borgdorff – unfinished thinking

Henk Borgdorff’s open access book The Conflict of the Faculties: Perspectives on Artistic Research and Academia is comprehensive, thoughtful, and provocative.

In the chapter on The Production of Knowledge in Artistic Research he writes:

artistic research seeks not so much to make explicit the knowledge that art is said to produce, but rather to provide a specific articulation of the pre-reflective, non-conceptual content of art. It thereby invites ‘unfinished thinking’. Hence, it is not formal knowledge that is the subject matter of artistic research, but thinking in, through, and with art.[1]

I particularly like the feeling of ‘unfinished thinking’: it seems to resonate with my experience of what practice-as-research does. At the same time, his tantalising suggestion of the thing that “art is said to produce” alludes to deep-seated scepticism about the epistemological limitations (and possibilities) of practice-as-research.


  1. Borgdorff, Hendrik Anne (Henk). 2012. The Conflict of the Faculties: Perspectives on Artistic Research and Academia. Leiden: Leiden University Press. https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/handle/1887/18704, p.143.  ↩
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