the illegibility of the creative act

A paper at KISMIF
July 2015

The illegibility of the creative act:
how a shopping mall became a music hub, and how its exposure may be its worst enemy.

DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0


This paper presents the case study of CCStop, a Portuguese bankrupt shopping mall turned music ecosystem, from its slow decay in the 1990s to its gradual occupation by musicians to this day. A gradual interest in the phenomenon from the outside has led to institutional support for some of its projects, as well as media coverage and, to an extent, a certain “proto-branding” in the minds of local citizens.

At the point when mainstream exposure betrays CCStop’s social, semantic and pedagogical originality, by rendering it legible within the dominant (and inevitably reductive) lexicon of cultural production, musicians themselves seem to converge in this tacit agreement of a return to consumption mode.

CCStop as a music hub was, indeed, a DIY phenomenon upon its birth. As this seems to no longer be the case, various questions may be asked:

• What remains of its original poise, beyond scrutiny and exposure?
• Can we scrutinise contemporary culture without compromising its fertility?
• Is the trend of institutional support of emerging creative sectors a most effective way of compromising its ability for self-determination and originality?
• Is the allure of media a self-sabotaging mechanism for creativity?
• Is Punk dead, or is it wisely trying to stay off the radar?