RUUKKU - Studies in Artistic Research

Process in Artistic Research

Processes can be examined in relation to a starting point or a destination. Here we might as well begin from the call to this fourth issue of Ruukku. In the call we noted that articulating and opening up artistic processes has been considered one of the main aims of artistic research. Since the 1960s "process" has been one of the magic words of contemporary art, with works of art that transform and evolve through time.

We Can Work It Out - Calibration as Artistic Method (2015) Anna Einarsson
Based upon the work with the chamber opera Ps. Jag kommer snart hem! (Eng. Ps. I will be home soon!), this presentation aims at describing the working process towards a new musical work, as it takes place in the setting of exploratory workshops. Drawing upon observations and conversations, benefits and challenges are brought forward and discussed through the use of examples. An over-arching concept of calibration is presented; the work in focus housed calibration on at least two different levels: calibration towards the work and calibration within the work. As the article concludes, this process is of great artistic value and may also assist in facilitating for the commissioner, and possibly in extension, the presumed audience of a new musical work.
open exposition
Making Making Matter: Paper as Paradox in Practice-as-Research (2015) Katja Hilevaara, Emily Orley
In this exposition we articulate and question our own artistic working process and aesthetic, while exploring how we can make the making of work matter as much as the documents that are made afterwards. We use the remnants of the making of a performance, which began as a dialogue, to make a new performance, with images and words which we take apart and put back together. The act of talking is transcribed, then transformed then transcribed again to be reflected upon now. By exploring the materiality of the paper we read and write on, and examining how it is made, we question the hegemony of text and the pressure we are all under in the Academy to produce evermore outputs. We investigate the complex relationship between practice and research and question whether we can make and think, create and theorise, do and write about doing, without devaluing one and prioritising the other. As practitioner-researchers, we have been collaborating for the last eight years to produce a series of short performance installations called Brief Encounters (or The Breaking of Images). Drawing inspiration from makers and thinkers alike (from Francis Alÿs to Brian Massumi, from the Gutai Group to Rebecca Schneider), we have presented work around the UK, Finland and in the Netherlands. We have tended to prepare our work at length, engaging with the places in which we find ourselves, only to perform it for a few minutes before removing (or attempting to remove) all traces of it. By removing (nearly) all traces of it, we lose evidence of our process. The making that happened in the performance, it seems, matters no more. We are interested in thinking about how we might make it matter still without compromising what was made in the first place, without devaluing the act of performance. So we set out to ask here: how can we celebrate the making while thinking about how and why the making was made? How can we keep the making and thinking about making critical and creative at the same time?
open exposition
Keinuva käynti ja muutoksen tila (2015) Marika Orenius
In my text, I ponder a process of making and researching art. As in my doctoral thesis (Home base - bodily response and spatial experiences processed to works of art) I shall now go through the process as an opening to a multiple spatial and temporal thinking. In addition to some philosophical reflection, I approach the social and political meanings of space-time and corporeality. Of these subjects, I have filmed various spaces for my upcoming video installation. The working title of the process is Parousia. The video material shown in the exposition is the raw material of the work.
open exposition
Lohdutusten arkisto (An Archive of Consolation) (2017) Elina Saloranta
This exposition consists of my video piece Voices of Consolation (2014) and my essay "Lohdutusten arkisto" ("An Archive of Consolation"). The video shows interior paintings by the Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864–1916). On the soundtrack a group of people are trying to console the black-clad woman seen in the paintings. In the essay I describe the process of making the piece. The essay's structure reflects the video: the text is like an apartment with several rooms.
open exposition
Choreo-graphic Figures: Beginnings and Emergences (2015) Emma Cocker, Nikolaus Gansterer, Mariella Greil
Choreo-graphic Figures: Beginnings + Emergences Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line is an interdisciplinary research collaboration involving artist Nikolaus Gansterer, choreographer Mariella Greil, and writer-artist Emma Cocker, for investigating the nature of ‘thinking-in-action’ or ‘figures of thought’ produced as the practices of drawing, choreography and writing enter into dialogue, overlap and collide. Central is an attempt to find ways of better understanding and making tangible the process of research ‘in-and-through practice’ — the unfolding decision-making, the thinking-in-action, the dynamic movements of ‘sense-making’, the durational ‘taking place’ of something happening live — and for asserting the epistemological significance of this habitually unseen or unshared aspect of the artist’s, choreographer’s or writer’s endeavour. Our research enquiry unfolds through two interconnected aims: we are interested in the nature of ‘thinking-feeling-knowing’ operative within artistic practice, and seek to develop systems of notation (and exposition) for sharing and reflecting on this often hidden or undisclosed aspect of the creative process. Through this specific exposition — Beginnings and Emergences — our intent is to share findings from the prologue phase and year one of our three-year research project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, during which we have explored how various processes of ‘beginning’ performed within live artistic activity might create the conditions for processes of emergence to arise. The intent is to share some of the ‘figures’ developed within this research project for articulating ‘beginning’ within a collaborative artistic process (e.g. Figure of Circulation, Figure of Shared Vibrations, Figure of Clearing, Ordering and Emptying Out,  Figure of Touch and Reaching Towards the Other), alongside reflecting on and attending to the process of emergence within artistic labour itself – a process we have called ‘figuring’. Figuring – we use this term to describe those imperceptible or barely perceptible movements and transitions at the cusp of awareness within the process of “sense-making”: the moments of revelation, epiphany, synchronicity, of change in tack or direction or pace, the decision to stop, do something different, begin again. Figuring manifests within those threshold moments within the creative process that are often hard to discern but which ultimately shape and steer the direction of the evolving activity. Our research involves cultivating practices of attention (a perceptual heightening, hyper-sensitizing, sharpening of alertness) for noticing these emergent figurings within the process of creative activity, and devising systems of notation for identifying, marking and even tentatively naming these processes of emergence. In developing this exposition, our intent has been to remain faithful to the process of investigation itself. Rather than being conclusive, our exposition reflects the process of its own production; itself a diagramming of the multiple and at times competing forces and energies operative within the process of artistic collaborative practice. We propose an exposition that unfolds less as the linear explication of a process, but rather — like artistic process itself — more as an assemblage of overlapping and concurrent components, where attention shifts between the textual and the visual, between what is sayable and what is shown.
open exposition
Collaborative Processes and the Crisis of Attentiveness (2015) Hanna Kuusela
Collaborative artistic processes have become increasingly popular in the past decades. Different forms of community art, relational art, and participatory art, as well as artistic collaborations, and art collectives have occupied a central role in the art world. Does this collaborative taken on art, with its focus on the artistic process, entail a move towards openness and communality, or is it rather an obligation put on us? Is the growing interest in the artistic process a fruitful approach that enriches our understanding of art, or is it an unfortunate sign of art being subordinated to capitalism that pressures us to produce constantly new products, without critical reflection or qualitative criteria? This exposition investigates this dialectics between artistic processes and art objects by following my own research process on collaborative writing.
open exposition
Miksi minun piti kirjoittaa juuri ruusuista? Autoritaarisuus, autenttisuus ja autoetnografisuus kirjoittamisessa (2015) Johanna Pentikäinen
My essay seeks to discuss the writing process as a very ambivalent object of study, and I aim to use my own experience as a teacher, researcher, and writer in developing the methods for my study. The discourses of creative writing processes produced in classrooms and in textbooks often emphasise certain aspects of the discovering, selecting, producing and editing phases, while language appears as a medium for a set of activities. However, many professional writers have either stated or mentioned that they have a certain need to write or a set of "writing drives" that enforces and leads them to their activity. These driving aspects of motivation and interest are not easily represented in classroom or textbook discourses, due to their unique and particular nature. I have chosen three terms as a starting point for my study: 1) Authority, because all writing needs to face the questions of authority, sometimes in terms of scientific or aesthetic authority, sometimes in terms of what can or cannot be said in a certain context; 2) Authenticity, because both research and fiction writing need a sense of lived experience and/or some references to real life in order to remain vital and expressive, and 3) Autoethnography, because it too uses the experienced reality as its starting point, and manifests how transformation from silence to voicing is the real process in writing. I am studying my ideas by combining autoethnographic and explorative narrative voices, and I use my own prose text ”Why write about Roses” as an example of the construction of the voice.
open exposition
Can one wade twice into the same Seine? (2015) Assi Karttunen
In 2013, the Elysian Fields working group received a grant for two concerts based on the concept of a musician’s relationship to a specific city. The idea was to reveal the musician’s living relationship to history in the context of three European towns; Amsterdam, Paris and Helsinki. I belonged to the group planning the Paris concert, and therefore my article deals with the musicians’ working process and the phases of the practising/rehearsing in preparation for this event, which was staged in January 2015. The Elysian ensemble comprised: Varpu Haavisto, viola da gamba; Essi Iso-Oja, harp; Assi Karttunen, harpsichord, Katja Vaahtera, soprano; and Hannu Vasara, violin. During the artistic process, the chosen material is shaped, crystallized, constituted and transformed. All of these forms of working are referred to as ‘processing’, where the word is used to describe otherwise invisible stages of working through which the collected material starts to give birth to relevant sets of themes that emerge from the music and its performance practices. During a musician’s decades of processing, the encountered ’alien’ musics and cultures are appropriated and incorporated into his or her own musical identity. It is typical that in the practising/rehearsal period, the arising themes begin to grow connections to each other as well as outwards to the ’world’. These connections and relationships, their mutual dynamics and causalities, may be explored and analysed. The multidisciplinary and multistage processing and analysis of the material (finding, collecting, producing, practising/rehearsing, delivering and performing) could be called artistic research or practice-based research. For a musician, Paris is like a university of the mind from which one can never graduate.
open exposition