Lateral Displacement

What is the Lateral Displacement Creative Technique?

In Lateral Displacement a word or phrase is selected to establish a ‘starting point’.  To this starting point a modifying (or displacing) word or phrase is added that describes or defines a direction of travel. 

The following are examples of Lateral Displacement in the form of a starting point, and displacement: – 

  • Night, but darker
  • Quality, but imposed
  • Departure, but ominous
  • Remains, but tragic 

Lateral Displacement is a simple Creative Thinking Technique, yet it is strikingly effective because of its flexibility and the fact that, although it defines a creative space, it still leaves room for significant freedom of thought. 

How does Lateral Displacement work?

In Glanside, creative thought flows from the Specific to the General.

Lateral Displacement starts with a specific idea.  The specific idea – embodying the direction, material, concept or theme that you wish to investigate or dissect – is then developed in possible alternative directions by the creation of ‘general ideas’ derived from creative thinking.

The general ideas in Lateral Displacement are produced through the application of a starting point and a modifying word or phrase that defines a direction of creative travel.

Because Lateral Displacement is a loose creative framework it is often useful to add a premise, in order to more tightly define the perimeter of your creative thinking.  Changing this perimeter then allows for the investigation of different possibilities of Lateral Displacement as a sequential process.

Demonstration: Lateral Displacement

The following is a simple illustration of Lateral Displacement.

The Specific Idea

Subject Matter: A market for antique pottery.

Phrases defining the specific idea: –

  • A Staffordshire agateware teapot and cover, marbled with striations of  blue, cream and manganese, some restoration to the spout. The random mingling of coloured  clays, such as red and buff, gave a broad veining to domestic and  ornamental pieces.  Repeated mixing of different layers of brown, white,  and green or blue clay yielded a striated marbling throughout the substance.
  • This period is considered the high spot of pottery manufacture, with the best quality ‘body’ being used alongside transfer-printing  of the highest standard.
  • In a depressed economic climate, these works of art have bucked the trend. It seems that not a week passes without some record being  broken.

The General Idea

Creative Thinking Technique: Lateral Displacement

Creative points-of-departure are now produced by applying the general ideas – derived from the Lateral Displacement technique – to the specific ideas (e.g. the direction, material, concept or theme around which the creative work is being developed).

Reality, but untested

Premise: Fantasy is merely a shortage of proven fact. A state of fantasy is created without a means of establishing and agreeing fact.

Derived Themes (i.e points-of-departure which can be further developed in a potential text):

  • The Potter’s inherent ability to engage directly with your emotions, almost bypassing the cynical resistance of the eyes and touching the emotional nerve directly.
  • She seemed to have cornered desire and secured it in bright and challenging glazes.
  • A piece of a ceramic of this era is essential to any complete collection. 
  • A collection covering the last 200 years can become a poignant display of the raw power of decorative pottery.

The Truth, but disputed

Premise: Fantasy is merely a shortage of proven fact. A state of fantasy is created without a means of establishing and agreeing fact.

Derived Themes (i.e points-of-departure which can be further developed in a potential text):

  • The collective frenzy for ceramics of the period was spiralling upwards, as rarity drove demand which in turn increased rarity.
  • The moment when that object shattered seemed also to break the hold that auction houses had on the market.
  • A movement that began at the fringes of the market came to the attention of a sceptical audience at its centre. 

Possible Development

The Fake Potter – an imagined article from the Applied Glanside section of the website – illustrates how these themes, derived from the Creative Technique Just Write, could be further developed into a creative text.  

Essential Glanside

A detailed process to manage the use of Creative Techniques for the development of original artwork and written work is set out in the section Essential Glanside.