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The University of the Arts Helsinki

Slowness and Silence in Artistic Research

The themes of this issue of RUUKKU – Studies of Artistc Research discuss the methodical, conceptual and practical connections of artistic research to slowness and silence, inertia and tranquility. What kinds of dimensions can silence or slowness open up and catalyse in artistic research? What might silence challenge, and what slowness? Depending on the perspective, slowness can either be worth pursuing or it can clearly refer to "retardation" or a lack (e.g. bureaucracy). Silence, in turn, can be a value to be sought for: we often long for the quiet of nature or wish for the traffic noise to muffle down. Silence can be an issue that makes communication difficult, or even aggressive/passive resistance, for example when an initiative receives only silence in return. Are there certain specific aspects of knowing and being that are associated with slowness and silence?

Since early 2020, a new kind of echo has fallen over our themes, one that has interrupted the rhythms of the familiar being and given a different kind of framework in haste and hurry, perhaps aroused in a new way to marvel at the meaning of the result-driven hop. As a temporarily permanent environment of teleworking, home has turned into a public space in one sweep, and the sounds of work, in turn, mingled into the private landscape.

Artistic research can be thought of as a focused area of attention towards the senses and aesthetic experiences, which stand out from the noise of social debate. Research may sweep you away at the most rapid of paces due to the pressure to get results or because of pure enthusiasm, but typically artistic research processes require time and focus to experiment with ideas and to allow practices and thoughts to mature. Methodological, conceptual and artistic insights become identified, reflected and repeatedly questioned only through gradually unfolding processes.

This issue dedicated to slowness and silence consists of altogether twelve expositions. Four of these examine the slow and enduring performative, aesthetic-experiential and/or political potential of an artistic process (Lampela, Alaluusua, Rouhiainen & Heimonen, Kaverma); two of the expositions dismantle canonized institutional artistic practices (Skoogh, Trento); two challenge to reflect on the political potential of artistic work in the framework of slow activism or silent resistance to ecological issues (Oja, Mäkiranta); two expositions focus on the issues of living and non-living agency (Gustafsson, Guttorm); and two in turn deal with materiality as a key determinant of research-oriented artistic practice (Hast & Nesami, Lauri).

eds. Maiju Loukola, Jaana Erkkilä-Hill, Eija Timonen





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