Although the word theoria, from which the word ‘theory’ is derived, means ‘image’ or ‘contemplation’ in ancient Greek, it also means ‘journey’. As American classicist Andrea Wilson Nightinghale (2001) explains, theoria was a journey to a ‘destination away from one’s own city undertaken for the purpose of seeing as an eye-witness certain events and spectacles’ (20). Theoros was an envoy sent on a mission to gather and exchange information: to witness a religious festival, to represent one Greek city to another, or to broaden the traveller’s horizons. Regardless of whether their journey had a predominantly religious, political or personal function, the theoroi were required to report back on what they witnessed and experienced. This implies both performance and communication, and does not limit the practice of theorising to a passive reception of static images or their passive contemplation. Thinking in performance is thus simultaneously a communicational method and a way of making direct propositions. Instead of debating the possibility of eating or walking differently, performance substitutes action for debate. It presents a different way of eating or walking. In do doing, it makes the new way of eating or walking a temporary reality, which is to say that it re-structures, re-codes – or re-formats – the exiting reality.
– Natasha Lushetich, 2016. Interdisciplinary Performance. London: Palgrave, p.6
Natasha’s website: natashalushetich.com
These ideas by Patrick Dunleavy are not at all limited to practice-as-research but seems pretty useful.
I like the idea of grey literature:
(that is, conference papers, working papers, reports, media sources, blogs and shorter or less formally published materials generally)
Academic references have stayed the same for too long, so that right across the world, and across most disciplines, students and academics are still solemnly recording useless citation information (e.g. place of publication for global publishers) and not recording vital information (e.g. where to access the open access version of the cited text).
View at Medium.com
Patrick Dunleavy has published a longer set of arguments for why citation practices need to change here:
You can follow Dunleavy on twitter at https://twitter.com/write4research and on medium at https://medium.com/@write4research.
It will probably come as no surprise to those of you who know me that I think there is enormous value in blogging as a form of writing practice. It enables people to:
- test different kinds of writing in public (or indeed private)
- get used to writing regularly in different registers and scales
- consider types of audiences in very particular ways
- develop ongoing sensitisation to ideas
- shape and question artistic practices through text-based approaches
- develop a simple space to collect ideas, images, etc (probably the most common form of blog in relation to practice-research)
The work of Australian artist Lucas Ihlein is useful in this respect. His PhD (completed in 2010) was called Framing Everyday Experience: Blogging as Art and (as the title suggests!) it includes blogging as an art practice. Lucas is online at http://lucasihlein.net and @LucasIhlein. I’m sure he’d happily send you a copy of his PhD if you drop him a line.
Lucas’s writing and thinking reminds me of this:
Whether economic, philosophical, social or cultural, the context in which an artwork is created and the complicity of the artist within that context is intrinsic to its meaning.
— David Pledger, https://theconversation.com/circles-of-context-giving-a-work-of-art-its-meaning-29401
In other words, context is everything (just replace artwork with product / writing / research / etc.). And what about this word complicity? What are the circumstances of resistance and complicity? Blogging (and other social media) technologies for sharing, publishing and producing are not value-free or transparent. They shape how we read and see, and invite particular assumptions on the part of the writer and reader.
Finally, anyone know of any other examples of blogging as artistic-scholarly practice that have formed part of doctoral (or other) submissions?
Don’t have much time at the moment to write fuller posts but here is a small piece of writing by Simon Jones sent to me by C-DaRE PhD student Teoma Naccarato:
I would argue that the epistemological difficulties inherent in the phrasing of a judgment of practice-as-research are analogous to those encountered by physicists in their attempts to measure the quantum world using the experimental machinery developed to demonstrate Classical or Newtonian mechanics. The aporia between these realities – the everyday and the quantum – challenged the belief that systems could be finally known through measurement.
– Simon Jones (p.30), in Practice-as-Research in Performance and Screen (2009). Ludivine Allegue, Simon Jones, Baz Kershaw, and Angela Piccini, eds. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan. Print and DVD
John Cage is pretty useful in relation to questions of knowing and process:
Everybody has a song which is no song at all: it is a process of singing, and when you sing, you are where you are. All I know about method is that when I am not working I sometimes think I know something, but when I am working, it is quite clear that I know nothing.
– John Cage, in Larson, Kay. 2013. Where the Heart Beats. New York: Penguin Books, p.239
I think I use practice in different ways. It’s a daily thing, the practice of my body. The practice of reading and the practice of writing as things that are my ongoing sensitization. Being sharper, interested, available.
Thinking of my idea, or mind, as something that is already material and trying to make it into another material in order to handle it differently. To touch it, be able to work with it. I find that through practice you can produce a certain know-how that is so specific to the idea. That’s why I find it interesting with practice. The know-how is so embedded in the body more than on the paper.
— Rosalind Goldberg, http://repo.sarma.be/Dancer%20as%20Agent/Goldberg.pdf