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This exhibition explores 'A Way of Making', an ongoing collaborative project in ceramics by curator Frédérique Bergholtz and performance artist Maria Pask. I propose that their investigation of making through ceramics – and, hence, through the hands-on encounter with the materiality of clay – is an intriguing instance of artistic research. Artistic research often refers to a discursive or scientific investigation that informs an artistic practice, or to an ongoing investigation within an existing practice. What interests me in this case is how the research is carried out in a parallel-site of investigation, one that is largely embodied. It is an empirical exploration of a medium and, as complete amateurs to the medium, an investigation of the various possibilities of ‘making’ with it. This form of artistic research aims to tackle the basics of what a curator and an artist are already busy with in their respective artistic professions.
My own formative and professional trajectory has meandered through various institutions, including universities, museums, and art academies. I have therefore operated in the tenuous fault lines between different creative practices and forms of knowledge production. 'A Way of Making' is of interest to me precisely for how it calls for an analysis of the relation between different ways of creating and ways of knowing. In following the many facets of 'A Way of Making' over the past few years, I began to see parallels between the artists' investigation of the material of clay and questions that arise for me as a theoretician when working with an artistic practice or artwork. I became particularly interested in the attitude with which the makers approached their site of investigation. This attitude can be identified in many registers of their project, including the way in which performers and audiences are interpolated somatically by the ceramic pieces in various staged encounters.
For this exposition, I adopted the concept of 'rudimentariness', as defined by Mireille Rosello in the field of comparative literature, to help define this attitude and to see how it can also operate in a largely non-discursive register. The exposition begins with the makers’ hands-on research, exploring how rudimentariness in making calls forth empirical forms of knowing. In particular, the notion of sensate thinking, as defined by Alexander G. Baumgarten, and theories addressing the intimate relation between the sense of touch and movement and modes of thought are key.
The exposition then extends beyond Bergholtz and Pask's project to propose how the attitude of rudimentariness, underpinned by an understanding of sensate thinking and workings of touch, helps articulate what is at stake in the present for artistic research more generally and, specifically, within the growing importance placed on economies of learning in the (Dutch) education system.
In creating this exposition, I attempted to follow the lines, curves, and cracks of 'A Way of Making' to investigate the feedback loops between the discursive and the non-discursive. I propose the not-yet of knowledge as a productive site for the emergence of new perspectives and critical standpoints, as well as the transformative effects of such emergent perspectives on existing habits, modes of making, and, ultimately, what is already known.
Music, when performed live, carries the musician's physicality with it, either embedded within the sound or perceivable through the musician's physical presence. A dancer's movement follows dynamics and expresses shapes that are based on musical phrasing principles and 'kinetic melodies'. The two pieces 'Double Vortex' for trombone, movement, and live-electronics and 'Moving Music' for interactive dance and electronic sounds represent experimental devices for exploring the relationships between musical actions and movement, sound and space, and between instrumental and embodied performance modes. With physical tasks and movement components added to open-form, improvised, and compositional work, the otherwise tacit and taken for granted contributions of the performer's corporeal presence is brought to the foreground. By putting the dancer into the role of an instrumentalist and by setting the trombone player into movement, the intrinsic musicality of movement and the dependence between dance and music is shown. By linking sound and movement in both the corporeal and the technological domains, a shifted relationship is established that generates forms of interaction particular to this specific practice. The work on the two pieces is carried out with a focus on artistic creation, and in parallel becomes the object for observation, trace interpretation, and analysis from the perspective of art as research. The exposition further thematises the methods of trace collection and analysis, as well as the making of maps, diagrams, and assemblages, and addresses the scope of this secondary discursive format. In a movement that goes from media trace to text to sketch, from descriptive to contextual to associative juxtaposition, the exposition speculates about – rather than claims to generate – insights and understanding on corporeality in technologically mediated music and dance performances.
This is an assemblage using the film 'Four Siblings' as a basis to reflect on the notion of the artist as analyst in connection with amateurish practices. These are positioned as performative, as they co-create the family system. The video letters, shot on 8 mm and Super 8 films, were sent from my grandmother, who had emigrated to the United States after the Austrian State Treaty in 1955, to my great-grandmother, in Vienna, where the films were developed and watched. During that time three-quarters of all amateur film-makers were men. In the course of 'Four Siblings' the beautiful images are contrasted with issues of violence, rivalry, and ambivalence.
'Haunted by last season’s video letters: amateur films performing spectrality' is an attempt poetically to map non-linear memory. Spectrality, in its simultaneous presence and absence, is introduced to film media as soon as an archive is set up.
This exposition focuses on our current artistic project, cONcErn, which aspires to be both an investigation of the milieu of art and the creation of a milieu for art and through art. Concretely, the project revolves around a host space for artworks that for logistical reasons (transport, storage, etc.) are at risk of destruction, disposal, or abandonment. We begin by giving an account of our preceding artistic research from which the project emerged. Thereafter we discuss the conceptual framework of cONcErn, in particular its alignment with our understanding of the environment as an eco-techno-symbolic system. In this context, we explain our rationale for adhering to the rather unusual term 'mesology' and explore key notions, such as diversity and visibility, which inform the project on a theoretical and practical level. Finally, we provide a snapshot of the initial activities and practical experiences that cONcErn has so far engendered.
'ANCHORAGE' constitutes a collaborative piece of phenomenologically inspired drawing research, undertaken by artists Joe Graham, Steven Dickie, and Chantal Faust. Comprising forty drawings plus a written text, the objective is to ‘outline’ an understanding of the phenomenon of outline, described in an effort to overcome the traditionally definitive descriptions of it that abound (Rawson 1987; Maynard 2005; Thomas and Taylor 2003). In this respect, it constitutes both a relocation and an online extension of an earlier stage to the project, published in print: 'ANCHOR' (2015). In outlining an alternative form of reply to the earlier question (what is an outline?), the purpose of 'ANCHORAGE' is to revisit what was left uninspected or simply assumed; namely, whether an invariant understanding of outline in relation to drawing as a form of art might sensibly be defined. To address this notion, a variety of hand drawn ‘outlines’ by Graham, Dickie, and Faust are supplied for analysis, using original material from 'ANCHOR' as a guide. As lead investigator, the text by Graham seeks to unpack these variations as a part of a Husserlian-inspired methodology (Husserl  1999). This is geared towards seeking what an essential or perhaps even ‘truthful’ understanding of outline might look like, contingent on the drawings presented here.
The Research Catalogue (RC) is a searchable, documentary database of artistic research work and its exposition. The RC is an inclusive, open-ended, bottom-up research tool that supports the journal's academic contributions.