The following peer review was presented to the author during the process and have influenced the final exposition. It is here presented in a slightly edited form.
I am not familiar with the call for papers, but the exposition fits well in the context of “How to do things with performance” - both in terms of what it says and also how it says/does so.
The exposition explores the act of performance as a kind of thinking and places this in relation to questions of the real, of philosophy. Drawing on Laruelle and others, it proposes to think of performance philosophy as a form of decision that cuts into the fog of the real without determining or controlling it.
The exposition does not just speak from the point of view of experience in artistic practice but it speaks as an instance of performance practice itself. As such it is thought provoking on several relevant levels.
Artists and philosophers will be interested in the piece – providing the language is clarified in parts.
The method is sound but the language is problematic in parts as the whole piece is fairly self-referential and hermetically sealed. However, the piece clearly does not aim primarily to explain but rather to enact, which is fine and interesting. But it makes it particularly important that the language is grammatically reliable. Corrections must be carried out before the text is published. There are errors of syntax, grammar and punctuation. I can only give a list of examples (see section below). Ideally the text would be proofread carefully by a native English reader with some philosophical knowledge.
I always find it a bit of a disturbance that you cannot easily gain an overview of the text – without shifting the curser around and cutting bits out. And you cannot easily print the exposition. But this is a general observation about the site – not specific to this piece alone.
Generally, in this case, the layout works (after some time spent with it) and I like the different modes of text and image embedded into each other.
Language corrections are absolutely necessary.
This is an original and intriguing piece of writing (and exposition) that grows on the reader the longer they bear with it. It does not make for an easy encounter, and might challenge some readers’ assumption about what text is or can do. It does not explain or transmit in any straight-forward way, but makes an interesting case (borne of experience and witnessing) of how to approach a thinking of performance – as an engagement with “something” on the cusp, threshold, boundary of what can be said or determined.
The following peer review was presented to the author during the process and has influenced the final exposition. It is here presented in a slightly edited form.
The exposition clearly addresses the theme of the issue (“How to do Things with Performance?”), as it asks the question what “things” performances contain, what the conditions for this existence is, and what that means for our engagement with them. This is a highly relevant question, and the exposition can potentially add insights to these questions.
However, some of the arguments in the exposition are quite implicit. For instance, it is not specified what kind of performance that we may be talking about (any stage performance, performance art, musical performance, other?), and if the ontological qualities of performance that are addressed are equally part of all kinds of performance. This may be meant as a deliberate openness, but it may make the argument stand less clearly.
A similar deliberate openness seems to be at stake in the relation between the opening of the article and the main body of the article. The opening highlights some of the arguments in the text, that, however, are not always followed all the way through. For instance, the reference/parallel made to capitalism may make sense in relation to some of the thinkers addressed, but the consequences of it are left very open in the exposition.
This openness, may also be the result of how a large investigation has been summarized in a short space, leaving some of the transitions slightly abrupt. For the exposition to “do” more in the discussion of “how to do things with performance”, it may be an advantage to specify the circumstances of the argument further.
The most interesting aspect of the exposition, is the way it argues for the ontological nature of things in performance, being “something” that exists in and of itself, or as it is stated: “The radical practice of performance thinking is not a reflection of the Real, but it is the living, in performance”. This of course, adds to an existing discussion, but it does so from an angle that seems to have contemporary relevance.
However, this argument could be strengthened in three ways (in my reading):
- By clarifying which questions that are being addressed
- By showing how these questions are anchored in practice (see further later on)
- By narrowing the scope of the argument slightly (a lot of different thinkers/ideas are traversed and the transitions are often quite short)
The contribution has the potential of adding new insights to the discussion, but a slightly more explicit line of argument would help this come through even more clearly.
Artistic practice lies at the centre of the research, but this is not made clear until late in the exposition. Though the exposition has relevance through its philosophical approach as such, I think this is a pity, as it would help clarify why these questions are important, and how the author has arrived at this way of thinking.
The theme and the outcomes of the exposition are clearly research-oriented, in the sense that they are directed at understanding the medium of performance. However, the methods of the research that has led to the exposition are not addressed, which may result in the impression that the philosophical reflection about performance has been more central than researching from within performance.
It seems as if this is simply a question of the way “weight” is distributed in the exposition, and that the insights of artistic research practice could be given more space and weight.
The exposition is of relevance in several related fields, especially in performance philosophy, performance studies, artistic research and philosophy.
The exposition is clearly based in a relation between artistic practice and research, however it leaves this relation very implicit.
The submission contains a discussion of a particular issue. However, it is addressed quite broadly, and it is unclear from which perspective the author arrives at the issue (as an art practitioner or not, and which kind of artistic practice). This could be given more space in the exposition. For instance, it makes it difficult to see how the exposition contributes to the development of the art field as well as to performance philosophy.
The research is strongly contextualised in terms of the theoretical issues, and several philosophers’ ideas are addressed. However, as these philosophers are not always directly speaking about performance, what happens when their ideas are translated to a performance context is not addressed. Furthermore, as many different thinkers’ ideas are addressed in a short time, the transitions leave a lot open to the imagination of the reader. This may be on purpose, but it leaves some aspects of the argument very open.
Also, it is my impression that the artistic methods have contributed to the author’s way of thinking about performance, but this is not highlighted in the argument. The author may have exposed this in other contexts, and in that case for instance references to those expositions could be included. In the same way, there are few references to other artists’ work.
Nevertheless, it is an insightful and thorough, dense and complex form of thinking that is presented, which contributes to the contemporary thinking around the question of what performance does and how. The things mentioned here do not seem to be lacking in terms of process but have not been prioritized in the exposition. Instead, the dialogue with different philosophical thinkers is at the centre.
The design is legible and the navigation generally supports the context. There are several text fields with complementary explanations when it comes to the philosophical vocabulary. One suggestion (based on the above reflections) could be to add similar notes concerning the artistic methods and the artistic context of the work.
The submission presents highly interesting ideas about the ontology of performance, based on a complex set of ideas. When I (in the above comments) address the lack of weight given to the artistic practice, and the possibility of an even more explicit argumentation, it is not because there is any risk that the exposition is not thorough enough. On the contrary, it is because it is my impression that the contribution would stand more clearly if these elements were given slightly more weight. Furthermore, it would make it explicit how the submission engages with the field of performance. I think that is important, because the ideas presented are highly relevant to the field. The exposition is very dense, and some of the ideas (for instance the parallel to “capitalism”) could be communicated in separate expositions, so as to give each part of the line of thinking more space, making each step of thinking more transparent to the reader.
The complexity that I see as the strength of the submission, is in a certain way also its (luxurious) weakness, but one that can be addressed with a few revisions and clarifications.
At the core of this essay, the author is hinting at a complex and interesting problem, one which she would be uniquely positioned to extend existing discussions, which is the relationship of the canon to the contemporary practice of performing archives. I would greatly appreciate seeing a much more detailed explication of this throughout, rather than introduced separately and abstracted from the practice that follows. The part on Re-imagining is clear and exciting in terms of the problem of reinforcing Nijinsky and the gendered use of power, and could be pushed further with the discussion of canons and archives could be woven in, rather than separated out up front. It would also further support the later discussion of reconstructions to more clearly situate those within the many scholars writing about alternate practical approaches to dance archives and the unknown, in order to contextualize statements such as “Whereas ‘reconstruction’ implies that dance can be recreated from its documentation, from precisely the written and the archival, I wanted to move towards re-imagining, in which the archive is like a framework upon which to build the creative practice and understanding of the past of the art form.”
The connection between history and practice is offered as productively multi-directional: both the historian pushing the practice and also the practice pushing the historian in terms of how the persistent historical problem of fragmentary evidence is negotiated through practice. However, it is also worth being careful regarding overstating the manner of working and certain comments are unnecessary, such as: “Aside from the rarity of a choreographer asking a historian to participate in their studio practice” (since this is not rare nowadays in a broad European context). It would also be useful to understand more clearly what the other two referenced texts by Järvinen & Pentti cover by contrast to this essay. The author cites Franko’s 1989 essay on reconstruction, but the recent Oxford Handbook on Dance and Reconstruction could be vital to making sure this essay is recognizing the vast landscape of such practices, and thereby also situating its own contribution (not Taylor and Schneider but the many artists working through these questions in practice).
This is some good work and interesting thinking here in terms of the ways in which questions of history can continue to be thought in conjunction with practice. I believe this would be specifically more useful as a contribution to the field if the problem of the canon is kept as central to the focus of the writing.
The section on exercises and strategies is not as strong as what has preceded it. In part, this has to do with the choice of what is explicated. For example, I am unclear how much of the thinking that is elaborated was shared with the audience or not and in what ways through the dancers’ verbalizations. But part of it also has to do with the ways in which the number of examples results in a superficial treatment of the practice. It would be better to have fewer examples that more clearly show the ways in which the practice is working through and also producing the historical thinking that precedes it. In addition, the extent of choreographic reliance on task-based improvisation in the staged production only emerges late, but should be critical – it casts a completely different light on the work that has to be foregrounded, because the work of rehearsal is then about training thinking, and so the discussion of the performance must then account for choice making in light of historical canons, etc. (If I’ve misunderstood this last point, please clarify in the text). Beginning with the exercises led by the writer and then following them through to the stage might be helpful in this regard.
The video embedding works well. I would really have appreciated an obvious NEXT link at the end of each section, rather than having to return to the navigation bar at the top. The text is also too wide to read comfortably (and does not adjust when the browser window is scaled). On the Re-imagining section, the scrolling has issues in how the parts overlay.
Seuraava vertaisarvio esitettiin tekijälle prosessin aikana ja on vaikuttanut lopulliseen ekspositioon. Se esitetään tässä hiukan editoituna.
Miten tehdä asioita esityksellä? -teema tuodaan kyllä esiin ekspositiossa, mutta kirjoituskutsun esiin nostamia teoreettisia painotuksia käsitellään puutteellisesti. Ekspositio ohittaa kokonaan kutsun (jälki)strukturalistisen kysymyksenasettelun, Austinin ja Butlerin ajatukset performatiivisuudesta samoin kuin posthumanistiseen näkökulmaan liittyvät teemat. Ekspositio kytkeytyy kuitenkin kutsun teemoihin taiteellisen tutkimuksen ja performatiivisuuden suhteiden pohdinnasta ja nostaa esiin kiinnostavia omaperäisiä kysymyksenasetteluja taiteellisen performatiivisuuden ja kulttuuristen tilanteiden sekä niihin liittyvien positioiden suhteista.
Tekijät kytkevät omaan positioonsa aktivismin, taiteellisen tutkimuksen näkökulman ja performatiivisuuden kulttuurienvälisessä vuoropuhelussa, jota heidän toteuttamansa performanssi demonstroi ja tekee näkyväksi yleisöille. Tällainen on sekä ennakkoluulotonta että harvinaista ja tarjoaa eksposition vastaanottajalle (lukija–katsoja) myös avauksia teoreettisiin pohdintoihin – joskin toisinaan ilman tekijöiden tukea tällaiseen. Tämä perusasetelma on ekspositiossa parasta ja kiinnostavinta, mutta myös kulttuuriseen kääntämiseen liittyvän epäröinnin teema on tuore ja kiinnostava kysymys, joka tarjoaa temaattista rakennetta ekspositioon.
Ekspositio on taiteellisena tutkimuksena kiinnostava, mutta rajoitetusti, koska eksposition tekstiosa keskittyy lähinnä kuvailemaan tehtyä prosessia tai eksposition videoiden sisältöä siinä määrin, että tekstin yleisilme on kuvaileva. Taiteen ja estetiikan kulttuuristen kytkeytymisten problematiikka ei nouse kriittisenä teemana esille, mikä heikentää tekijöiden paikantumista kokonaisuuteen myös taiteilijoina eikä paikanna toteutettua performanssia mitenkään erityisesti performanssitaiteen perinteisiin tai nykysuuntiin. Ekspositio ei myöskään sisällä erityisen selkeää kysymyksenasettelua eikä erityistä päätelmäosiota, johon prosessin aikana tehtyjä havaintoja olisi koottu. Tutkimuksellinen näkökulma on ekspositioon rakennettu puutteellisesti eikä se kytkeydy prosessikuvaukseen kuin paikka paikoin. Otsikon mukaan keskiössä tulisi olla (tietoteoreettinen) tulokulma toteutuneeseen performanssisarjaan kytkeytyvään kulttuuriseen tietoon sekä toisaalta kulttuuriseen kääntämiseen ja ”epäröintiin” liittyvä analyysi. Nämä näkökulmat esiintyvät kyllä tekstissä, mutta siitä puuttuvat keskeisin osin esimerkiksi laajassa käytössä olevat kielitieteelliset, diskurssianalyyttiset tai kulttuuritieteelliset menetelmät näiden teemojen tarkasteluun. Käytetty teoriakirjallisuus vaikuttaa hieman sattumanvaraiselta ja aukkoiselta. Myöskään tekijöiden kriittinen reflektointi ei tavoita näitä kysymyksiä, mikä korostaa tilannetta. Varsinaisia päätelmiä ei ole, kuten ilmeisesti ei ole selkeitä ”tuloksiakaan”, mutta tekstiosa päättyy kulttuurisen tiedon pohdintaan, mikä sitoo käsiteltyjä teemoja jossain määrin analyyttisesti yhteen ja vie näkökulmaa pois tapahtumien kuvailusta.
Tässä muodossa ekspositioon suhtauduttaneen kriittisesti, koska se vaikuttaa keskeneräiseltä siinä mielessä, että sen teoreettis-analyyttinen näkökulma on puutteellisesti esitetty.
Eksposition perusongelmatiikka esitetään alussa, ja eksposition kokonaisuus (performanssisarja ja nyt arvioitava ekspositio) on ilmeisen omaperäinen ja luova tapa lähestyä esitettyä tutkimusteemaa. Ekspositio on suhteutettu teorian sekä aiemman tutkimusperinteen konteksteihin, mutta vain paikka paikoin ja silloinkin lyhyesti pääpainon ollessa kuvailussa. Se kytkeytyy ajankohtaisiin ja keskeisiin kysymyksenasetteluihin tiedon ja kulttuurisen kääntämisen alueilla, mutta analyysi jää niukaksi eivätkä käytetyt metodit välttämättä tarjoa riittävää perustaa tai keinoja nostaa tarkasteltavaksi haluttuja tutkimusteemoja kovinkaan syvällisesti. Metodinen syventäminen tarjoaisi kuitenkin mahdollisuuksia nykyistä luotettavampien ja systemaattisempien havaintojen ja päätelmien tekemiseksi performanssiin liittyvästä nykyisestä aineistosta, kulttuurisen tiedon luonteesta ja kulttuurisen kääntämisen ongelmatiikasta. Tällainen kohentaminen parantaisi eksposition kiinnostavuutta ja vaikuttavuutta merkittävästi.
Eksposition esitystapa on selkeä ja luettavuus on hyvä. Tekstiosaa luonnehtii kuvaileva ote. Se etenee johdonmukaisesti. Kuva-aineisto (valokuvat, videot) tukevat tekstiä ja niitä käsitellään tekstissä omissa asiayhteyksissään. Viitteet ja lähteet on merkitty riittävällä tarkkuudella systemaattista merkintätapaa noudattaen. Kielellinen esitys on suhteellisen viimeisteltyä, mutta joissakin kohdissa sanat olivat jääneet kiinni toisiinsa, eli oikolukua kaivataan.
Teksti ei erityisesti tuo esiin sitä, mitä ja miten tekijät ovat sopineet esimerkiksi videoiden julkaisemisesta, vaikka niissä esiintyvät henkilöt ovat varmasti olleet videoinnista tietoisia. Tutkimuseettisesti ja juridisesti tämä teema on myös monimutkainen, sillä useamman kuin yhden valtion lainsäädäntö saattaa vaikuttaa ekspositionaineiston julkaisemiseen.
Vahvuuksia ovat omaperäinen tärkeiden ja ajankohtaisten tutkimusteemojen käsittely performanssin, taiteellisen tutkimuksen ja aktivismin keinoin. Myös performanssin kulttuuristen kytkösten ja wixárikojen kulttuurisen taustan tuntemus on monipuolista perustuen pitkään, selkeästi luottamukselliseenkin suhteeseen performanssiin osallistuneiden toimijoiden kesken. Eksposition kokonaisuuteen nämä vahvuudet yltävät kuitenkin puutteellisesti siinä mielessä, että tekstin kuvaileva perusmoodi vie tilan esitettyjen tilanteiden nykyistä systemaattisemmalta tarkastelulta ja videoiden metodiselta analyysiltä. Ekspositiolle olisi eduksi, jos kuvailevuutta karsitaan ja esitystapaa muutetaan niin, että alussa esitetty ongelmatiikka perustellaan tutkimuskirjallisuuden tuella nykyistä monipuolisemmin, esitettyjen kohtausten analyysissä keskitytään erittelemään kulttuurisen tiedon, kääntämisen ja epäröinnin kysymyksiä metodisesti (johonkin menetelmään perustuen) ja loppuun laaditaan selkeä päätelmäosio. Teoreettisen kirjallisuuden lisääminen on erityisen tarpeellista eksposition ehkäpä kiinnostavimman teeman eli kääntämiseen liittyvän epäröinnin tutkimisen kannalta. Nykyisessä tekstissä tätä näkökulmaa ei varsinaisesti ole kehystetty teoreettisesti ollenkaan ja käsittely perustuu lähinnä epäröinnin arkikieliseen jäsennykseen. Esimerkiksi etnometodologia ja diskurssianalyysi tarjoaisivat tässä lisätukea.
If you are asking me to give a general assessment of the “exposition”, I can summarize its argument. The authors have worked in collaboration with Wixárika (Indigenous Mexican) teachers and pupils, they have planned and carried out artistic performances in which video footage on pedagogical situations is screened and the teachers explain and practically demonstrate to the audience what happens in the footage. The Wixárika perform their interpretations. In this sense the authors are not just presenting a set of videos but a set of performances interpreting videos, which recursively, have been filmed. The central question that this set of works is addressing is translation in the wider sense, as a performative act.
Please evaluate how this exposition will be received or what its significance is in other disciplines:
I do not think it is possible to evaluate how it will be received, one can only evaluate retrospectively. I guess it can be well received in Anthropology, because it is making an interesting contribution to debates about visual ethnography.
How does the exposition illuminate the relationship between artistic practice and research?
It contains a description of the question (translation as performance), its research methods are innovative, it is contextualized in social and theoretical grounds, it provides new knowledge and the methods use are adequate and sound.
Does the exposition design and navigation support the (artistic) proposition?
I think that the online format is difficult for the peer reviewer because it is very difficult to mark comments on the text. I guess this is a fault of the platform rather than the authors. I think that in terms of the argument, it could be slightly reformulated. The texts move back and forth between different questions. It would be better if it had a more conventional structure. First introducing the project, then the theoretical question. Then explaining the context and the relation of the artists with this context. Then explaining step by step the project, and then writing the general conclusions.
Does the exposition need additional language checking or technical support?
Yes, there are some mistakes in English and Spanish, at least.
Not that I am aware of.
Overall, I think this is an extremely interesting project. The central idea, performing translation through the recursive projection of videos, I think is brilliant. As I pointed out there are some problems with the organization of the argument and some spelling mistakes, but otherwise this is an excellent piece. On the other hand, I think that the theoretical framework is not always working in favor of the argument of the piece. Decolonial theory, with its rather static and ideological distinctions between the West and the Rest, its insistence on restitution and the reification of the indigenous, may not be not very helpful for a project that is actually pointing to the creative potential of translation as a performative drift, a form of cultural production rather than a “problem” of political legitimacy and etiquette. These contradictions are apparent when at some point, some voice in the audience points to the symmetry between the Wixárika and the Sammi in their connection to nature. There is nothing more orientalizing and objectifying of indigenous peoples than saying that they are connected to nature. By trying to take part with the “indigenous” sometimes this pretended “decolonial” discourse does nothing but to recolonize the imaginary of the indigenous subjects. More informed theories of translation, following perhaps not decolonial, but postcolonial theories, following Derrida, following Peirce, could perhaps give a better account of the drift of translation as a recursive poetic mechanism.
This is a solid piece of field research in a foreign and – to the researcher – exotic dance and music culture. The extensive fieldwork is presented by video clips from the research material, filmed on-site and edited by the researcher herself. The potential of the ethnographic method of participant observation in dance studies is realized in the study and presented in a clear manner in the exposition.
As the author says, the method of participant observation as a way of knowledge production in dance studies comes close to artistic research, still the aim of this piece of research is not artistic, but academic. There’s no artistic practice in this research, in my opinion.
Assessment on significance in other disciplines
Folklore studies: It is not without significance to describe and demonstrate the existence of a living tradition in the field. The theory of folklore studies does not gain much of this exposition, though. The Sabar is not described in what distinguishes it from all other living traditions of the world, but rather in what defines it as a living tradition among all the others. The theoretical grounding of interpretations is thin and rests on few of the most read and cited classics (Bauman, Schechner, Goffman, Butler). The analysis and interpretation are sound as such, but somewhat unsurprising.
Ethnochoreology: The way in which participation in the studied dance culture is used as method of inquiry and the self-reflexivity in doing so are unusual, even to ethnographic dance cultural studies. The methods used are highly adequate and sound and they could have taken a larger part in the exposition. Just to exemplify, we can see Wolof women dancing on the video clips, and we are given the information that the researcher stands behind the camera, but she does not figure in the pictures, the way she figures dancing in the field in the text.
Ethical and legal concerns
Publishing the videos without explicit consent of the persons figuring on them cannot be done. I suppose the researcher must have this consent as part of the consent of them being filmed at the dance events. Performers’ right must be observed.
The exposition presents a solid piece of academic ethnographic dance cultural research. The ethnographic method is used to its full potential, even in an innovative way. The great strength of the exposition is to describe, based on extensive fieldwork on-site, a living and vigorous dance and music tradition. The main weakness is thinness of theoretical grounding and lack of theoretical discussion, which leads to a certain predictability of interpretations. The exposition is clearly designed, well written and the videos are of good quality and smoothly edited, all in all the exposition is highly legible.
The questions this exposition explores and the approach it seeks to provide have a clear relation to the theme of the special issue, “How to do things with performance?”. The topic into which the author inquires is precisely what kind of an action – or intra-action – the vocal performance of music, particularly 17th-century vocal music, is. Put differently, the exposition makes an attempt to investigate how the “doing” of vocal performing is entangled with the surrounding, unfolding world in its different dimensions, and what it, in turn, does to or as part of the moment, materials and multi-layered contexts of the performance. Thus, the exposition is well linked to the concerns of the special issue.
The main strength of this exposition is the abundance of fascinating and promising ideas it provides. These include the exposition’s titular concept of “orna/menting” and the other idea figuring prominently in the exposition, namely voice as nothingness, but also notions of touch, otherness within oneself, acting-intuition, the orna/menting performative practice as ir/rational, diffraction and the ways in which this concept can inform artistic or practice-led research and its methodologies, and more.
It seems clear to me that the new concept of orna/menting coined by the author has significant potential to advance understanding of the mutually constitutive relationship of the performer and the materials, situations, ‘worldings’ with which she/he works in her/his practice. The concept is evocative, and it already manages to grasp something of the iterative, varying, open-ended, surprising, and relationally developing nature of the vocal performance of particular musical materials, signs and traditions – perhaps especially with regard to older historical music that carry more ‘strangeness’ or ‘otherness’ for the contemporary performer than maybe some other materials.
However, in its present form the exposition does not achieve its full potential, as the rich and promising ideas it evokes do not cohere into a whole in which the different elements would clearly relate to and illumine one another. At the moment, the elements remain somewhat disconnected and also somewhat too initial and vague, at least for this reader. In the later sections of the review, I will make some suggestions as to how the author could aim for a stronger linking of the exposition’s concepts and ideas.
The exposition is very clearly related to experiences and reflections elicited by artistic performative practice. The author is undoubtedly passionate about the acting-intuitive processes and questions stemming from this practice, which are explored in the exposition.
The key underlying questions of the exposition – what does it mean to touch and be touched by a particular artistic material, to become-with it, and how can these processes be engaged with conceptually and methodologically – are without a doubt relevant research questions, as they touch upon concerns that are central to the whole field of artistic research. However, because of the only partially developed nature of the exposition’s propositions, the methodological possibilities and conclusions it seeks to offer remain uncompleted and somewhat opaque. I will elaborate on this assessment below, and propose how the author might address the issue.
The research problems explored in the exposition are articulated clearly, and the exposition includes references to many theorists (Barad, Nishida, Krummel, philosophers who have reflected on touch) who appear to be important interlocutors of the approach the author seeks to flesh out. As I stated above, the concept of orna/menting proposed in the exposition is fascinating and can potentially lead to a valuable new understanding of how an artistic performance/act comes to be, or at least to an interesting elaboration on existing accounts of such processes of emergence.
Yet what is currently missing from the exposition almost entirely, or at least for the most part, are links to previous research on the performance of so-called early (vocal) music as well as a more detailed documentation of the actual artistic processes of working with specific materials, which inspired the author toward the conceptual reflections offered in the exposition. These connections and frameworks are among the aspects that would need to be developed further in order for this exposition to become a more fully-fledged piece of artistic research.
This exposition constitutes an engaging and pleasing textual and multisensory whole which is mostly easily readable. There were a couple of boxes that didn’t seem to work properly in that I could not scroll their content, and a few places where parts of the text almost overlapped, which made the reading experience a little bit tricky. The author could check the design again in order to identify these minor issues.
Another and somewhat more significant issue, which I will discuss in more detail below, is that the exposition currently includes many links to lengthy theoretical texts or videos with theoretical content, which the author does not really elaborate on in their own words as part of their exploration.
The exposition is mostly written in good and clear English, but there are occasional typos and (possibly just accidental) grammatical errors. Thus, the exposition would benefit from light copy editing or at least from proof reading.
This exposition offers a range of interesting and highly promising ideas, and the author has clearly engaged broadly and deeply with theories that lend support to the approach they are in the process of developing.
However, at the moment the exposition still comes across more as a rich ensemble of notes – however engaging and thoughtfully drafted those notes may be – than as a fully developed contribution to artistic practice-related methodological and theoretical debates. It is not yet clear from the exposition how exactly its different conceptual elements or lines of exploration interrelate. For example, what is the relationship between the concept of orna/menting and the idea of voice as nothingness, the latter of which is central to the kind of musical material the author has been working with? How does the idea and praxis of orna/menting relate to 17th-century vocal music: does it have a specific relation to this type of repertoire and the kinds of questions, challenges or possibilities it offers for the practitioner, or what is the concept’s scope of applicability? Further, how do the ideas and/or practices of acting-intuition, translation and diffraction contribute to the mix? The exposition surely includes glimpses into how these different elements do, or might, inform each other and work together, but the author could make this significantly clearer by explaining the connections explicitly. There is nothing wrong with a ‘work in progress’ or with the evocative poetic language the author deploys, but at present the main points the author wishes to make simply remain somewhat too opaque.
As I mentioned above, the exposition would also benefit from a more careful contextualisation in relation to studies of vocal/musical performance (concerning especially early music, where possible), and to the author’s own artistic practice.
Another key thing that would also increase the clarity of the argument and make the whole exposition more convincing, would be a more careful unpacking of the many quotes and links in the author’s own words; that is, their more fully elaborated weaving into the author’s own, original, approach.
The following peer review was presented to the author during the process and has influenced the final exposition. It is here presented in a slightly edited form.
A Dialogue for Two Unnamed Voices
- Is it relevant? Does it respond to the questions it is expected to respond to?
- I think very much so.
- And what are these questions?
- The relationship of the mathematical concept of algorithm and live performance, in this case live musical performance. In other words, the relationship of mathematical and musical processing.
- So how computer programs perform music?
- No, that’s exactly what it’s not about. And this is what I find best about the exposition. It is concerned with how musical performance is carried out algorithmically by humans, not by computers. Certainly, it also makes reference to machine computation, but this is in the periphery. The focus is on musical performance as an organizational, temporal process that can be approached and described in terms of algorithmic decision-making and that requires a very specific type of skill or expertise, if you will.
- In these times, it is unusual to speak of algorithms without referring to computers. I’m thinking here of Annie Dorsen’s “algorithmic theater” or the many manifestations algorithmic processing has found in electronic literature, for instance in the Reader’s Project by John Cayley and Daniel Howe.
- Exactly, this is why this particular exposition strikes me as very refreshing. Its point of departure is unusual, I agree.
- There are four parts to the exposition, entitled “Read Me First”, “Affordance”, “Combinatoriality”, and “Sequence”. Is there a part you find particularly important in terms of the claims or proposals the exposition is advancing?
- The latter part of “Sequence” strikes me as going to the very heart of the matter. Here the author explicates their understanding of how algorithmic thinking relates to and describes not only the composition of but the very performance of contemporary classical music. They refer to the flexibility and mutability of algorithms, which continue to often be perceived of as mechanical and rigid.
- This pertains to computer algorithms too, as they are not the impenetrable “black boxes” they are often claimed to be, at least not non-commercial algorithms.
- Exactly, this is something of a paranoid understanding of algorithms. To counter such understandings, the author, in the latter part of “Sequence”, points to how the preconceived design for any performance meets the real-time cognitive work inherent to performance in a delicate balancing act that they also refer to as “juggling as you go.”
- You’re going to have to flesh this out for me a bit. I don’t quite follow.
- Well, what I think the author contributes to artistic research is a newly articulated understanding of live performance as a series of acts that must be carried out rigorously and with precision and, importantly, combined with a sensitivity or attentiveness to musical structure. Only through this combination can the performer make use of the potential of the composition to move the listener.
- What do you mean by “moving the listener”?
- Allowing them to witness or even experience the cognitive process of the performer, or “enacting decisions [as a] real-time process,” as the author describes it.
- Now, is this germane only to musical performance?
- Absolutely not, and this is where the wider relevance of the exposition comes in to play. As I see it, this resonates with many other forms of live performance. I am thinking of, for example, how a performer executes a score. There is a similar process at play there, although audience members are rarely familiar with performance scores, even more rarely than with music compositions.
- From what you describe and from what I myself discern, it would seem that the relationship of practice and research is very close in this exposition, to the point of being seamless?
- Yes, one might assume that there has been a practice that has led to a certain research interest in algorithms or algorithmic thinking, but as this way of thinking and working seems to have been characteristic of the practice to begin with, the line between the practice and research is “a line drawn in water,” as the saying in Finnish goes.
- Rather than belonging solely to the domains of industry and machine computation, algorithmic thinking is then an absolute necessity for performers of contemporary classical music. Becoming more aware and articulate of this is perhaps what the exposition ultimately proposes.
- Yes, and in itself the exposition is clear and rigorous in the ways it presents its claims and observations, as if to exemplify the very thing it is exploring. The exposition itself may be understood as a design for performance, but as the author stresses, the real art is in its enactment.
The exposition fits the theme of the issue, as it focuses on music performance underlying, through the focus on algorithmic thinking, the procedural nature of performance, rather than its status of ‘being’ as a finished product (as stated by the author in the first paragraph of ‘read me first’.)
It must be noted though that the way in which the author describes music performance seems both vague and reductive. First of all, in writing about the completeness of music performance it would be important to take into account (at least in a footnote) modes of performance that challenge this view, or even take it as the object of performance itself (e.g. experimental music, Fluxus, free jazz, etc.). Secondly, throughout the exposition a vision of music performance emerges which resembles merely the explication of compositional processes, and which is therefore partial and limiting (or could become interesting, but provided that the author states her self-awareness of this point of view, or that sufficient argumentation is given).
This exposition might be interesting as a pedagogical introduction to algorithmic thinking, as it contains several and disparate entertaining examples demonstrating the ubiquity of algorithmic thinking in human activities. At an academic level though, these examples would need to be elaborated, and especially the link to music performance be investigated more thoroughly and profoundly. This exposition might seem more a draft for a more elaborated paper, a starting collection of ideas.
It is clear that the argument is made from the perspective of someone who is acquainted with compositional processes and music performance. The relevance of artistic practice is shown mostly in the section “Combinatoriality”, where the author reports a survey done among members of a contemporary music group. Nevertheless, the connection with the theoretical horizon (in itself a bit scanty and underdeveloped) seems to deserve more engagement, and a deeper and more specific account of practice as knowledge production.
For example: the survey hints to an interesting process, where different instrumentalists process actions in a different order according to the specificity of the instrumental interfaces, and of the physicality and spatiality of these interfaces. The same score is mapped by these different specificities in different ways, and interpolated with “each player’s ‘mindfulness’ about detail that renders her/his approach individual.” Nevertheless, a conclusion seems missing about what the author describes as the “quality of the outcome.” How is it affected? What defines such quality? The exposition would benefit a lot from an attempt to address these questions.
On the other hand, questions are asked about music performance that seem not to pertain specifically to algorithmic thinking. When the author asks “Do you just listen to what you are doing? How much do you concentrate on listening to the present music-making, and how much do you follow the pre-conceived design for the performance that you’ve created in your practice? What proportion of concentration power do you allocate along the timeline of the performance, meaning between what has happened before now, what is happening now, and what is about to happen? - she makes not clear to what an extent answers to these questions might connect to algorithmic thinking.
The theoretical horizon (the nature of algorithmic thinking) is faced in too simplistic a way for other disciplines to benefit from the exposition.
Does the submission contain a description or exposition of the question, issue or problem the research is exploring? If not, does this omission matter?
Yes, the question and issue are clearly stated, but their treatment seems not exhaustive. As the author rightly points out, a certain amount of algorithmic thinking seems to underlie every single human activity. In this sense though, she makes not clear what is the specificity of music performance; at the same time the way she describes algorithmic thinking is limited to a list of examples, without deeper discussion of its implications.
The exposition suggests that observing every human action in terms of algorithms is revealing, but, once this is explained, it provides a theoretical framework that remains too vague. I would appreciate a reflection on where the distinction between algorithmic and non-algorithmic processes lies. Too many questions remain suspended. Among them, I can suggest: is algorithmic thinking confined to instructions and decision-making processes? Cannot we define basic human processes, such as language itself, as algorithms? And if so, what is the impact of algorithm thinking also in unconscious or automatic processes? How do algorithms shape the way of perceiving the world? Do emotions, for example, challenge the ubiquity of algorithmic thinking? Or not? What about perceptions? Etc.
Does the submission show evidence of innovation in content, form or technique in relation to a genre of practice?
No, the submission does not propose any innovation in content, form or technique in relation to a practice. It limits itself to the observation of a pre-existing established practice.
Is the research issue contextualized in terms of social, artistic and/or theoretical issues? Is it linked to discussion on the positions taken by other artists to whom this work contributes a particular perspective? Is the process that led to this submission well documented? If not, do such omissions matter?
References are brought in relation to theoretical issues, some en passant, some more substantially documented (e.g. Gibson, Loycker, MacKenzie). No voices from other artists are brought to the table (save for the results of the survey conducted among colleagues).
Does the submission provide new knowledge, interpretation, insights or experiences in, on, or for art or art pedagogy? What might these comprise?
This exposition provides some insights on the processual nature of performance, shifting the discourse from performance as finished object to performance as process of decision-making.
Are the methods used adequate and sound? Is the research, analysis and/or experiment thorough?
The examples provided have the merit of being easy and entertaining, but seem too simplistic for an academic level. The exposition does not address the topic of methodology – which is not a problem, but also does not provide much consistency or direction.
The exposition is legible, easy to approach and understand. The integration of media is simple but functional and engaging. In the introduction, with the hint to an instruction leaflet (“Read me first”) the author suggests an interesting format for developing the exposition as an algorithmic series of instructions itself. Possible suggestion: why not follow this initial idea throughout the exposition in a form that replicates the algorithmic thinking exposed in it? It would make things more intriguing.
This exposition faces a topic of potential interest, namely the discussion of algorithmic thinking in processes of music performance. The treatment of this topic, though, suffers from a lack of specificity and profundity. On the one hand, the general theoretic framework is treated in terms that are too simple, and that leave too large an amount of basic questions unanswered; on the other hand, the specific focus of the paper – music performance – is treated only in vague terms, without the deeper engagement that is expected from a practitioner and an artist. A large amount of presuppositions undermines the soundness of the paper, specifically about the relationship between composition and performance, performance and listening, performance and electronic music, interpretation and improvisation, various notational systems (e.g. tablature vs rhythmic-diastematic). There are some practical and theoretical implications of thinking about music performance in terms of algorithmic processes that seem promising, but that are unfortunately left unexplored.
– Given the claim in the exposition (with which I tend to agree) that algorithmic thinking is a forcefully ubiquitous process at the basis of human acting, it would be fruitful to reflect on what part(s) of the musical experience (or more general human experience) challenge algorithmic thinking, or are left uncovered by it.
– The submission would benefit from deeper investigation on the implications of algorithmic thinking from the maker’s perspective. What are the subtler consequences of explaining music performance through algorithms? What does it actually change? Are there practical examples where this mode of thinking can make a difference, or have an impact?
– The distinction announced in the abstract between algorithmic composition and algorithmic performance seems a very promising ground. What could be the implications of thinking algorithmically in performance independently of compositional algorithmic processes? What is the specificity of performance in contrast to composition that thinks algorithms in its own modalities and media?
In this one reader’s idiosyncratic experience, the most interesting aspect of this slightly overwhelming exposition is the poetic interweaving of fiction’s ‘strategies’ and ‘tactics,’ in Parts II and III: the de Certeau’ian framing might be something of an oversimplification, but the author him/herself does speak of “strategies of fiction that are frequently adopted as power systems” (Part II) and “tactics of performance that reveal or test fictional strategies” (Part III). At the same time, Part II frames fiction as ‘structures,’ ‘objects,’ and ‘imagined worlds’ as well, and those outlined in the “fanfiction” screenplay already anticipate the Part III ‘tactics’ (my favorite being the “infinite bundle of sticks”). This does seem to create some ambivalence, between strategies and tactics, and even redundancy, between overlapping parts in the screenplay and Part III: Could some of the former clarify the latter still further? Should Calvino’s influence be stated more overtly, i.e. is it just Polo/Khan/“Cities” or more? Should Larry Bogad be mentioned when it comes to ‘tactical performance’?
But I do not say any of the above as a bad thing. Personally, the Trump/Polo-Kim/Khan ‘transposition’ both irritates me with its certain formality and added length, and still, it also keeps fascinating me as a jarring ‘residue.’ Altogether, the poetic style of Parts II and III, with all the logical inconsistencies it may engender, provides for just the sort of ‘interweaving’ that I presume the RC format is intended to provide: not only an ‘exposition’ of ongoing artistic research, the intertwining affords avenues for further research, thought, action, performance – at least for those readers who resonate with its terms and sensibilities.
This said, the overall ‘terms’ of the piece do appear somewhat overwhelming: there’s stuff here for a whole thesis, and in this limited format, quite necessarily, many of the terms and concepts are left either vague or undefined. Given my confessed sympathy with Part II and III, in other words, I would suggest that the author shuffle the ingredients of Part I once more, perhaps cutting some, perhaps making some of it more explicit. A wide array of theories and theorists are evoked, and they do give important clues to the reader (given that the alleged readership is likely to know at least most of them), but then again, in such number the references can only scratch so many surfaces.
Many of the concepts in Part I suggest contrasts that could also be elaborated on: fiction/truth, event/performance, truth/reality, performativity/fiction? Is there a contrast of fiction being still a matter of ‘signs,’ and performance, of ‘actions,’ and how about when we turn from what the work “represents to what it does”? If the focus is on “affecting reality,” should the notion of performativity be more focal – given also the Austin/Derrida debate on ‘fictional utterances’? If the focus is just ‘fiction,’ it could be more defined even in this intertwining of ‘possible worlds’: early on, it is “the bedrock of theatrical performance and literature,” but I’m not sure if that is something one can just claim as a given? The very notion of ‘power systems’ might deserve some clarification as well.
In short, I don’t feel the grander words of Part I intertwine quite as productively as the more poetic ones do later – though both do leave much to the reader. I may well be reading the whole thing wrong, but against the very titling of the Parts as they stand, I would suggest shifting the whole strategy/tactic framework over to Parts II and III, and clarifying Part I by some shortening and restructuring: what would happen if the sections came in a different order? Are all of them equally necessary (personally I could do without ‘truth’ and ‘event’ but that’s my bad) or would some of them suffice to outline the general kinds of ‘structure’ that are then more poetically elaborated in Parts II and III?
Kirjoittaja tarttuu rohkeasti vaikeaan ja tunteita herättävään aiheeseen: Lapin ympäristökonflikteihin. Ympäristökonfliktien lähestyminen taideperustaisen toimintatutkimuksen keinoin on lupaava lähtökohta. Tapaukset ovat edustavia ja valaisevat havainnollisesti Lapin ympäristökonfliktien moninaisuutta. Kirjoittaja tuntee hyvin konfliktien taustaa ja kontekstia sekä paikallisesti että laajemmalti. Hän selvittää erinomaisen selkeästi ja tiiviisti, miten erilaiset poliittiset ja ympäristölliset diskurssit valituissa tapausesimerkeissä liittyvät toisiinsa. Eksposition rakenne toimii hyvin ja sen eri kontekstit – paikallinen ympäristökonteksti, tutkimuskonteksti ja taidealan tuoma konteksti – erottuvat selkeästi toisistaan.
Ekspositio on tiiviisti sidottu toimintatutkimuksen kontekstiin. Toimintatutkimusta on toistaiseksi melko harvoin käsitelty taiteellisessa tutkimuksessa. Ekspositio väittää ja perustelee tapausesimerkein, että taidetta voi käyttää toimintatutkimuksen aineistona ja tutkimustulosten julkistamisen keinona. Tekijän taidehankkeiden päätavoite on alisteinen toimintatutkimuksen toiminnalliselle tavoitteelle: ympäristökonfliktien selvittelylle.
Eksposition tutkimukselliset lähtökohdat tulevat hyvin selville, samoin yhteiskunnalliset tavoitteet, mutta sen sijaan jää epäselväksi, miten tutkimus liittyy nykytaiteeseen ja mikä ylipäänsä on kirjoittajan taidekäsitys. Teksti sisältää lukuisia nykytaiteeseen ja taiteen tutkimukseen liittyviä yhdyssanoja, joita ei määritellä tai jotka määritellään suppeasti: biotaide, keskustelutaide, dialoginen taide, taiteellinen produktio, käsite- ja installaatiotaide, art&sci-produktiot, soveltava kuvataide, taideperustainen tutkimus, taiteellinen tutkimus. Lukijalle ei tule selväksi, miten kirjoittaja ymmärtää näiden käsitteiden keskinäisen suhteen, esimerkiksi biotaiteen suhteen art&sci-produktioihin, soveltavan kuvataiteen suhteen nykytaiteeseen ja taideperustaisen tutkimuksen suhteen taiteelliseen tutkimukseen. Keskeisin käsite, taideperustainen toimintatutkimus, tulee kuitenkin määritellyksi: sen avulla kehitetään “taiteeseen perustuvia menetelmiä ja työtapoja”, löydetään ”ratkaisuja ongelmiin” ja ”malleja tulevaisuusvisioihin”.
Taidehankkeen toteutustavaksi on valittu installaatio. Tekijä selvittää havainnollisesti installaatioilleen asettamansa tavoitteet: särkyvyyden ja arvokkuuden kuvaamisen, aktivismin ja poronhoidosta tiedottamisen. Tutkimustuloksina esitellyt installaatiot on valmiiksi ajateltu katsojan puolesta. Jäin kaipaamaan nykytaiteelle ominaista monitulkintaisuutta ja löytämisen iloa. Esimerkiksi perhosta kuvaava installaatio on rakennettu arvokkaista, kauniista ja särkyvistä materiaaleista, mutta perhosen taiteellisena esityksenä se on kuitenkin sangen kaavamainen ja raskas. Sen sijaan Marjamatkat-näyttely ja erityisesti sen yhteydessä järjestetty kokkaustapahtuma toimii erinomaisesti taiteen ja aktivismin välitilassa ja avaa kiinnostavalla tavalla keskustelua marjamaiden käytöstä. Marjankerääjiltä koottu haastatteluaineisto on jaoteltu ja tyypitelty ja kukin marjankerääjätyyppi on saanut oman esineitä ja valokuvia yhdistävän installaationsa. Näin syntynyt informatiivinen installaatio, joka muistuttaa etnografisen museon esillepanoa, on samalla myös hauska ja sopii erinomaisesti esittämiskontekstiinsa: tiedekeskukseen.
The exposition connects in an appropriate manner to the theme of change, addressing the topics of changing roles and their dynamics in a participatory online art project.
The most interesting sections of the exposition are case study passages where the author describes the ”frictions” and ”ruptures” that occurred in the process. These sections touch and highlight some of the essential questions and concerns in collaborative and participatory art making.
The role of the artworks in the research project is clearly articulated, as is the chosen
methodological approach. The later case studies could become more substantiated through a deeper reflexion and analysis on the chosen method and the different role functions described in it.
Collaborative art making, with the ethical, practical and political repercussions it causes, is extremely topical. Being in the position of artist/curator/community member, the author has a fascinating firsthand point of view to the events she is describing. The way she positions herself in the different roles of the brought self, situational self and research-based self, makes sense and offers and interesting point of departure.
Nevertheless, it would have been interesting to read about the centrally described case studies in more elaborated, deeper dialogue with theory. This way answers to the research question would also have become more substantiated.
In the core section of the exposition the author brings up the 1) aesthetic frictions between the author and the community member (mentioned in 3.1.1) and 2) major conflicts within the artistic group (described in 3.2), which both offer themselves as the main findings of the research. The reflection of these accounts, which in itself makes great and fascinating reading, largely stays on a reflexive level of depicting events. How do these accounts reinforce existing theory, and/or how do the findings contradict or question existing theory? How are they forming new theory?
For example, it would have been interesting to read a summarizing analysis on how the frictions and conflicts observed relate to the concept of ”multiplier” (in 3.3.), not only in the case of community members who changed their status, but also in relation to the artists who felt unease and discomfort when they felt unable to be as participatory as the artwork would have demanded (3.2.) - why was the role function of ”multiplier” a threat to them?
In addition, some of the exposition comes across like it is in the form of process writing, as notes of things to remember. This results in a feeling that the text is too long and lacking structural coherence.
The theme is very topical and the case studies are interesting and strong personal accounts and that offer valuable insight into the process.
The exposition appears to call for an ”umbrella layer” of analysis that brings all the accounts, case studies and personal, reflexive accounts together. It appears as if the chosen theoretical references are referred to as a means to justify the artwork and choices made in it, rather than as tools for dialogue, where the observations made would be juxtaposed with the theory to formulate new theory that resonates with the findings, making results grow out of analytically orchestrated conflicts.
The research exposition “Nietzsche 5 The Fragmentary” addresses an interesting topic: the relations between musical composition and philosophical thinking in Nietzsche's life and work. The exposition's mode of approach is challenging: it presents a dynamic mixture of musical performances and theoretical reflections. Methodically, it attempts to draw from Nietzsche's notion of the fragmentary: it does not organize its elements around a clearly defined interpretive centre but rather offers them in an open form so as to allow the possibility of various readings. Linking the idea of the fragmentary to the concept of the untimely, the exposition sets as its goal to open productive perspectives on artistic research, especially concerning relevant epistemological and methodical models.
The visual structure of the exposition makes navigation somewhat difficult: in order to move, one must simultaneously be attentive to both top-to-bottom and left-to-right directions. This seems to be the authors' deliberate choice, but its makes it laborious for the user both to find one's way to new elements as well as to find one's way back to already watched ones.
The musical recordings situated on the left side of the page are reached easily, as well as their commentary. Listening experience is as good as it can be on a PC, but watching video recordings of talking heads is less enjoyable. The biggest problem in navigation concerns the reading of theoretical texts, which are difficult to access in any reasonable or even creative order. Again, this seems to the authors' choice and part of the rule of the game. However, since the texts passages do not have the literary quality of fragments, but rather present small pieces of more or less academic discourse, the overall impression is scattered.
The immediate experience of the theoretical part of the exposition resembles more an encounter with a research plan than with an accomplished research. Although the exposition is presented as part of a work in progress, linked to previous and still forthcoming events, it gives the impression that especially the theoretical part of the research work is in some respects unfinished, and that the attempted goals have not been reached.
The research exposition seems at first sight interesting and promising, as it addresses a topic often neglected in academic research in an experimental way, utilizing the potentials of rich media publication, and as it sets itself challenging goals with respect to urgent questions of artistic research. However, a closer look gives rise to various critical questions and comments, especially as the epistemological and methodical models to be gained from the approach remain in many respects unclear.
Methodically, the approach to Nietzsche seems vague. There is no real consideration of Nietzsche's text, its ways of developing the questions of music, art and science, or its rhetorical, metaphorical and musical qualities. Instead, the exposition proceeds by offering short quotations from Nietzsche and his interpreters, without sufficiently considering their different contexts (theoretical, literary, personal etc.) and without elaborating the links between those quotations. This is clearly an academic requirement, and one could contest its value in artistic research context; however, the reflections presented in the research exposition deliberately adopt an academic approach with references, arguments, conceptual developments etc., and the text does not show any significant non-academic (literary, performative or other) qualities.
Consequently, the seemingly academic discourse is affected by unclear argumentation and reading that is not always as rigorous as one would expect from an academic point of view. In fact, one would like to ask whether it would be more appropriate, with respect to the explicit aims of the exposition, to be able to read more about the authors' own developments of Nietzschean ideas than to be referred to other, absent or scarcely presented sources?
As an example, I would like to take up the use of the “fragmentary”, the central notion of the research exposition. The exposition presents as its goal to “render the notion of the fragmentary productive for the wider context of artistic research”. Connecting the fragmentary with the notion of the “untimely”, the exposition aims to address critically the instrumental character of research as well as the emphasis on contemporaneity in artistic practices. In such a way the exposition attempts to provide both “perspectives into artistic epistemologies” and a methodology for the present research.
The notion of the fragmentary is presented by referring to Blanchot and Lacoue-Labarthe&Nancy. Since Nietzsche’s name appears in the main title, it is a bit disappointing that the text does not discuss Nietzsche's own ways of developing or practising the fragmentary (for example, there is no consideration of Nietzsche's poems, his perhaps most “musical” fragments.), but is content to offer a lot of quotations from various interpreters. It also remains unclear to the reader, why so much space is given to the discussion of the historical background. The exposition touches upon many interesting but also most challenging topics without really engaging in them, and the reader wonders how these briefly evoked topics can be connected in a way which serves the explicit research tasks of the exposition: “artistic epistemologies”, artistic research “methodologies” and the critique of “instrumentality” in research?
At the same time, the general mode of approach leads to ignore some simple and basic questions which would be relevant for the wider use of the idea of the fragmentary. It remains unclear for the reader, how “fragmentary” writing is or could be practised (by Nietzsche or by us) and how it might affect the possibilities of thought by changing the relations between art and science or practice and theory. It also remains unclear what it means to extend the literary notion of the fragmentary to include non-literary media and the whole field of rich media publication.
These may again seem to be academic comments and not wholly relevant for a text presented in the context of artistic research, especially if it itself follows the methodical principle of the fragmentary. However, the aforementioned problems seem to have decisive practical consequences for the very realization of the research. In this exposition, the notion of the fragmentary runs the risk of being nothing but a name for scattered presentation, which has very little to do with the idea of the fragment in the Nietzschean (or the Early Romantic) sense.
Although the research exposition Fragment 5 presents an interesting and enjoyable mixture of musical pieces and their commentary together with historical material, and although its research questions are challenging and urgent, the exposition remains methodologically rather vague and does not reach its explicit aims.
Ekspositio on erittäin kiinnostava keskustelunavaus kirjoittamisen pedagogiikkaan ja ylipäätään kirjoittamisen teoriaan ja tutkimukseen. Eksposition argumentointi kirjoittamisesta jonakin, joka ei ole niinkään tai pelkästään hallittavissa oleva vallitsevan paradigman mukainen menetelmällinen prosessi, vaan kirjoittajan itsen lävitse tapahtuvaa toimintaa on merkittävä ja tärkeä.
Pentikäisen näkemys nostaa esiin vähemmän korostettuja vaikkakaan ei aivan uusia tekstin tuottamisen ulottuvuuksia. Ns. autoritaarisen tekstin tuottamisen prosessin sijaan Pentikäinen korostaa sellaista lähestymistapaa kirjoittamiseen, jossa tekstin merkitysten rakentuminen ja välittyminen ymmärretään tekijän kokemuksen lävitse siilautuvina ja tämän ”äänen” varaan kutoutuvina sekä näiden tekijyyden heterogeenisten positioiden tuottamina. Eksposition päättävä lause paljastaa sen keskeisen väitteen: ”Kirjoittamisessakin autenttisuuden tutkimisen tulisi olla ensisijaista.”
Aihe ja lähestymistapa ovat relevantteja taiteellisen tutkimuksen kannalta. Kirjoittamista pyritään ymmärtämään luovana ja kokemuksellisena toimintana oli sitten kyse tutkimuksesta tai kaunokirjallisemman tekstin tuottamisesta. Näkemyksellä soisi olevan vaikutusta myös siihen miten tutkivaa kirjoittamista ymmärretään taiteellisen tutkimuksen eri konteksteissa mutta myös siihen miten kirjoittamista tarkastellaan yleisemmin sekä tutkimus- että luovan kirjoittamisen opettamisen ja tutkimuksen aloilla.
Ekspositio puhuu kahdella äänellä, lähestyy aihettaan kahta reittiä pitkin: tekstissä lomittuvat tieteellisesti luotettava ja aihepiirinsä erittäin hyvin tuntevan tutkijan diskurssi ja henkilökohtaisempi, tai jopa fiktiivisempi, autoetnografinen kertojaääni. Valinta on myös metodinen. Autoetnografisen, jopa tunnustuksellisen tekstin muodossa koetetaan ymmärtää tekstin syntymisen tapahtumaa ns. itsen läpi tapahtuvana toimintana. Tämä teksti on voimakkaan henkilökohtainen mutta ilmentää ja tarkentaa hyvin tutkimusongelmaa. Tutkijanääni taas on korostuneen asiallinen ja avaa ja keskusteluttaa aiheen kannalta relevantteja teoreettisia näkemyksiä kirjoittamiseen ja sen tutkimukseen. Tunnustuksellista tekstiä kohdellaan lopuksi ikään kuin tekstissä kirjoittajasta erillisenä tutkimuskohteena, melkeinpä fiktiivisenä tekstinä, proosatekstinä; se tuottaa nimenomaan tietoa, havaintoja kirjoittamisen prosessiin liittyen.
Ekspositio täyttää tieteellisen tekstin kriteerit ja lähestyy myös taiteellisen tutkimuksen rajoja ylittäviä näkökulmia. Pentikäisen teksti perustelee valitsemaansa kaksiäänisen muodon ensisijassa aiheensa ja metodinsa kautta – motiivi kaksiäänisyydelle ei siis ole esimerkiksi pelkästään julkaisukontekstin motivoimaa. Navigointitapa antaa tilaa rauhallisella tavalla molemmille äänille. Olisin kaivannut kuitenkin näiden kahden lähestymistavan väliin enemmän reflektiota, dialogia ja solmuja. Nyt suhde näiden kahden ulottuvuuden välille rakentuu melko varovaisesti, teoreettisen tekstin kierrellessä ja kaarrellessa proosatekstin ympärillä ja ikään kuin vältellen suoraan asiaan menemistä ja sen sijaan useampia mahdollisia teoreettisia näkökulmia sen avaamiin kysymyksiin väläytellen. Siksi teksti jää vielä enemmän keskustelunavaukseksi kuin varsinaiseksi tutkimusartikkeliksi kirjoittamisen kokemuksesta.
Prosessuaalisuuden arvoa käsitellään ekspositiossa filosofis-kriittisesti oivaltavalla tavalla. Käsittely jää tosin taiteellisen ja tieteellisen tutkimuksen väliin tavalla, joka voi altistaa sen kovallekin kritiikille molemmista suunnista.Taiteella kollektiivisena kirjoittamisena on tekstissä perinteinen rooli tutkimuksen kohteena (vähälle käsittelylle jäävää workshop-kokemusta lukuunottamatta). Kuvat tuovat ekspositioon taiteellista lisäarvoa, mutta niiden yhteispeli tekstin kanssa jää ohueksi. Teksti on tutkimuksellista, joskin tieteellisestä tarkkuudesta tingitään liikaa impressionismin ja vapaan assosioinnin suuntaan. Tarkkojen teoreettisten erottelujen käyttö jää vähäiseksi ja tapausten käsittelyn empiirinen pohjustus turhan huteraksi. Esseistisellä kirjoitustavalla on toisaalta ansioita siinä, miten se vastaa tutkimuskohteen ja –prosessin yhteenkietoutumiseen.Tutkimus kytkeytyy prosessuaalisuutta juhliviin puheenvuoroihin ja teorioihin (mm. Massumi) ja välittyneisyyttä uudelleenmäärittelevään taidefilosofiaan (Rancière) tavalla, joka voi tuottaa merkittäviäkin oivalluksia taiteellisessa tutkimuksessa. Käytetyn tutkimuksen valintoja perustellaan kuitenkin puutteellisesti. Assosiatiiviset siirtymät filosofisista käsitteistä ('event', 'bare activity') arkikielen sanoihin ja tekijän kokemuksiin tuottavat subjektiivisia ja mielivaltaisia tuloksia.
Tapausten (kävely rannalla, workshop, kirjoittamistapahtuma antikvariaatissa, MKS:n kollektiiviromaani) käsittely on ylimalkaista ja empiirisesti huteraa. Esimerkiksi viimeksi mainitun käyttäminen esimerkkinä prosessuaalisuudesta on kyseenalainen; samoin auki jää Eskelisen Neuromaanin vastaanottoa koskevan kommentin relevanssi tässä yhteydessä. Kokeellista kirjallisuutta käsittelevässä tutkimuksessa monin tavoin jäsennetty proseduurin ja prosessin erottelu olisi syytä ottaa mukaan tapausten käsittelyyn.Teksti on perinteinen essee, jossa valokuvat ovat mukana lähinnä kuvituksena; ilman sen kummempaa sommittelua tai tarvetta ekspositiomuodon tarjoamalle “navigoinnille”. Teksti on vetävästi kirjoitettu. Erityisesti pisteliäs (“kyyninen”) sävy on piristävä. Lähteet ja viitteet ovat enimmäkseen mukana kuten tieteellisessä artikkelissa, tosin suorat lainaukset ovat välillä liian pitkiä, niiden sulauttamista omaan esitykseen suosittelen aina kun mahdollista.Tekijä osoittaa hyvin prosessin ja objektin hierarkkisen käsitteellistyksen (mm. Massumi) ongelmat. Hän antaa lähtökohdat sen suosion syiden pohdinnalle - joskin tulkinnassa Craryn pohjalta on vielä ad hoc -luonnetta - ja hierarkian purulle (Rancièren avulla). Tutkimusprosessin ja -kohteen yhteenkietoutumista tekijä pohtii oivaltavasti. Tutkimuskriittinen ja henkilökohtainen rekisteri yhdistyvät hyvin hallitussa esseetyylissä. Tutkimusta ei kytketä kollektiivista kirjoittamista koskevaan tutkimukseen riittävästi, mikä näkyy tutkimuksen taustoituksen ohuutena sekä käsitteellisenä epämääräisyytenä tapausten käsittelyssä.
Tarkempi ote tapausten empiriaan olisi paikallaan ylimalkaisuuden ja spekulatiivisuuden vähentämiseksi.
The exposition describes and examines the authors’ own artistic process, asking what it means to make the making of work matter as an end in itself. The authors take the act of writing and reading as research through their exploration of the materiality of the paper they read and write on, and question the power of text and the university’s pressure on academics to produce outputs.
The aspects of this exposition that are of particular significance are concerned with the collaborative ‘making’ and the dialogue between the two researchers. The making has a clear aim of shedding light on making the making of work matter as an end in itself. Its visual and textual documentation shows the process and also becomes the output of such process.
This exposition is truly interesting, but I doubt whether it is artistic research or merely a performance (i.e. artistic practice). Although the exposition demonstrates that it is possible to make the making of work matter as an end in itself, it does not illustrate how the act of writing and reading itself can become research. The methods and outcomes are highly artistic and are not really research-oriented. The conduct of artistic research cannot utilise making as the only method.
The problem of scholarly outputs that the authors are exploring can be recognised in the exposition. However, it is questionable if the problem that the authors claim, i.e. no space for the process, for experimentation, in scholarly outputs, is actually true, as artistic research allows experimentation and creative processes to be included as outputs. Although the experimentation and creative processes are intangible, what makes them possible to serve in scholarly research is documentation of such experimentation and processes. With this point, it leads to a question of whether the exposition can be considered artistic research at all, when the fundamental matter is not well understood and the research questions are not clearly stated.
The strength of the submission is the idea of making the making of work matter as an end in itself in the research context. Unfortunately, the authors do not quite succeed in transforming such idea into a research project.
The main weakness of this exposition is the authors’ claim that research outputs are tangible. This seems to be a misunderstanding about research in academia. For example, scholarly research in both science and the arts has space for the process and experimentation that allow failure. Failures can be part of research if they are analysed and reflected upon. Outputs in artistic research have been very generous, allowing other forms than written theses. A performance can be a research output too. Although a performance is temporal, what remains is the documentation of it, just like the documented collaborative ‘making’ (paper ripping) in this exposition. So why arguing for intangibility while what you are doing it to make the intangible tangible.
The exposition gives a good overview of the writer’s experiences and skills in developing an artwork through a workshop-based approach. The exposition deals with the importance of workshop practices in the formation of the artwork, so the set-up and typification of outcomes are grounded in practice.
The writer’s voice is present in the exposition, it has a strong point-of-view. The classification of the workshop outcomes and the concept of calibration are formulated in an interesting manner as practical thought patterns that give structure to the artistic process in general.
The writer’s point of view in the middle of the process is fascinating, but I was missing a more detailed depiction of the decision making process. There are some examples, but nevertheless, I was still left wondering what was specifically important in those dialogues, exercises, etc, where artistic decision making occurred? What types of knowledge production did these situations entail? How did artistic decisions come about, for example, how were decisions based on group exercises different from decisions that resulted from embodied experiences and tacit knowledge?
A more detailed analysis of the workshop images might help. In particular image 3 teases my mind: What was the purpose of these drawings, what kind of ideas did they produce into the process? The text remains to a large part on a descriptive level, and I could not identify a clear research question.
I was also missing connections and links to current debate in the field of artistic research: How do the writer’s experiences resonate with existing literature and other documented research findings regarding workshop processes? The observations as such are valid, but dialogue with other research would substantiate the findings. In this version of the text there are only a few references to outside sources. For example, Barrett & Bolt’s ”Carnal Knowledge: Towards a 'New Materialism' Through the Arts” and ”Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry” might be helpful and these two books might also aid in pointing out other relevant sources.
On another note, the writer uses the treacherous concept of interactivity in several places without really defining what is meant by it here. A reference to DavidSaltz’s typification is made, but in fact the top-level distinction between staged vs participatory interaction unfortunately only opens up more questions. Useful references might include Steve Dixon’s ”Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theater, Dance, Performance Art, and Installation” as well as Broadhurst & Machon’s ”Performance and Technology: Practices of Virtual Embodiment and Interactivity”.
The navigation of the exposition is clear and logical. The text is mainly easy to read, although some sentences are a bit heavy to follow, structural simplification would benefit the message. All in all, a more analytical ”helicopter view”, framing the exposition with a strong research question and anchoring it with detailed references, would raise the exposition’s value and relevance.
The article by Arild Berg is solidly anchored into a discussion about contemporary art and a conceptual aspect of craft and traditional techniques in the field of contemporary art. The author is well informed about recent research and discussion about art-based research. He has an interesting approach to public art and includes people, organizations and political plans in public spaces. His perspective on artist work is participatory and he sees a work of art as communicative phenomena in hospital environment. Artist is not alone, but works in collaborations with his public.
There is an interesting connection between materiality and conceptualization throughout the article. The author has a wide view on material-based art and makes a connection between art and research in a natural way speaking out from an artist perspective. The submission is interesting and opens relatively new insights into concept of public art in nursing environment. Art works in Berg’s case study function in an interesting area of borderline between being art objects, instruments for interaction, representatives for material-based art and / or examples of applied visual art in the context of nursing environment.
The aim of the exposition – creating new spaces for communication through participatory art processes with staff and patients – is extremely interesting. Materiality has particular significance in the care context, especially in the lives of people with cognitive decline or difficulties in communication. The artwork presented in the exposition has great potential in various artistic, practical and theoretical contexts. This exposition is deeply rooted in artistic practice. Possibilities provided by Research Catalogue to present high quality artwork as photographs and videos are well exploited in the exposition. Based on the material provided in the exposition, the process of co-creation with staff and patients, as well as the outcomes of the artistic work are of high quality. The exposition discusses and reflects materiality in a participatory artistic process in a way that expands current academic discourses within the artistic research community, cultural gerontology and medical sociology. The work also has wider significance as it invites people who often are excluded from the society to take part in social activities. In my experience, there is an urgent need for new methods for facilitating communication in the context of care. This kind of artwork and research has great potential in enhancing agency and wellbeing of people in need of care. When working with people in need of care one has to be especially careful with ethical issues. In this case, the author does not provide any visual material that would present the people taking part in the participatory art process. I see this choice as ethically biased: a safe way to deal with anonymity issues, but diminishing possibilities of the participants for agency. In the future projects and expositions, I encourage making the voice of patients and carers more active.
Taiteen tekeminen on merkittävässä roolissa ekspositiossa, mutta en pidä ekspositiota tutkimuksena. Ekspositio on enemmän julistusteksti tai uskontunnustus kuin tutkimusteksti. Aihe voisi tietysti olla tutkimuksellinen, mutta silloin se vaatisi tutkimuksellisten elementtien eksplikoimista. Varsinaista eksplikoitua menetelmää tms. kun ei ekspositiosta hahmotu. Koska ekspositio on retorisesti vangitseva, joskin paikoin voi herättää voimakkuuden vuoksi torjuntaa, uskon, että se kiinnostaa laajasti. Taiteen merkittävyyden julistaminen on tärkeää.
Mikä on maailman tila? Mikä on taiteen tehtävä? Onko taiteella todellista yhteiskunnallista merkitystä? Millaista on? Mitä on tehtävä? Nämä ovat tutkimuskysymyksiksi liian laajoja, ennemminkin ne ovat pohdinnan liikkeelle laukaisevia kysymyksiä kuin rajattuja tutkimuskysymyksiä. Koska tekstin aihe on utopia, ongelmaksi nousee se, että kirjoittaja ei huomioi lainkaan utopian käsitteen ulottuvuuksia, kuten sitä, että niitä löytyy ns. sosiaaliutopioita ja utooppista impulssia, mistä nähdäkseni tekijän tekstissä on kysymys. Lisätietoa kyllä löytyisi: esim. Fredric Jamesonin Archaeologies of Future, Mikko Lahtisen toimittama Matkoja utopiaan jne. Utopian käsitteeseen liittyy se, että se on ennemminkin liikkeelle laukaiseva voima kuin jokin joka voidaan toteuttaa. Toteutettava utopia on siis käsitteellinen paradoksi. Kirjoittaja voisi pohtia näitä ulottuvuuksia, mikäli haluaa pitäytyä otsikossa. Aihe on kuitenkin kontekstoitu kirjoittajan omaan taiteelliseen tuotantoon ja muuhun teosmateriaaliin vakuuttavasti. Ja huolimatta kärjistyksistä, ajoittaisesta epäherkkyydestä ja yksinkertaistuksista, kirjoittaja käsittelee vastakkainasetteluja myös moniulotteisemmin, kuten estetismin ja poliittisen taiteen osalta ja siirtyessään Kuparisen ja Kirkkopellon esimerkkeihin.
Ns. tieteellisen tekstin arviointikriteerit ovat tässä tapauksessa ongelmallisia, koska teksti on mielipidekirjoitus, eikä siihen ole ehkä mielekästä soveltaa em. kriteerejä. Toisaalta Ruukku on taiteellisen tutkimuksen julkaisu. Onko tämä sitten enemmän taiteellisen tutkimuksen ongelma kuin yksittäisen artikkelin?
Uutta tietoa teksti ei juuri tarjoa, mutta antaumuksella esitettyä taiteen merkityksellisyyden julistusta kylläkin. Osa on tuttua jo tekijän aiemmasta kirjallisesta ja kuvallisesta tuotannosta, onhan tekijä julkaissut samannimisen artikkelin Ilman Lenin-setää –pamfletissa muutama vuosi sitten. Siksi onkin syytä miettiä, onko mieltä julkaista samannimistä ja pääasiassa samansisältöistä artikkelia Ruukussa. Materiaalin laajuus ja kulku kirjoituksen rinnalla tekevät lukemisesta hieman haasteellisen, vaikka materiaalin havainnollistavuus onkin vahvuus. Tämä voi olla myös ikäkysymys, ehkä jotkut varttuneemmat lukisivat mieluummin paperista tai ilman sinne sun tänne sinkoilevaa navigointia.
Ekspositio kytkeytyy numeron teemaan kiinteästi, sillä siinä havainnollistetaan käsiteltävänä olevaa asiaa konkreettisin taideteosesimerkein ja myös tekstissä puhutaan ruumiillisuuden merkityksestä.
Eksposition parasta antia on taideteosesimerkkien laajuus eli ne eivät edusta pelkästään kuvataidetta vaan myös esitystaiteita. Tekstin vahvuus on sen retorisessa tehossa, mutta samalla se voi olla heikkous, sillä karkeat yksinkertaistukset siitä mitä pitää tehdä ja mitä asioita ja miten ratkaista (jotka luvalla sanoen muistuttavat välillä Monty Python -sketsiä This is how to do it, jossa opetellaan halkaisemaan atomi ja kertomaan kuinka mustat ja valkoiset voivat elää sovussa keskenään) eivät ole välttämättä uskottavia ja jäävät lopulta etäälle taiteellisen tekemisen konkretiasta.
Onko taiteella todellista yhteiskunnallista merkitystä? -kysymyksen alla kirjoittajan pohdiskelu on kiinnostavaa ja antina on tärkeä puheenvuoro. Hyvänä lisänä voisi toimia kirjoittajan näkemykset siitä, miten hän suhtautuu erilaisiin viime vuosina nousseisiin hankkeisiin antaa taiteelle merkitystä osana työyhteisöjä eli ns. hyvinvointia taiteesta –toiminta, koska sen piirissä toimivat henkilöt pitävät toimintansa tuloksena taiteen yhteiskunnallista merkitystä.
German is my mother tongue, but I speak no Finnish, what I find a bit problematic for my review. "It should be clear by now that translation plays a central role in this setting." (in the Conversation weave). Meaning: I cannot judge on an essential part of the exposition, since I cannot follow e.g. the words in the video in their relation to the images. And I cannot review the quality of the Finnish translation of Heidegger.
It is clear to me, that the author's contribution addresses -in my opinion- THE theme of the Ruukku issue, since he is relating the question of translating language in the triangle of Finnish-English-German (the author speaks all three languages) with the issue of translation within the range of all media in Artistic Research, especially sound, video and text. In both aspects he insists rightly on the materiality of language, using amongst other things the simple and very effective notation of [...]
Translation, some people say, is like a kiss through a handkerchief. I like the kiss of this essay. It is gentle, sensible, highly reflective. It gives thinking time, by progressing slowly. And it gives thinking different opportunities by using different weaves and media. Therefore it overcomes the simple model of art and its explanation. I would say, in this essay we follow an aesthetic thinker on his path (which might be called art or science, who cares).
It is an investigation of the basic aspect, that has been discussed in the last years of Artistic Research, thinking itself. And here not by asking Heidegger's question of "What is called thinking", but by the shifted question of "What calls for thinking?". This shift is an highly important shift from academic efforts of definition towards the artistic interest in processes and practices.
My favorite scene in the video – the fish – is related (maybe translated?) to my favorite and the most poetic formulation in the conversation: "Deutsch unter Wasser": Not that language is the water, but the language itself is underwater. This triggers with me an oscillation of thinking and overcomes in my opinion the sometimes too simple notion of words as material. And by the fish pumping the water through his mouth, but keeping silent, the connection of language and water still remains unsolved.
In my opinion the whole essay has a fair and diligent use of media, even though the wording seems to be better developed than the filming. In my opinion the video walks the edge between being too semantic and than too much an illustration of the written and spoken words on the one hand, and being too moody, too superficial, too associative, i.e. personal on the other hand. But I must confess, I find –except for the fish-scene, which is really extraordinary– a lot of the scenes either very direct or a bit too atmospheric. This might be an unsolvable problem, since the backbone of the video, which gives its pace, is the speaking of Heidegger's words. But – and again, I am more guessing than proving, because I don't speak Finnish and cannot connect the words directly and synchronous with the images – for me there is something missing, that I expect from art: I hope that seeing the video would destabilize me or provide a form of discomfort or something sublime or whatsoever. I think the filming, the speaking and the editing are well done, but a bit too nice for my taste.
I think, this exposition is of high quality in the field of Artistic Research. It demonstrates an interesting way of different parallel paths of thought on the question of what calls for thinking? It is highly reflective on the use of its media, also dealing with all of them in a trained way. In my opinion the scholarly and literary aspect is stronger than the visual. But since the balance simply by the number of weaves expresses a favour towards a more academic way of research, I am fine with it.