The Society for Artistic Research (SAR) was established in March 2010 as an independent, non-profit organisation for the purpose of publishing the Journal for Artistic Research (JAR). It is a dynamic, international group that is encouraging discussion and activity dedicated to artistic research. SAR is comprised of both individual and institutional members from around the globe, who support SAR through the payment of a membership fee, sponsorship, and the gifting of their time and expertise.
Click here for more information, to become a member and support JAR!
The JAR review process
All expositions in JAR are peer reviewed (except those in our inaugural issue 0). The steps of this process after the reception of a submission are:
1. Assessment by the Editorial Board
The Editorial Board assesses if the submission meets the basic requirements to be passed to review (see submissions) and may suggest some changes before doing so.
2. Invitation of Reviewers
The Editorial Board invites at least three reviewers for the submission, approaching experts from disciplinary fields of the submission, including artistic, scientific and scholarly disciplines. The author(s) may propose one of the three reviewers. JAR expects the reviewers to engage critically and supportively with the field of artistic research.
JAR employs a 'single blind' review process. The reviewers are anonymous until publication; while the names of the authors are announced. In the art field, a 'double blind' review process can be seen as particularly inappropriate, as the research often carries the ‘signature’ of those who conducted it.
Peer-reviewers are asked to use the JAR Peer Review Form to report on their assessment. The form can be downloaded here.
3. Decision on the basis of reviews
Having received the reviews, the Editorial Board decides whether the submission is:
If a submission is accepted, the reviewers are asked to compile a final set of comments based on the re-worked submission. These comments are then published alongside the submission as ‘JAR Reviewer Comments’ and linked to from the JAR table of contents.
We continue to debate what peer review entails in the context of JAR. We believe that research can be assessed, while at the same time we recognize that artistic research work is, by its nature, an open undertaking, resisting overly rigid regulations. JAR itself is work-in-progress. The emerging community of artistic researchers will learn and define through practice what it means to expose artistic research.
If the submission is accepted, it will be published in one of the next issues of JAR.
Points of attention for reviewing JAR submissions
Note: This is work in progress. Reviewing criteria are suggestions that allow the probing of an exposition in particular ways without being prescriptive.
1. Which aspects of the submission are of interest / relevance and why?
JAR seeks submissions that address important issues or problems in an artistic manner that engages others in the field. When answering this question, please take into account the submission’s subject matter, its methods, outcomes or any other aspect that you deem important.
2. Does the submission live up to its potential?
Please reflect on the potential of the submission and the way it is realised. How might the submission be improved to better match its potential?
3. How does the submission expose practice as research?
JAR is open to submissions from various methodological backgrounds, as long as they expose practice as research. By this we mean that the submission exposes, translates, stages, performs etc. the practice it presents so as to engage with its own meaning, to challenge existing epistemic horizons or to offer new insights.
Please take into account:
Ultimately, a submission may successfully expose practice as research despite disappointing conventional academic criteria for the assessment of research. If applicable, please state where the breaching of such criteria is detrimental to the submission.
4. How well do design and navigation support the submission?
Design and navigation should support the proposition. Its reception should make sense and not frustrate (in the case that ‘frustration’ is not deemed an important element of the submission).
JAR does not operate with a minimum or maximum word count because, as a rich-media publication, we could technically accept an exposition without words. But, as a guide, we advise that a reader/viewer should be able to explore the main part of the exposition and understand the research in approximately one hour.
Reviewing for JAR
JAR has a growing database of reviewers who generously agree to contribute their time and points of view aiding us in our aim to publish and debate artistic research. The journal welcomes the interest of possible reviewers from all disciplines, whether operating inside or outside the academic context. Contact us (email@example.com) if you feel you can help us in this important role.
The object of my research involves an elementary particle of meaning: a letter of the alphabet. The claim that a single letter can make to meaning is clear in the case of an initial—which is usually a single, capital letter—and even more so when this initial appears in the context of a signature. Specifically, my research deals with the initial letter "R" used by the 17th-century Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669) in his signatures.
The meanings that an initial letter can mediate are not limited to identification and references to a full name. Letters of the alphabet, while being basic verbal units, have visual, not to say pictorial features. All by itself, a letter is not yet a word or phoneme. It exhibits the formal characteristics of a sign, grapheme, symbol. Many of the major writing systems in the world—phonetic or not—were derived from pictograms, from representational pictorial symbols. We all learned to write by drawing letters before combining them into words.
The pictorial history of letters and writing (then printing) has been ignored by mainstream art history, which has devoted its attention to works of "high art," like painting. At what scale does an intentionally-made visual form become pictorially significant? The pictorial component is obvious in calligraphy and typography, even if only to a specialized audience. But there is a blindness relative to letter forms, such that, for example, few readers are aware of the shapes of the type or handwriting they are reading. This blindness is all the more surprising considering the fact that even phonetic writing was a visual achievement: the rendering of speech visible.
Given this, the traditional opposition between the verbal and the visual, between word and image, needs to be reconsidered in terms of vision coupled with blindness. Vision, because eyes read texts and see pictures. Blindness, because in both cases the medium—print or paint—is overlooked. I postulate this seeing/not-seeing paradox as a principle of vision-based works that could be summarized by the word overlooking. This ambiguous term can mean both "not seeing things" and "seeing things." Often, we end up either not noticing certain things or "seeing things" by virtue of looking too much: this is a basic risk in research of any kind. In reference to Edgar Allan Poe's famous detective tale, The Purloined Letter (1844), which provides a paradigmatic case of overlooking, I like to call it the "Purloined Principle."
Given the pictorial significance of a letter of the alphabet, a study of Rembrandt's signature—the graphic sign of his identity—will reveal that it may be considered as a historical, existential and esthetic document in its own right.
This exposition presents the artistic research project 'Zum Spielen und zum Tantzen: A Kinaesthetic Exploration of the Bach Cello Suites through Studies in Baroque Choreography’, undertaken at the Norwegian Academy of Music between 2009 and 2012. I offer a historical background, discuss the method used, and present the artistic results in the form of video and audio files.
The dance titles of J. S. Bach's cello suites, derived from French court dance, clearly meant more to the composer than just abstract references. In Bach's time, dance practice permeated social life, and an intimate knowledge of fashionable dance forms was indispensable for a musician. The movements and gestures of these dances inevitably had a profound influence on performance style.
I have investigated how the practice of Baroque dance could influence my interpretation of the Bach suites. Learning the essentials of this style and its original choreographies and frequently accompanying dancing, I also explored the dance aspect of the cello suites by way of experiments with historical tempos as well as melodic and rhythmic reductions of the musical material.
Through this project, I hope to make a worthy contribution to the development of performance practice studies, offering a recontextualisation of Bach’s work that emphasises the close links between the expressive gestures of music and dance. The results have both artistic and pedagogic potential as tools to discover essential aspects of dance character in Baroque music.
'Information for Foreigners: Chronicles from Kashmir (IFF Kashmir)' is an adaptation of Griselda Gambaro's 1992 play of the same time. Directed and written by this researcher in July 2015 in close collaboration with a theatre company in Srinagar, 'IFF Kashmir' uses techniques from site-sensitive, promenade, and immersive theatre to perform narratives surrounding the conflicts in the region. Beginning with a description of the foundations and development of 'IFF Kashmir', this exposition puts forward insights that have emerged around the notion of 'balance': from an evolution of balance vis-à-vis narratives of victimhood and perpetration to considerations of balance regarding representations of time (the past, the present, and the future).
In the research project ‚trees: Rendering Ecophysiological Processes Audible‘, we worked on the acoustic recording, analysis and representation of ecophysiological and climatic processes in and around plants and studying the acoustic and aesthetic requirements for making them perceptible. We recorded sounds of plants and brought them in relation to other measurement data such as that relating to the microclimate, sap flow, changes in trunk radius and water potential in the plants’ organs – measurement data that is not auditory per se. How can processes that are beyond our normal perception be made directly perceptible, creating new experiences and opening a new window on nature for scientists, artists and the general public? To what extent is our sense of hearing of use? The product of our research project, the installation 'trees: Pinus sylvestris' replays sonifications of ecophysiological measurement data as well as recordings of acoustic emissions of a tree from early summer 2015 – the peak of the growth period of our experimentation plant, a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) located in the central Swiss Alps in Salgesch in the canton of Valais. The installation is designed as an artistic observation system that transforms ecophysiological data into a generative piece of music. 'Trees: Pinus sylvestris' makes experienceable and audible the normally hidden processes by which a plant copes with its local conditions.
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.