Michael Schwab


Although it is virtually impossible to formalize what ‘best practice’ on the Research Catalogue might be, it harbours by now numerous examples of expositions that ‘work.’ In this session, I want to introduce a small set of diverse expositions from JAR as a way to highlight successful choices people have taken. With a short explanation of expositionality and virtual witnessing, I aim to support an understanding of the effect that those examples have as a way of describing how media-rich articulations can productively engage with both academic and artistic expectations.


Virtual Witnessing

Joseph Wright of Derby, An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, 1768

Expositions in JAR and the RC

Disclaimer: The expositions listed below are mostly from JAR; others could equally have been used as examples. The concepts attached to the examples indicate just one aspect for which the example was picked; all expositions could probably have been featured in different sections. They are not meant to be the best examples for whatever is suggested - it's just the best way in which I can explain certain strategies in expositions of practice as research.


Maps are almost ideally suited for the two-dimensional and potentially large pages that the RC offers.



Example: Paulo de Assis, Lucia D'Errico, ‘MusicExperiment21 Timeline‘, Research Catalogue (2018) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/106821/243746/2748/688

Geographical maps


Example: Paul Landon, ‘Mapping a Modern Diegesis: Terre des Hommes and Robert Altman's Quintet‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 4 (2013) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/17834/52615/0/0

Methodological maps


Example: Mick Douglas, Beth Weinstein, James Oliver, ‘Shuttling‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 9 (2015) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/80218/91677/0/1506

Mapping an affective space


Example: Meghan Moe Beitiks, ‘Systems of Pain/Networks of Resilience (First Compilation)‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 14 (2017) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/286506/286507/0/1

Mapping a socio-architectural space


Example: JULIE MARSH, ‘Site-integrity: a dynamic exchange between site, artist, device and audience‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 19 (2019) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/596787/596788/20/492

Mapping a performance


Example: Matilde Meireles, Diogo Alvim, ‘Trigger Place - A Game of Sound and Architecture‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 14 (2017) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/309117/309794/95/155

Mapping archives


Example: Caroline Picard, ‘Ghost Nature‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 7 (2015) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/55614/55626/3412/2460



Example: Lucie Tuma, Jens Badura, ‘it's doing it – the force of passivity‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 7 (2015) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/51120/51126/0/0

Mapping texts


Example: Kit Hammonds, ‘This exhibition is an island‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 13 (2017) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/285510/286087/867/236


For example:

"The foundational category of the experimental philosophy, and of what counted as properly grounded knowledge generally, was an artefact of communication and of whatever social forms were deemed necessary to sustain and enhance communication. I argue that the establishment of matters of fact utilized three technologies: a material technology embedded in the construction and operation of the air-pump; a literary technology by means of which the phenomena produced by the pump were made known to those who were not direct witnesses; and a social technology which laid down the conventions natural philosophers should employ in dealing with each other and considering knowledge-claims." (484)

"The technology of virtual witnessing involves the production in a reader's mind of such an image of an experimental scene as obviates the necessity for either its direct witness or its replication. Through virtual witnessing the multiplication of witnesses could be in principle unlimited. It was therefore the most powerful technology for constituting matters of fact. The validation of experiments, and the crediting of their outcomes as matters of fact, necessarily entailed their realization in the laboratory of the mind and the mind's eye. What was required was a technology of trust and assurance that the things had been done and done in the way claimed." (491)

This final point describes the conceptual framework and perhaps the most important requirement when publishing in JAR, where what is commonly known elsewhere as a ‘journal article’ is here referred to as an ‘exposition’. This choice of word indicates that a contribution to the journal must expose as research what it presents using the technological framework offered by the Research Catalogue. Depending on your field, ‘exposition’ might not always be a suitable word. For this reason, we encourage you to believe that instead of exposing practice as research, you could also stage, perform, curate, translate, unfold or reflect practice as research. Your chosen descriptor here is less important than the doubling it entails, which creates distance within practice through which understanding can operate.

Expositions understood in this sense sit perfectly well with academic requirements, where some form of writing (or ‘theory’) has to engage with ‘practice’, which on its own very often does not qualify as research. Although functional, the practice/theory model that expresses itself in notions such as ‘practice-based’ or ‘practice-led’ research is highly limiting, since the form that an exposition can take is prescribed and very often modelled on humanities or cultural-studies type writing. It also implies a very simplistic approach to knowledge generation that moves from experience to an understanding that in itself is not influenced by experience. Radically extending the traditional academic model, JAR continues to require some form of distance or doubling that puts research into perspective while categorically refusing to define how such reflexive procedure can take place in the context of the journal.

From: Editorial JAR0, https://www.jar-online.net/issues/0

Here's a link to a Dutch project that explains the airpump and its role a little - with the help of videos and texts - http://airpump.ugent.be/en/


Expositions can create experiences through large media elements or by using the autoplay function.



Example: Vappu Jalonen, ‘Stained Black Mirror‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 6 (2014) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/61876/61877/0/0



Example: Joanne Scott, ‘The Salford samples‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 14 (2017) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/301815/301829/0/0



Example: Ainara Elgoibar, ‘One Motorbike, One Arm, Two Cameras‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 7 (2015) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/57290/133339/0/0

(Fictional) narrative


Example: Bart L. Decroos, ‘The Fourth Wall of Architecture‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 10 (2016) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/211221/211222/0/0



Example: Heidi Marika Fast, ‘Vocal Nest – non-verbal atmospheres that matter‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 16 (2018) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/387047/387048/0/0



Example: Christopher Williams, ‘Anarchiving (in) Ben Patterson's Variations for Double-Bass‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 16 (2018) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/387316/387317/0/0



Example: Anna Walker, ‘In and out of memory: exploring the tension when remembering a traumatic event.‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 8 (2015) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/99519/99535/0/0



Example: Susanna Hast, ‘Walking with Soldiers: How I learned to stop worrying and love cadets‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 21 (2020) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/700528/882393/0/0

Schwab, Michael. 2019. “Expositionality.” In Artistic Research. Charting a Field in Expansion, edited by Paulo de Assis and Lucia D’Errico, 27–45. London and New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

Shapin, Steven. 1984. “Pump and Circumstance: Robert Boyle’s Literary Technology.” Social Study of Science 14 (4).

Video recording, presentation 30/10/2020 to the SAR portal partner network


Expositions can demonstrate processes and engage with artistic decision making



Example: Jean-Marie Clarke, ‘The Rembrant Search Party‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 11 (2016) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/250318/291244/0/0



Example: Matilde Meireles, Diogo Alvim, ‘Trigger Place - A Game of Sound and Architecture‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 14 (2017) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/309117/309776/179/1061



Example: Emma Cocker, Nikolaus Gansterer, Mariella Greil-Moebius, Simona Koch, ‘Choreo-graphic Figures: Scoring Aesthetic Encounters‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 18 (2019) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/462390/462396/0/0



Example: Emilio Angel Reyes Bassail, ‘MEMORY AS A METHOD FOR FILMMAKING‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 19 (2019) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/648128/719591/0/0



Example: Paulo de Assis, ‘Con Luigi Nono: Unfolding Waves‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 6 (2014) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/51263/52254/0/0



Example: Anna Walker, ‘In and out of memory: exploring the tension when remembering a traumatic event.‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 8 (2015) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/99519/99520/0/0



Example: Barbara Macek, ‘Between Agony and Ecstasy: Investigations into the Meaning of Pain‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 16 (2018) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/308804/311978/0/0



Example: Eivind Buene, ‘Delirious Brahms‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 4 (2013) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/23627/23628/0/3778



Example: Simon Granell, ‘10 Diary Entries [2010-12]‘, Journal for Artistic Research, 3 (2013) https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/26162/26163/0/0