Part of the game of any research process is finding ways to test your one’s own thinking, understanding, biases1 and assumptions. The dancer Chrysa Parkinson posted a self-interview in 2011 as (I suspect) a way to develop and share her understanding:
It’s playful, lucid and direct, and such a useful example of a way for artists to interrupt their thinking or to draw a line under a period of practice or research.
Tip of the hat to my friend and colleague Scott deLahunta for sending me the video.
The British Library placement student Coral Manton has produced a series of case studies of PhD students working with and in multimedia PhDs:
[The students] discuss the artefacts and content they’re producing and the challenges they’ve encountered around long-term archiving, managing rights and permissions, seeking advice from libraries, and ensuring access for future researchers to allow them to build on the research.
Here’s the link:
Clearly, how non-traditional research is able to be archived and accessed continues to be a key question for institutions and individuals.
I’ve posted one of Richard Blythe’s practice-based PhD summaries before but never got round to an extended version from 2016. In it he discusses artists’ fascinations (from about 2:50min):
[fascinations] are the sense of the wonderful, the things that practitioenrs return to again and again – their muses if you like, images, particular kinds of light conditions, projects by other practitioners – that have drawn extended enquiry from the practitioner … the projects that they will return to again and again, thinking through their own works. Fascinations can be text based, image based, paintings, art works, philosophical texts, all kinds of manner of thing; a fascination pool of individual practices.
Here’s the full embed:
If you are involved in a PaR PhD, or just interested in understanding the way in which PaR involves telecoping into instances of practice while extended and searching beyond their borders, then this video is well worth a watch.
I recently wrote a book chapter called That Thing Produced and in it I explore the epistemic conditions and possibilities of practice-research. Here’s a small sample:
In this chapter, I use the term knowledge in the conflated and ambiguous way – both intellectual endeavour and a tool for the knowledge economy. I do so to recognise its common usage in contemporary higher education, and to acknowledge that the absence of nuance enables academics rather fortuitously to speak with different audiences in the academy (with different goals, desires, histories and understandings) as if we are talking about the same thing. For example, even the statement “I am doing research” comes loaded with ambiguity because of how different people might understand differently the epistemic value and purpose of doing research. (p.483)
The chapter is part of a book called A World of Muscle, Bone & Organs: Research and Scholarship in Dance, and it is an open access PDF available from: www.coventry.ac.uk/c-dare/e-book.
Henk Borgdorff’s The Conflict of the Faculties : Perspectives on Artistic Research and Academia is a fantastic text about practice-research. It’s a goldmine really, but I particularly like the way he is very clear about the way in PaR that the art pratice is entangled with research and artistic development:
The entanglement of artistic research with art practice and with artistic development is so close that a conceptual distinction often appears contrived. (p.144)
He includes the footnote:
Such distinctions are usually made by people who first create a caricature of the one activity, believing they are protecting the other activity by doing so.
He then follows on with what is pretty old news, but does such a fantastic job of articulating the ways in which context helps to clarify the nature of the research:
Another distinguishing feature is that contemporary art practice constitutes the relevant context for the research, alongside the academic forum. The research derives its significance not only from the new in-sights it contributes to the discourse on art, but also from the outcomes in the form of new products and experiences which are meaningful in the world of art. In part, then, the outcomes of artistic research are art-works, installations, performances, and other artistic practices; and this is another quality that differentiates it from humanities or social science research, where art practice may be the object of the research, but not the outcome. This means that art practice is paramount as the subject matter, the method, the context, and the outcome of artistic research. That is what is meant by expressions like ‘practice-based’ or ‘studio-based’ research. (p.146)
The book is open access.
Borgdorff, Hendrik Anne Henk. 2012. The Conflict of the Faculties : Perspectives on Artistic Research and Academia. Leiden: Leiden University Press : Amsterdam. https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/handle/1887/18704.
“The practice” is only what u cant stop doing
– Jesse Darling https://twitter.com/dzeij_dii/status/922106735980138500
Thanks to Paul Hughes for sending it my way.