Improvisatory processes are considered synonymous with play, offering only second-best solutions to art and design problems. The role of improvisation in visual art processes is not widely discussed academically. This paper draws on a case study situated in Namibian art worlds to reflect on the role of improvisation in fluid and complex design and art processes. In Namibian contexts, improvisation is closely related to how artists and designers work instead of only being ‘play’, as improvisatory processes often respond to pressing demands and notions of having to do what needs to be done to sustain livelihoods. This paper documents and learns from the experiences and stories of Namibian art and design practitioners. The connective role of improvisation in design moments, allowing practitioners to negotiate multidirectional processes, often result in becoming unstuck in art and design processes. A holistic approach to improvisation, based on the understanding of lived experiences and actions within environments in which resources are utilised to solve design problems and build new experiences, is explored. Additionally, through improvisatory processes, learning is stimulated through new experiences that come about by utilizing the available resources within a given environment.
Field of science
- Visual arts and design