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Doing Research: An Exercise in Thinking about the Meaning of Artistic Research in the Academy Context

EARN Members will collaborate with dOCUMENTA(13) becoming an activating agent in the main exhibition programme and collaborating on a series of workshops and a symposium

http://www.artresearch.eu

dOCUMENTA(13)

The EARN Academies network is participating in dOCUMENTA(13). There are four strands to this collaboration: (i) activated projects; (ii) “Doing Research” a chapter of the conference “On Artistic Research” co-organised with dOCUMENTA(13) (September 8 and 9); (iii) a book on different definitions, approaches, critical responses and positions on the question of artistic research to be released in advance of the conference; and (iv) a programme of workshops by doctoral researchers (September 6 and 7).

A. Activated Projects

This participation is framed in a number of different ways and raises complex issues about the mobilisation of students and researchers within a large scale machine for visibility such as documenta. The presence of student artists and researchers as activating agents within artworks authored by other artists and articulated within the elaborate curatorial matrices of dOCUMENTA(13) creates many challenges and debates: These range from the prerogatives of academies vis-a-vis other institutions (exhibitions, biennials, showcase platforms, curatorial discourse) to the operational economies of production and the outsourcing of labour inputs. There is clearly a wide diversity of models of “activated” project – entailing different orders of student / researcher participation, input and agency. Exampels include: (i) Theaster Gates restoring and reactivating the historic Huguenot House in Kassel with student input; (ii) Paul Ryan’s Threeing comprised of situations in which three or more people create sustainable, collaborative relationships; and (iii) Robin Kahn and the Women of Western Sahara’s “jaima” (tent) project.

B. “Doing Research”

Doing Research aims to understand the various ways in which research is understood and practiced by artists – in this case artists involved the d(13) activated projects, as well as artists involved in European doctoral programs. Structuring this enquiry are a series of six questions:

B.1 Questions: Understandings of artistic research

(i) What is your definition of doing (artistic) research? Does artistic research need an institutional framework or could it be legitimized differently? Does the institutionalization of research imply an instrumental control and a reduced conception of art? Or is does it also create room for matters such as unexpected and independent artistic forms, and openness to conflict and difference?

(ii) Do current research-connotations and protocols limit the domain of artistic imagination? Or could research-based art lead to novel forms of
(critical) consciousness? What could be the implications of the research discourse for aesthetic qualities such as the non-discursive, the not-knowing, and the intuitive, and what does this mean for your practice?
Artist and researcher

(iii) Do you see your own work as research-based? How does research affect your practise and your position as an artist? Or do you consider the topic of research obsolete in the realm of art? What, then, is a current topic or emergent theme in visual art that might be an alternative to the focus on research?

(iv) What does thinking in terms of research mean for your self-understanding as an artist? Can you, as an “artist”, identify with the role and identity of a “researcher”? Or do you expect that the practice of artistic research will contribute to re-thinking and re-assessing the established concept of researcher?

B.2 Related concepts and terminologies

(v) Do you consider your practice with reference to ideas of political economy? How could an artistic (research) practice relate to current conditions of “capital” and to what are seen as the ubiquitous forms of “cognitive capitalism”? Do you see possibilities for the production of alternative social and economic strategies in your work? How could artists currently demand attention for emancipatory forms of knowledge and experience that enable the world to be thought differently?

(vi) To what extent do you think and work in terms of “knowledge production”? Is the current “biopolitical” expansion of the notion of production a theme in your work? Are these terms familiar and/or of relevance for you in thinking about your practice?

C. The Book

The book “Doing Research” (published by the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts) which features contributions from dOCUMENTA(13) artists and EARN researchers will be avialable from mid-August 2012.

D. EARN@dOCUMENTA(13) Doctoral Workshops

The format of the workshops is relatively open – Each session is with one or more artist/researchers from an EARN academy presenting on some aspect of their current research. For some researchers the workshop may be based on interpreting / responding / re-setting the agenda generated by the questions and responses from “Doing Research” (see above). But many workshops simply emerge from the priorities of the work and concerns of the students presenting. Presenters include:

1. Laura Kuch (SLADE UCL)
2. Kai Syng Tan (SLADE UCL)
3. Beatrice Jarvis (GRADCAM ULSTER)
4. Giulia Cilla(ACADEMY OF FINE ART VIENNA)
5. Ingrid Cogne(ACADEMY OF FINE ART VIENNA)
6. Elske Rosenfeld (ACADEMY OF FINE ART VIENNA)
7. Fiona Curran (SLADE UCL)
8. Martino Genchi (IUAV Bevilacqua Ateliers)
9. Giovanni Giaretta (IUAV Bevilacqua Ateliers)
10. Annette Krauss (MAHKU)
11. Jem Noble (GRADCAM DIT ASSOCIATE RESEARCHER)
12. Henna Halonen (FINNISH ACADEMY OF FINE ART)
13. Kay Tabernacle (SLADE UCL)
14. Tim Long (SLADE UCL)
15. Michael Delacruz (SLADE UCL)
16. Eleanor Morgan (SLADE UCL)
17. Johan Thom (SLADE UCL)
18. Lisa Tan (VALAND ACADEMY GU)
19. Georgina Jackson (GRADCAM DIT)
20. Rana Ozturk (GRADCAM NCAD)
21. Aislinn White (GRADCAM ULSTER)
22. Eirini Boukla (LEEDS)
23. Claire Hope (LEEDS)
24. Elke Marhöfer (VALAND ACADEMY GU)
25. Errol Francis (SLADE UCL)
26. Ming-Han Hsu (Taipei National University of Arts)

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Johan Thom - sequence of stills from performance as part of 'Tables of Thought'

DECOY 2010, Performance, Text, razorblades, projected images, ladder, speaker. Performance held as part of ‘Tables of thought’ exhibition and seminar organized by the European Arts and Research Network and hosted by the Finish Academy of Arts
28-29 April 2010, Finland, Helsinki

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DECOY A bird or animal, or an imitation of one, used to attract others. Also a person or thing employed to entice or deceive others into capture, danger, error, etc.; a swindler’s confederate; a tempter; bait, an enticement (decoy-duck; decoy ship: used to decoy enemy vessels).

For this work, I presented a performance-lecture that combined the body’s physical action with the reading of text and the moving image. Each word was engraved on a single razorblade and read aloud from atop a ladder during the performance. My body physically cut into the projected image.

The sequence of projected images that accompanied the reading was drawn from found footage capturing the exact moment when a duck is shot over a lake. However, the sequence of images is reversed.

Once the reading was complete all the razorblades, or words, were collected with a speaker partially covered with gold leaf and placed upon the speakers’ podium.

Location: KUVA, Kaikukatu 4, Helsinki, Finland.

For more information: http://www.kuva.fi or h

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Text for DECOY 2010, Performance, razorblades, projected images, ladder, speaker. Performance held as part of ‘Tables of thought’ exhibition and seminar organized by the European Arts and Research Network and hosted by the Finish Academy of Arts 28-29 April 2010, Finland, Helsinki

it feels like forever
this weightless moment
that has me fobbing about
as if I never even learned the basics
much worse than sounding like a fool
this spastic nowhere acrobatics
ruffled feathers
head over heels
a common tumbler
sun horizon sun veld
oh look: it’s the hills!
sun sun
solid ground approaching fast
at least when they kicked me out of the nest
I still made a show of resistance
even if it were completely futile
just one decent flap!
before I go digging up daisies
right next to that coocooing stiffneckbird
that duped me so
vlieg fokker vlieg!


enri.wegelius@kuva.fi

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