RUUKKU - Studies in Artistic Research


Since its very beginning artistic research has openly or unconsciously deemed as its reason for existence the task of finding new ways of doing things; namely new ways of researching this world and new ways of understanding artistic practice. For many, artistic research could be defined as the amalgam of 'research' and 'artistic practice' reinventing and reconfiguring themselves in each other's shadow.

The body within the clothes (2019) Julia Valle-Noronha
Observing dress practices as a field of research is a recent phenomena in exponential growth in which the voice of the designer is often left aside. Aware of this gap, this study dives into the experience of dressing and wearing in search for understanding the ways in which the body materiality is involved in the designer’s creative processes. It explores this inquiry through two path-dependent projects investigated as case studies, namely Dress(v.) and Wear\Wear. The projects make use of auto-ethnographic notations about my personal routine of dressing and wearing to inform the creation of flat patterns for clothes via creative pattern cutting method. Adopting of practice-led research stream via a phenomenological approach to data, the interpretation leads to a further understanding on how the designer’s subjective body is manifest in the design processes and outcomes. The work contributes to the design community by presenting ways in which research methods can inspire design methods, investigated from a practitioner viewpoint. It concludes with suggestions for future collaborations between academic research and design practice in the context of fashion design. Note to the reader: This exposition is a reworked version of the paper "The Body within the Clothes: A case study on clothing design practice from a practitioner viewpoint" presented at the Art of Research 2017 Conference".
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The event of disorientation: artistic methods of immanent critique (2019) Scott Andrew Elliott
Through stories recounting experiences of disorientation and the process of reorientation, potentials are found for rethinking our relation to built surroundings. Engaging with art historical examples of architectural art installations that use methods repetition and replication, disorientation is approached as a catalyst for a process of ‘immanent critique’. This presents a way to critically engage with and inflect what is happening in the moment while remaining within the immediacy of that moment. This holds the potential for a participant in the event to inflect the event with one’s own implicated agency. The unfolding event is redirected, and novelty can emerge. The artworks of Mike Nelson, Gregor Schneider and Glenn Seator are discussed as sharing methods of artistic practice that catalyse immanent critique through their disorienting installations. Through a discussion of a selection of art installations, this paper proposes how employing methods of architectural repetition or doppelgängers can result in a catalytic disorientation. It is within this experience or event of disorientation that an immanent critique can take place, and where potentials for change can be taken up.
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This hyperstitional text describes the Disturbanist practice of the Anartist, that consists in subversive urban interventions on the edge of politics and counter-sorcery. Drawing on the theory of post-structuralist philosophers, it focuses particularly on artworks made with black cobblestones. This material, taken as symbolic concentrate of "black mana", evil spirits and spectral antagonist mythology is remodulated in provocative installations and interventions. The text shows also how the intensification of repetition of gestures, materials, symbols and forms can generate a singular territory-refrain based on a transpersona that - at its hyperstitional limit-unfolding - could resist, infect and counter-attack the Integrated Spectacle of Capitalism.
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Maps, space and body: connecting mental representations of space to the production of space (2019) Anna Kholina
This exposition investigates the relationship between maps, space and body. It looks at mental maps — images of the environment that we hold in our memory. It argues that a map we store in our minds is not merely a functional device for navigation, but a system of signs, values and meanings that allow us to re-imagine the space, appropriate it and develop new social practices. The study places mental images inside Lefebvre's triad of social space (Lefebvre, 1991). It suggests that mental images are a manifestation of the third component of the triad, the lived space, which includes alternative imaginations, symbolic values and appropriations of space. The exposition explores this claim via a dataset of 37 mental maps created by Masters-level students at Aalto University in Finland in November 2018. By qualitatively analysing the contents and the morphology of the hand-drawn maps, it traces how the lived space is both passively perceived and actively re-imagined. The main contribution of the exposition is bringing the imagined space to the attention of urban planning professionals. It suggests that the distorted, inconsistent and idiosyncratic mental images are more than a reduced schema of a physical environment. They support alternative re-imagining and catalyse the process of creative appropriation, enabling bottom-up urban transformation.
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Mapping Methods of the Millbank Atlas (2019) Shibboleth Shechter, Marsha Bradfield
The Millbank Atlas is part of an ongoing collaboration that manifests as live projects developed in response to local desire and needs. Staff and student researchers of Chelsea College of Arts (a constituent college of University of the Arts London) come together with residents and others of the Millbank neighbourhood in Westminster to bring the Atlas into being. As both process and outcome, the Atlas creates meaning through conceptualising Millbank as comprised of reciprocal relations among the College and surrounding businesses, residential blocks, civil society groups, transportation links and other amenities, infrastructure and further aspects of this built and natural environment. Central here is the lived experience of Millbankers - those who reside, work and study in this London locale. In what follows we revisit The Millbank Atlas to draw out a nascent aspect of our paper for VI Art of Research (AoR 2017). This begins with scoping our presentation for this conference, which was titled ‘The Millbank Atlas: Catalysing Practice-based Research in a Spirit of the Civic University’ to refresh our interest in the agency of collaborative practice-based research. We review our claim that as a community of practice < > practice of community, the Atlas catalyses through chiasmus. With this established we turn to our immediate concern: the catalytic role that mapping plays as the core practice in The Millbank Atlas. Drawing on Denis Wood’s sense of mapping as an alternative to mapmaking, we go on to propose the Atlas as an instance of counter-mapping. Aspects of the Atlas’ production, exhibition, dissemination and other impact are discussed with reference to counter-mapping as an emerging field with political purchase. Evidence of this includes the vital work of the Argentinian collective, Iconolasistas and the Counter\Mapping campaigns out of Queen Mary University in the UK. The third part of this paper returns to the three core questions of AoR 2017. These we addressed at the conference with reference to the Atlas’ catalytic potential to generate communities through collaborative, practice-based research. In what follows here we consider the questions from a fresh perspective: the agency of counter-mapping to produce new understanding that is not only communicable but also critically compelling. Drawing as both a literal act of inscription and as figurative language proves vital in this regard (e.g. mark making but also drawing metaphors, such as drawing together, drawing out). The paper concludes by insisting that the catalytic value of counter-mapping resides between the critical and creative process of making the maps and their outcomes as evidence-rich artefacts. Finally, we indicate a direction for future enquiry: probing the agency of counter-mapping as practice-based research that gains traction through the maps’ discursive production as they are read and negotiated.
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Body Weathering - poetic nebular intentions (2019) Anna Maria Orru
Weather is not an object experienced from a distance, but rather a medium in which every living being is immersed. This weather reporting views clouds as 'containers of possibility,' as an infrastructure for thinking about the body as a vibrant, experiential and living matter to reinforce a direct relation to nature - merging land and sky. Because environmental commitments are complex, I enter the challenge through exploring embodied modes of inquiry into urban-making using a corporeal relation to clouds and atmosphere, exploring their common materiality through a day's workshop culminating into a performance (modes expressed as intermissions). The artistic research is grounded in a Butoh choreography practice called Body Weather, performing fabulations with clouds supported by theoretical roots in corporeal studies, vibrant materialities, environmental imagining, atmospheres and assembled relations. I engage with the question of how to curate a corporeal poetics in urban-making with clouds in mind, and what if bodily movements created atmospheres to ecologically live by? My intent is to cultivate an artistic embodied approach to urban-making, thinking through clouds and embracing the body as a refined medium for generating a poethic -poetic, political and ethical - entangle with space.
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Using wool’s agency to design and make felted artefacts (2019) Bilge Merve Aktaş
This exposition presents an explorative project that examines employing material as a reference point for designing and making an artefact. The material’s effects on designing and making have been elaborated upon from many angles. This exposition also examines how material affects designing and making processes from the perspective of material agency. This study argues that by observing a material’s behaviour from the perspective of agency, one can genuinely understand what the material does, and accordingly can find ways to collaborate with it in the process of designing and making artefacts. The discussion is articulated through a designer’s project in felting by employing a practice-led research approach that examined the decision-making processes through written reflections and visual documentation. This examination suggests that by including material as a reference point, design and making can reflect the ecology of the material in a way that combines human power with the activeness of the material.
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Searching for Catalysts in the Practice of Drawing (2019) Tero Heikkinen
In this exposition, I discuss my recent exploratory drawing practice, with a background in design drawing. I have chosen to study and understand three-dimensional forms through drawing. Animation is looked at as a catalyst with which the forms and the task become better understood. I am looking at the alternation or tension between these ends: lines and shapes, still images and animations, while designing the shape of a hand and discussing what it is to know the shape of an object for the purposes of drawing.
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