We asked creatives around the world to respond in any language to the question, Where do you find inspiration?


I find inspiration in moments when I am alert and receptive to what presents. As these presentations are often unexpected, to find inspiration I must be allow myself to see them as offers; to have the courage to say yes, even if my mind, energy and operating premises had been elsewhere, and then to act. Inspiration arrives when I release the prior premise and allow my lungs to be filled.

My response to this query illustrates. I was just responding to a note from a creative collaborator, when Marie Craven’s note flew in. Though I had prior plans, on reading her prompt, I felt a rush of energy, a sense of synchronicity. I trusted these feelings, accepted the offer, and began to write.

When I feel in need of inspiration, I remember that the root meaning of inspiration, is to draw in the breath, and that ispirare, in Italian means to draw creative inspiration. There is no concern with the result when one is inhaling, simply the acts of: invitation, opening, expansion and reception. So when I wish to find inspiration, I go out and inhale what life has to offer.

Marc Zegans is a poet and creative development advisor. He often collaborates with filmmakers who employ his poems as source material for their projects. His latest collection, Swizzle Felt’s First Folio from the Typewriter Underground was released by Pelekinesis in March 2019. His most recent collection, The Snow Dead, is forthcoming from Červená Barva Press.


>> set filename=agitat*/n=21?;

>> set heading=*spir*/style=q qmode=open;

>> addmod(list)=a- con- ex- in- per- re- sus- trans-;

>> source(1)=int(ext);

>> quote writequote(1):

{ so I breathe in, breath out, taste atomic molecular

touch on, off, a world at my fingertips, eye-line

arc to arc, no flicker of certitude, incalculable chance }


>> quote writequote(2):

{ the voiceless surge between name and action }


>> trans(1) = (th vclss srg btwn nm nd ctn) • (eoieeueeeeaeaaio);

>> trans(2) = trans(1) • mod(charset1);

>> quote writequote(3):

{ aaabccdeeeeeeeeghiilmnnnnoorssstttuvw }


>> quote writequote(4):

{ 1112334555555557899/2/3/4/4/5/5/8/9/9//0//0//0//1//2//3 }


>> reset codetrigger=all;

>> reset quotesource=all;

>> reset textgen=external;

>> quote writequote(5):

{ this is my reach, my grab and run, as if feathered, scale-skinned

under salt-crust, chlorophyll, orbital eccentricity, as if time unbound

hypothetical, edged, taut with desire, incoming, incoming, the pulse }


>> set loop(1);

>> run(1):

>> quote writequote(6):

{ and so I do

and so I do

and so I do }


>> endloop;

>> set loop(x) x=f(x) x=0,x;

>> run(x).

Ian Gibbins is an Adelaide widely published poet, video artist and electronic musician working across diverse forms. He used to be a neuroscientist and Professor of Anatomy at Flinders University.


Nicollage - The Fifth Horseman Took the Wrong Pill

The Fifth Horseman Took the Wrong Pill

In a recently released Japanese fighting game, Million Arthur Arcana Blood, which leans heavily on the Arthurian legends, one of the featured female characters bears a name that resonates strongly with me - Void Eternal Flame - because it reminds me of my favorite 2019 film so far - experimental feature Luminous Void: Docudrama. Then, there's a kawaii, mallet-wielding lycanthrope, Type II Bisclavret, and there's also a fragile, gray-haired beauty, Unique Snow White. The latter rides a bearded, one-eyed giant torso composed of seven (dwarf?) shadows (or something along these lines), and is supposed to be a replica of Grimms' heroine who still sleeps in the forest, vigilant and the fairest of them all...

Now, you're probably asking: "What the heck all this has to do with the image it accompanies?" Well, the answer is simple - I find the bizarreness of the said freewheeling concept(s) appealing, liberating and inspiring. It may not be the best excuse for having Christian eschatology subverted and clashing with 'Alice in Wonderland', but I do hope that it sheds some light on the puzzling way my brain works.

Ever striving for the expansion of the personal mythology, I find the (intuitive) amalgamation of incongruous influences essential for the creative process.

(original size: 30 x 30 cm / 11.81 x 11.81 in)


Seeking/Being Found

[The following account is somewhat frustrating. It describes a process between two parties not in evident collaboration.]


I am looking for something (or is something looking for me?).

Almost never do I know beforehand what it is: perhaps an image, perhaps something less perceptible.

Until I have found what I am looking for (or until it has found me & I have opened to its presence), I cannot go further. I wait for images to come speak with me.

I sit quietly & listen to the images I have found (or that have found me), to hear what they have to say to me. (I open to receive influences that reveal themselves to me. I do not automatically judge or reject anything without first sensing it; a sense somehow intermediate between seeing & listening.)

I have found evidence that suggests each of us crosses paths many times a day with potential inspirations, & perhaps also during sleep. In this view we are like fish constantly swimming through an ocean of influences. Breathing this ocean in is what I have called "receptivity." I have practiced it during 35 years of collage work.

Eric Edelman
6 July 2019


A creative compulsion, and a pressing need to communicate, exist inside this body and this spirit that are transiently mine. These drives get me into trouble. They get me out of trouble. They help keep me sane, and there is madness in them.

As a psychic channels spirits other than herself, and are perhaps yet herself entirely, I marvel at the previously unknown manifestations that emerge moment by moment in my film-making, that most ethereal of forms. How bewitching I find this, how addictively inspiring!

The rational mind is a powerful part of it too. I am internally pushed, obsessively, towards precise articulation to the best of my abilities. This involves the intellect, of which I am generally mistrustful. Perfectionism has been a destructive force in my life, as well as contributing to whatever excellence I have exhibited. For years I felt as if it was the death of any joy.

Entwined beyond unravelling with its shadows and brights, I find creativity the most compelling of the great mysteries. I have also learned the hard way that life is more important than art.


I never know how to answer this question. I think I was born with this profound need of divergent expression. It is sometimes a reaction to a sense of void, of despair and frustration, other times trying to grasp the inexplicable, sometimes it is also embracing life with joy. It can be many things, being receptive and introverted at the same time. I really don't know, but ultimately it's simply life in its many forms that is inspiring.

Sara Bonaventura is an atelierista and visual artist, with an MA degree in contemporary art and gender studies, diverse experiences of teaching, didactics, curatorial, PR, archive, in several Cultural Institutions (Venice Biennale, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Giorgio Cini Foundation, Berlin Kicken Gallery, institutions based on the Reggio Emilia Approach, like the Ray of Light Atelier or Ponzano Children, by Benetton Group). She is currently based in Singapore, working as an art specialist in a IB campus of EtonHouse International Group.


I may find inspiration to create, maintain, and/or destroy by being / being connected to multiple concurrent conscious/subconscious internal-external dynamic continua.

These structures functions units of create maintain destroy can work together and or against each other in order to do what? To create maintain and or destroy. Not to sound too high fallutin. Hooey on the mountain. Hooey in the valley. Hooey at supper time.

Any two units structures functions can be at a front... creative algebra... advanced guard... it's all fronts.

Nicollage - AGITATE21C - Thomas Brown


Excerpts from a long rave that can be read in full here.

Inspiration is a plague of thoughts and images and feelings and memory/dream material congealed; sometimes bobbing up and down, sometimes frantically storming and forcing me to take note. Through over a decade of thought and work linked to one large project I've gained a sort of understanding that this inspiration leads me to establish art actions, not in attempts to simulate but to make an honest effort to represent the inspiration in another communicative form. The inspiration with which I am afflicted was born of trauma, severe depression & anxiety, addiction, lack of identity...

...the Numb Spiral is the event that I walked into from the darkness of a drug-addled brain shock with self-loathing... I began to, even in total sobriety, get the notion that something wasn't right underneath the world...

...I began reading McLuhan, Baudrillard, Debord, Sartre, De Beauvoir, and I was already reading Marx, Malcolm X's autobiography, Jung, Kafka, Freud, Chomsky, and theorizing on the end of western civilization. One night I was possessed by a particularly potent wave of thoughts that I can only describe as being what Philip K Dick describes in VALIS, but pink in the shape of a spiral that dumped ideas and things in my head... they weaved a conspiracy theory around nihilism.

This conspiracy theory was focused on what causes the descent into the Dark Ages following the Expansion and Fall of the Empire. In this particular day-nightmare, the fall was due to our reliance on machines, but also the artificiality of our own existence, the devaluing of our own reality, to the point where most beings have evolved to dull their sense of physical reality...

...And so this is my inspiration, the Numb Spiral is the point in which consciousness believes more in nothing than everything and tips over, sometimes into a catastrophic psychiatric break. I think that no matter what I make at this point in our political reality, I cannot help but make the Numb Spiral as a drug to combat what I see as the biggest threat to the world - global apathy, hatred, greed, hedonism, tribalism caused by viral nihilism.


What inspires me... how to answer this question with the right words. I'd say though over time, I've come to realize that it’s very related to being a woman in the world. Abused, discarded, held back, trivialized, violated, and muted. When I was younger I always wished that no one had bodies, that we could communicate as spirits. That's only a dream. The reality of living in this world as a woman is the equivalent of a French kiss followed by a punch in the face.


Thanks for this deep question.

I'm actually writing my novel now - about my trauma and the linked stories. Trauma is one of my inspirations.

Dissimilation also - about images.

Abstract thinking.

Strange relationship with my father.

Getting raped by a stranger - a special story. In my novel I wrote it down.

Eating disorder.

Body observations.

Love and passion.



The passion for the world of the Symbols that live in all of us is the narrative thread of my imaginative and creative existence, condensed into a reflexive exploration then externalized by the painting, photography, video art, experimental film and love for written thought. A precious series of devout working tools that have moreover, given me the strength to emerge from the constellations of objective difficulties, to synthesize in a sensible expression, all conscious and unconscious influences, to shape the desire to create, to open up the Spirit to the unknown and the infinite. Ultimately living for the Enigma of Art, beyond the Time and the Space of a passing life.



My background is visual art. I first discovered world cinema while working at an art house cinema in SF while studying painting at SFAI. I wasn't exposed to experimental cinema or knew what it was till I saw Bill Morrison's Decasa. This was my inspiration to create my own experiments using transferred film and then ripped DVDs, and digitally erasing, layering and reediting into my own work. I was 50 when I began.

I drew on art history rather than film. I've never had a film class other than a workshop to learn FCP. I've never shot footage other than on my phone. I'm a bit of an outsider, but was accepted in festivals. I was thrilled when one in Belgrade, Serbia invited me for a residency. I made life long friends there, and saw that there was such a thing as a tribe of filmmakers. We all have different backgrounds and cultures, but share the same passion for cinema.

When I returned to Seattle, I started a local group of experimental filmmakers, and had programming at a local cinema. I then introduced a version of an exquisite corpse and invited filmmakers around the US and a couple from Europe. This led to a series of more ambitious international corpses. My goal as a curator was to explore this tribe under the title of The Spaces Between Cities, and The Spaces Between Countries.

I'm interested in the relation between the filmmaker and their environment, the ones who stay in one place, and those who migrate. The ambition of AGITATE:21C interests me. We have different backgrounds, cultures, etc... but we share a passion for progressive art in many forms.


Does one find inspiration, or isn't it more likely that inspiration finds one?

It seems to me that there are two very different approaches (like "poles") to creative work: one is to live it as a "special" effort for special occasions, efforts separated by idle time (and often, "schmoozing" and compensating for all that hard work), working triggered by a forthcoming show or festival, akin to how so many people perform in school, working for the test/exam.

Or one lives one's work as a form of daily breathing, whether inspiration graces it or not. And the point therefore is not to "get inspired", but to practise what one's life is about, regardless, and fully.

Two things come to mind as beautiful expositions of what I am trying to say. The first one is from John Cage, talking to his (great) painter friend, Philip Guston:

"When you are in your studio, and as you start working, you are there with all your thoughts, as well as those of your friends and ennemies. As you keep on working, and if you are lucky, they start leaving, one by one. Now, if you persist, and if you are very lucky, even you leave."

I'll add that in my experience, the work starts with trying to reach that point at which "I" leave, and then the real work can begin (if I'm lucky).

The second one comes from T. S. Eliot, it is a very lucid way which deflates the notion held by so many that Art is based on knowledge (it that were to be the case, "one would never leave" as per John Cage):

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning..."

- T. S. Eliot, Little Gidding

Most Art schools lie, they make students believe that once they have learned all the tricks the schools teach, things will be easy forever after. This is a huge deception, if Art/inspiration materializes "when one leaves", it is essential one becomes able to work "by way of not knowing", and if that can be encouraged, it most definitely cannot be taught, at least not the way one can teach "plumbing" (be that real plumbing, or Art by way of "official" schooling).

Inspiration is what comes (or is left) when every intentional "thing" has failed, when everything seems lost, yet when one does persist with utmost care, at least with intense curiosity, and not as a form of tantrum (which often comes from a sickly need to be in control, not realizing that real work makes itself through "me", and not the other way around).

As Camus so well said: "The failure shall be the measure of success".



I have been clinically diagnosed with ADHD and refuse medication, so my mind jumps around and switches tracks on me all the time. My inspiration is most often based on a plethora of ideas, kind of like jazz riffs most often triggered by the absurd humor I witness in life. My work jumps around in different genres because content dictates form---abstract pieces or linear pieces are all the same to me because they're ALWAYS in service to some sort of storytelling idea. The hardest thing for me is to stick to one idea and see it to completion. I get bored easily.

Once I get an idea for a new work that excites me, I can ALWAYS rely on research to turn that storytelling idea into a concrete product. I've learned that creativity isn't dependent on being original or one's personal genius---I've only met three truly creative geniuses--- it's about making connections. "Each generation of artists pours old wine into a new bottle." The muse will always smile on me when I use research to help me weave the threads. With writing/filmmaking, I always need three things to start a project: a working title, a beginning and an ending. All three can change by the work's completion, but I must have those jumping off points in order to turn my idea into something that others can view.

Mark Blickley



There's this shop on the corner of two streets with no names in a place with no name, where you'll see all the ideas in the world, all arranged in alphabetical order. So if you're ever short of an idea...


Une image vaut mille mots...

Coloumbe Larose-Samson - Une image vaut mille mots...


I am inspired by being out in the world. I was a sedentary kid except for walking to and from school and playing unorganized outdoor games that involved a lot of running. Suddenly I was in ninth grade - no way I was going home from school on a busload of unsupervised middle-schoolers.

It only took a few months of walking home from school for me to fall in love with the incredible mix of the world: light, wind, buzzing sounds, bird sounds, rustling sounds, the rare sudden lack of sound in the way only the outdoors is quiet; the smell of a million things - the pungency of everything before and after rain, the smells of flowering plants, the smells of woody plants, the smell of being so close to birds.

Lincoln, Nebraska is not a commuter town. But New York, where I finished growing up when I was 28, had the subway - so much worse, so much better than a bus full of middle-schoolers - so many smells, so many colors and sounds.

Forty years later, when I get on a bus in San Francisco, I put away my cellphone so I won't miss a damn thing.


We aren't always so good at remembering we come from the world. It's easy to think that the boundaries of our body, and consciousness, hold us separate from the things around us. We feel our hands, fingers, heads, chests are a cloudy membrane that stands between us and the people, houses, streets, trees. Easier yet, we feel our minds as containers, the we that we are, our thoughts, as sealed vessels, even traps, that keep us distinct, and alone. We are islands.

Except, we do come from the world. It birthed us, so to speak. Our muscles, blood, bone are all molecules drawn from the air and our food, and our thoughts would not be thought if we hadn't the world to think on. If not for a lover or a loved one, or the weeds and children in the yard, what would we fix our feelings and ideas upon? What even would our ideas be without our objects of contemplation?

Our bodies and our thoughts then are only sometimes asleep, to the reality that we are of the world, that we are the world, the whole of it resting for a time inside. The world is the world, and our minds and bodies are the world entire, and all are the same world, only we forget.

Inspiration is waking, seeing people on the bus, hearing the hum of the refrigerator, reading a poem. I'm refreshed that the world is out there, beating away. That in turn shakes me to the beating world inside.

Art is the world giving back itself, a circuit: gift to gift to gift.


Excerpts from a longer piece that can be read in full here.

The image is present

A few months ago I wrote this, in relation to my own process of creation:

"I believe that making art is a unified effort for turning ourselves inside out. If there is one single aim I'm seeking, it's to paraphrase memory."

When I talk about turning ourselves inside out and paraphrasing memory, I'm referring to the same recurrent obsession: in my head there are multiple films being made, several sentences clashing together, sounds coming and going and images being born, transforming and dissipating as unexpectedly as they came. It is a pressing need for me to translate this chaotic movement into recognizable objects; to materialize this process from the inside, well aware that the result may only be some sort of approximation.

I'm interested in film because I'm interested in the experience of memory, disintegrated time and non-linear ways of making sense of the world...

...For me, both writing and filmmaking are, above all, constant reflections on the way we communicate with the unpredictable, the incommunicable, the unattainable and the deeply human; therefore, both are also unending reflections on themselves and their own mechanisms.

In the same way that words in poetry are a conduit to make language reveal itself, images in film are continually speculating on what images are and the way they exist in the world and in the mind. These questions huddle together in the form of a thousand indeterminate messages clashing within. These messages are as mysterious as they are real, and art does not seek to clarify them, only lead us in their way.

We can go further; we can go back to the image. Most of us can't get out of the world of images.

Sebastián Jiménez Galindo - The image is present

Sebastián Jiménez Galindo was born in Mexico City in 1995. He is the author of the poetry chapbook EXPERIMENTAL GARDENING MANUAL: Create your own habit in thirty-something easy steps, translated by Naomi Washer and published in toad press; and the audio poetry collection VORACIOUS BLUE LOBSTERS. His writings have been published on different sites online and in print in Mexico, the United States, Canada, Spain and Taiwan. He has worked on devised theater, sound poetry, film and video art. He is currently pursuing a BFA in Literature and Creative Writing at Centro de Cultura Casa Lamm.


Language became my spiritual guide and my inspiration during a period of retrospection when I stopped making art and began searching for ways to disrupt the boring predictability of my pre-learned answers to a number of existential questions plaguing me.

At that time I was desperately trying to overcome preconceptions and belief systems I was thought to comply with. My constant attempts to escape my mental prison were ineffective until I decided to devote myself to the practical development of the idea that every possibly sayable thought could be found in a semantic net formed by sequences of synonymous words.

I still remember the moment of 'revelation' when I found a proof of the fascinating powers of Language in the sequence of English synonyms: death syn. event syn. result syn. results in + completeness syn. omneity.

My linguistic explorations led to the formulation of patented methods for language generation. They also made me realize that artworks in digital age should not be necessarily defined by a single mode of presentation - whether as computer codes, images, sound patterns, or texts - which gave me the idea for the creation of software that not only can generate sentences but also can transform them into different abstract pictures and sequences of sounds. Endless are the possibilities of differently representing texts as images or sounds.

But what constantly inspire me are the results of the manual transformation of sequences of English synonyms into thesauri poems. Take for example the verse: targets titter in their coffins setbacks pose as aims. Can you believe that I found it in the sequence of synonyms: target syn. chase syn. cry syn. titter in + chase syn. goal syn. focus syn. coffin syn. grave syn. death syn. setback + grave syn. pose as + goal syn. aim?

Krasi Dimtch
Member of AGITATE:21C


The short essays on inspiration already posted on our blog frame a glimpse into the passions and thought processes of some of the members of our collective, which I have found interesting and illuminating.

I myself have nothing profound or global to offer on the subject of inspiration.

There is no what that inspires me, and no why either.

For me, inspiration is serendipity, the unpredictable coming seemingly from nowhere (or everywhere) and happening in the now, sometimes like a bolt of lightning, other times like a subtle change in the light. I can't control it or produce it on demand. It happens in its own time, not always on deadline, but sometimes in the nick of time. Yet there is no shortage of it. Don't dismiss it! Let it happen! It's neither good nor bad in itself, just freewheeling creative thought in dialectic with the world, by definition an individual perspective (but not foreclosing collaboration).

Sometimes inspiration arrives in the course of research or serious thought, which it may or may not be related to; sometimes it creeps up as the mind wanders while stuck in traffic or in the middle of mundane tasks. Other times it comes like a manic storm. Be ready! It's not always on topic, but pay attention anyway. Inspiration loves input, curiosity, and openness, but it is not immune to dark visions. Inspiration fuels my work, but doesn't compel it - alas or perhaps fortunately, there are still artistic, political, and intellectual choices to be made, where the critical mind is of more utility.


Inspiration amidst devastation

Ever since I first came across it several years ago, a quote by the late Australian poet Les Murray has often ricocheted around my mind: 'I am only interested in everything'. It has always reassured me. The poetry world can be pretty narrow and rigid at times - take for example the timeworn edict that poetry should not be illustrated because it should always be able to stand alone, an edict that was hammered home on my creative writing MA course. I've since let go of these kinds of limiting commandments - a letting go that was necessary to becoming a poetry filmmaker.

Increasingly, my creative work is driven by the prospect of climate, ecological and social collapse. I recently realised that I've been grieving all my life - as a child who was painfully awake to the destruction of nature and the suffering of animals, I would pour some of this grief into stories and poems. Now, in the midst as we are of the sixth mass extinction event, my pain for the world is a constant thread running through my films. The most recent example is Huntress, which centres on a poem I wrote on a canal boat journey. It speaks to my need to bear witness in these times: to 'look with the eyes that don't look away' at all of life - at the despair, the dark wonder and the unfathomable joy; to see and feel everything that life presents.

Janet Lees