For over 30 years, Hermann Vaske has been exploring creativity and the way it has defined the people who seem to excel because of it. Compiling his interviews with over 50 famous artists, directors, architects, musicians, writers, and politicians, Why Are We Creative: The Centipede’s Dilemma boldly attempts to find commonality in that which makes us all unique.
As one can imagine, the responses Vaske receives are as diverse as the individuals who struggle to put into words what comes naturally to them. Some say it is a spiritual “gift”, some see it as a desire for knowledge and understanding, and others view it as something we all have but use it in different ways. Björk, for example, remarks that she sees no differences between her music artistry and that of family members who can build fireplaces.
Due to the wide range of pathways each answer to Vaske’s “why are you creative?” question open s up, not every angle the film takes resonates. For example, the link between creativity and sexuality is only briefly touched on and is discussed predominantly through a male gaze. Where the film excels is when Vaske’s subjects ponder both the ways the creative process is akin to an uncontrollable addiction; and the impact of creative minds on the political landscape.
Regarding the latter, Vaske’s film draws some poignant parallels between how creativity can be both used to effectively fight the status quo and, in the case of the Trump era, distort reality.
For a film all about creative expression, Vaske presents the information in a surprisingly conventional way. Aside from a few animated sequences, the film is a rather standard talking heads documentary. Though Vaske would probably argue that the film itself represent his form of creativity. Featuring a slew of fascinating individuals, including David Bowie, Quentin Tarantino, Vivienne Westwood, Angie Thomas, Nelson Mandela and more, Why Are We Creative: The Centipede’s Dilemma will get your creative juices flowing.