Expositions are imaginary objects. Even when they are made physically, for instance, on the computer when preparing a submission to JAR, they only work when the elements making up what is assembled come together in a particular form. On its own, each element may offer numerous points of entry and meanings, but in a specific, expositional constellation it supports an image, understanding or sense, even, that can be quite different to what each element on its own can offer.
When JAR started out, we specifically wanted to bracket the question of what artistic research was, to allow for a more experimental space for articulations of practice as research, or expositions, as we call them. By now, some might argue, we have had time enough to conclude what counts and doesn’t count as artistic research, but still we stress that such definitions are not part of JAR’s remit or purpose.
The last few months saw a striking degree of debate around ruangrupa’s Documenta 15. While the public arguments mostly focussed on issues of anti-Semitism, curatorial responsibility and Documenta’s political and historical context, the outline of a problem very familiar to us here at Journal for Artistic Research has also emerged; how can the treacherous waters between artistic freedom and collective responsibility be navigated under conditions of increased specificity and multiplicity?
On the surface, this issue of JAR may much look like the previous issues we published, but under the hood, you can witness a silent revolution. With JAR26, for the first time, we have started to embrace a shift from the fixed-position layout of expositions that the Research Catalogue has pioneered to a responsive design approach that it now also supports.
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.