author(s): Petri Kaverma, Kirsi Heimonen, Anu Vehviläinen
published in: RUUKKU - Studies in Artistic Research
This exposition describes collaboration between three artist-researchers (Kirsi Heimonen, Anu Vehviläinen, Petri Kaverma) and respectively three art genres (dance, music, fine arts). The incentive for this collaboration stemmed from the notion of ‘silence’. On the one hand, silence offers a conceptual umbrella for this interdisciplinary praxis; on the other hand, using silence was an important methodological solution throughout the collaboration.
The artists consider that through their collaborative praxis they have created a specific, practice-based artistic research method. This exposition describes that method by using both individual and shared thinking: the exposition is written partly individually (three columns: ‘silence’, ‘praxis’, ‘writing’), partly together (‘discussion’). In the ‘discussion’, the artists meet each other and reflect their understanding of the idea of artistic research through the notion of silence, within the art institution.
The active collaboration entailed seven sessions during the period between Jan 2016 – May 2016, as well as a few preparatory sessions for two conference presentations during the fall of 2016. In March of 2017 the group spent a two-day writing period in Järvenpää to write this exposition.
The exposition Hard Times: Lecture performance as gestural approach to developing artistic work-in-progress is relevant regarding the idea of the Ruukku vol 5 Call for Papers. In the Call the editors point out that the concept of ”a gesture” is wide: sometimes accurate and sometimes “empty”.
The writer understands the lecture performance itself as a gesture:
“The exposition suggests that this type of lecture performance (…) forms a gestural method of artistic research in itself (Hübner, summary).” The exposition also deals with a musician’s physical gestures in an interesting way, which adds another perspective on the concept of “a gesture”.
The overall readability is good: the exposition benefits from the possibilities of a multimedia publication. For instance the videos and other links are easy to read with the body text.
The idea of sharing an incomplete artwork and the process of research with the audience is inspiring. This removes the unnecessary mystique from the artistic work and offers plenty of new perspectives: it benefits both the artist and the member of the audience. The artist’s relationship with the audience is an area, which still lacks research, though the art scene has shown an interest towards this topic during recent years. The exposition encourages the artists to find new research methods in the area of interaction with the audience.
The artistic performance itself – what the musician actually did with the music coming from the loudspeakers – was quite interesting. The capability of the percussionist to “play” the music without the instruments was astonishing.
In this exposition the writer puts together the art making and the research process. There is the musical-choreographical work Hard Times, which is studied and which is still in process. On the other hand, there is the lecture performance, which tries to show the audience what kind of a work there is (in process) and what theoretical questions there are connected to it. The exposition does not discuss the actual artistic-research process much – such as how does the composer-designer make his artistic decisions during the research process. It is possible that the actual lecture performance explained a great deal about the theoretical ideas behind the artistic work. If so, the audience is more informed about process than the reader of this exposition.
The methods used in this research are only little articulated. The writer probably means that the lecture performance itself is a method, but the methodological strategies should be explained in a more detailed way.
The discussion with “informed audience” is underlined in the exposition: the reader gets an impression that the audience has a lot to do with the process. Nevertheless, this discussion with the audience stays mysterious in the exposition. Only two topics, “the exhaustion” and the “imperfection”, are discussed, but the audience’s role is still not clear. “Positive feedback” doesn’t clarify sufficiently the audience’s impact.
If the writer is willing to develop the research project further, it might benefit several art areas, especially the performing arts such as theatre, music, dance etc. The exposition refers also to the artist-audience relationship, though yet quite vaguely. The writer collaborates with a musician, a percussionist, and it would be essential to point out how music would learn from this research.
The exposition discusses the research questions in a slightly unclear way. The core topic is the lecture performance as a performance of a work (called Hard Times) and as an example of artistic research. What is actually studied about the lecture performance is not analysed in a detailed manner. On the other hand, the exposition offers an interesting insight into the concepts of lecture performance as well as musical choreography. The video links help to read the whole exposition.
The exposition discusses quite clearly about the tradition of the key concept, “lecture performance”. It presents also some theoretical thinking about identity (Butler). In the beginning of the text the writer discusses about the tradition of artistic research, but this discussion could be more detailed. The exposition presents fruitfully other artists’ works (in text links, videos), which are related to this particular research.
The artistic performance (the percussionist playing without instruments, with the loudspeakers) is very interesting, virtuosic and fascinating. This exposition’s clear strength is the way it introduces this kind of art in general. The knowledge on the actual research topic, the lecture performance, is not shared enough.
I would like to encourage the writer to go deeper with this research. Maybe there is a lot of information, which was dealt during the actual lecture performance but is not fully articulated in this written text. I would also like to know a lot more about the artistic decisions, which were made based on the discussion with audience. The new ideas, decisions and changes in an artist’s routine are the most interesting moments in regarding the artistic research.
I interpret this exposition more as a report of an interesting process than a research article. The exposition is one medium of introducing a very interesting artistic-research work: composing + designing musical choreography.