JAR25 represents JAR’s silver anniversary in terms of issues. With our inaugural issue 0 in 2011, it also closes JAR’s first ten years of publishing artistic research. We have the sense that during this time, media rich academic publications have become more acceptable and that the role of text can be much more openly negotiated, leading to flat media hierarchies.
Here at JAR we are somewhat obsessed with the importance of articulation. Rather than asking what art is and what knowledge is, we are concerned with the processes through which ‘art’ and ‘knowledge’ become qualified. Although it might well be true that discourse has been developing in large historical cycles, we are acutely aware that those cycles have never properly represented what has been happening on the ground – neither in terms of art history, nor criticism, nor epistemology.
Expositions of practice as research can be very precarious objects to create and handle. There are no readymade templates or tools – everything is in a process of negotiation, without ever really settling. In fact, the force field of shifting relations seems to work towards suspending any settlement, as if this highly specific non-place was the only site from which to make sense of it all.
Why have we not been talking more about ‘artistic research’ in relation to the MA (or the MFA) and, in particular, engagements with practices of research that are meaningful and rich but not sufficiently captured by standard definitions of the term? Why is ‘artistic research’ often conflated with the question of doctoral education in the artistic field disconnecting the vast majority of artists in education from the question of knowledge?
Ten years ago, when we started JAR, the journal was conceived to change how artistic research presented itself. This has meant, first of all, to show alternatives to the distinction between practice and theory that dominated the discourse at the time. While there were other, albeit few, journals and publishing channels around, there was something ‘theoretical’ about them, most importantly with regard to their form, which seemed to have allowed for only limited engagement with media, other than text.