate epistemology, ontology, and praxis along new creative lines as hybrid pursuits. The aesthetic problems brought forth—both in terms of immediate experience and art practice—are not always expressible, classifiable, or determined according to disciplined knowledge. They require deployment within variegated ecologies of being, of thought, of practice, of encounter, for the advance of a solution as intuitional apprehension. To conciliate the tension between creative process, method, and valuation within artistic practice, we move away from the perennial preoccupation with the production of tangible, material results and recognise that different articulations of intuition produce in different ways. In contrast to the understanding of intuition as an immediate apprehension of unmediated experience, the method of intuition involves a critique of false problems and the inventive production of genuine ones. This consists in the narrowing, convergence, and contraction of a problem’s positing into a solution, and thinking in terms of duration. These strategies align and attune one another toward the casting of a precise and unambiguous problem while determining the instantaneous formulation of an exact, exacting, and fitting solution in creative process.

Rather than elaborate a step-by-step protocol or a DIY how-to guide to the correct use of intuition as method, we situate the three moments of intuition as appropriate problematisation, differentiation within differentiation, and temporalising problems relative to the creative advance of process. As such, we posit intuition as the reorientation of the concern of research-creation with the differential of the experiential as an attunement of the immediate, self-referential advance into novelty with the affective and the durational. The immediacy of creative experience becomes knowledge through the direct comprehension of temporality through difference arising in doing—ultimately, it is through intuition that creative process as difference in kind can become known as the advance of time.


Deleuze, Gilles. 1988. Bergsonism. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. New York: Zone Books.

Filmmaking and an Arts-Based Methodology of Intuition: Affect and the Virtual in Research and Pedagogy

Drawing on my arts-based educational doctoral research in 2015 with two secondary visual art teacher candidate participants, Christen and Kelsie, this session explores an emergent arts-based methodology of intuition to provoke the conditions for new and creative thought in both research and pedagogy. This presentation will examine participants’ filmmaking and Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the nomad to consider how art practice enables unique forms of ontological inquiry described through Deleuze’s work on Henri Bergson’s concept of intuition. Intuition is understood as a process through which memory and perception become amenable to change through affective jolts to thought. As such, intuition emerges as a disposition that enables certain experiences to destabilise rather than affirm tacit and recognisable thought. Christen’s and Kelsie’s films made during their return to their high schools will be examined for the ways in which filmmaking provoked a sensorial and affective form of inquiry of school space, creating the potential for participants’ alternate memories and perceptions of their experience of schooling to emerge. In doing so, Christen’s and Kelsie’s art practice allowed for what Charles Garoian in The Prosthetic Pedagogy of Art (New York: SUNY Press, 2013) referred to as slippages of perception so that alternate understandings of their memories of schooling were made available.

Christen’s and Kelsie’s filmmaking shifted their performance and movement within the school space away from prescribed identities as teacher, student, and student teacher. Rather than performing these particular identities, their movement responded to the embodiment of memories produced by sensory and affective engagement with the space. In doing so, time rather than a linear progression became a virtual confluence of past, present, and future desire, enabling memories to be lived rather than recalled and thus made amenable to change. This artistic and nomadic form of inquiry destabilised the homogeneity and dominant discursive productions of the territory of schooling, allowing for alternate understandings to emerge.

Elaborating on these understandings, the session will present and discuss what has emerged as an arts-based methodology of intuition to create the conditions for participants to encounter tacit and sedimented knowledge and ways of knowing related to teacher practice. This methodology draws on the concept of intuition as a disposition that seeks to explore modes of embodied inquiry to disrupt tacit perceptions of practice. Intuition, as a disposition that problematises, differentiates, and temporalises experience inheres in the capacity of researchers and teacher candidates to ask different types of questions and disrupt normative expectations of practice, “to learn to what extent the effort to think one’s own history can free thought from what it silently thinks, and so enable it to think differently” (Elisabeth A. St. Pierre. “Nomadic inquiry in the smooth spaces of the field: A preface.” In Working the ruins: Feminist poststructural theory and methods in education. Edited by E.A. St. Pierre and W. Pillow, 365-383, London and New York: Routledge, 2000, 260).