Artistic Research

Artistic Research

Artistic Research

Artistic Research

Synopsis

Currently, advanced art education is in the process of developing (doctorate or PhD) research programs throughout Europe. Therefore, it seems to us urgent to explore what the term research actually means in the topical practice of art. After all, research as such is often understood as a method stemming from the alpha, beta or gamma sciences directed towards knowledge production and the development of a certain scientific domain. How is artistic research connected with those types of scientific research, taking into account that the artistic domain so far has tended to continually exceed the parameters of knowledge management? One could claim that the artistic field comprises the hermeneutic question of the humanities, the experimental method of the sciences, and the societal commitment of the social sciences. Will that knowledge influence the domain, the methodology, and the outcome of artistic research? Another major topic concerns not only the specificity of the object of knowledge of artistic research but above all whether and how artistic research and its institutional programs will influence topical visual art, its artworks and its exhibitions. These complex problematics with their various points of view and management models are mapped out through the contributions of theorists, curators, and institutions, from Belgium, France, Great-Britain, Italy, The Netherlands, Finland, Germany, and Sweden. May these contributions be a constructive impetus for a versatile debate which may influence the future role of advanced art institutions and the position of artistic research in the next decade.

Excerpt

Annette W. Balkema and Henk Slager

Currently, advanced art education is in the process of developing (doctorate or PhD) research programs throughout Europe. Therefore, it seems to us urgent to explore what the term “research” actually means in the topical practice of art. After all, research as such is often understood as a method stemming from the alpha, beta, and gamma sciences directed towards knowledge production and the development of a certain scientific domain. How is artistic research connected with those types of scientific research, taking into account that the artistic domain so far has tended to continually exceed the parameters of knowledge management?

One could claim that the artistic field comprises the hermeneutic question of the humanities, the experimental method of the sciences, and the societal commitment of the social sciences. Will that knowledge influence the domain, the methodology, and the outcome of artistic research? Another major topic concerns not only the specificity of the object of knowledge of artistic research but above all whether and how artistic research and its institutional programs will influence topical visual art, its artworks and its exhibitions.

The former, more or less transcendental, questions have been posited in a preliminary workshop Art and Method in De Rijksacademie voor Beeldende Kunsten (State Academy of Visual Arts) in Amsterdam, where a number of philosophers and artists exchanged thoughts on the concept of research as such. in that framework, various topics arose, such as the meaning and position of research in both a scientific and an artistic context; how the different, and as yet, distinctive forms of research could be related, and what a research attitude would imply for the definition of the concept of an artist. Furthermore, the methodological consequences emerging from such a particular approach toward the artistic domain of knowledge were discussed further.

The results of the workshop were the launch pad for the international two-day symposium Artistic Research organized in co-operation with the European Cultural Institutes in the Netherlands (Maison Descartes, Goethe Institut, British Council, vch De Brakke Grond, Instituto Cervantes, Istituto Italiana di Cultura, and the Finnish Cultural Institute), where similar methodological questions were addressed once more, albeit specifically focused on the institutional domain. These included: how could the developing research paradigm in topical visual art be part of the curriculum for advanced art institutions in Europe? And, vice . . .

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