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“Embedded in artistic and academic contexts, artistic research seeks to convey and communicate content that is enclosed in aesthetic experiences, enacted in creative practices and embodied in artistic products”. Henk Borgdorff, ‘The Production of Knowledge in Artistic Research’ in Michael Biggs and Henrik Karlsson (eds.), Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts, (London and New York, Routledge, 2011).

 

“Artistic research describes a particular mode of artistic practice and knowledge production, in which scholarly research and artistic activity becomes inextricably intertwined. Questioning the boundaries among art, academia, philosophy, and science, it enables the exploration and generation of new modes of thought and sensible experience. Crucial in order to understand artistic research, and how it decidedly differentiates itself from other more traditional modes of research on the arts (such as art history, musicology, sociology of art/music, or aesthetics), is the focus on practice, it is practice-based, practice-led and practice-driven. It is also a mode of research conducted by practitioners […] Artistic research is a specific area of activity where artists actively engage with and participate in discursive formations emanating from their concrete artistic practice.” Paulo de Assis and Lucia D-Errico (eds.) Artistic Research: Charting a Field in Expansion, (London and New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2019), 3.

 

“Artistic research seeks not so much to make explicit the knowledge that art is said to produce, but rather to provide a specific articulation of the pre-reflective, non-conceptual content of art. It thereby invites ‘unfinished thinking’. Hence, it is not formal knowledge that is the subject matter of artistic research, but thinking in, through and with art.” Henk Borgdorff, ‘‘The Production of Knowledge in Artistic Research’ in Michael Biggs and Henrik Karlsson (eds.), Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts, (London and New York, Routledge, 2011).

 

“Operating within a transdisciplinary horizon of practices and situated beyond classical disciplinary partitions, artistic research nevertheless starts from, and happens concretely at the level of specific artistic practices […] its most powerful force lies in the middle” Paulo de Assis and Lucia D-Errico (eds.) Artistic Research: Charting a Field in Expansion, (London and New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2019), p1.

 

“When the debate about artistic research commenced twenty years ago, it was primarily viewed as an unarticulated, undefined field; not so much a discipline as a place where the political, the philosophical, and the creative meet in a way that allows people to produce a new set of relations between one another. How can artistic research – as a methodological trajectory – continue to facilitate non-regulated relations between these three domains? And connected to this: How can artistic research keep providing alternative answers to urgent questions?”, Jan Kaila, Anita Seppä, Henk Slager, Futures of Artistic Research: At the Intersection of Utopia, Academia and Power, (UniArts, Helisnki, 2017), p.10

 

“My answer to the question ‘what is artistic research?’ then is to say that artistic research has to recognise the way in which its combination of art and knowledge calls for philosophical appraisal. It is to effectively transform ‘artistic research’ into its philosophical counterpart, ‘aesthetic epistemology’” Clive Cazeaux, ‘What is Artistic Research?’ in Art, Research, Philosophy, (Roultledge, 2017), p.47.

 

“Artistic research covers an incredibly diverse and multisectoral territory of orientations, methodologies and experimental practices. The core challenge om artistic research is, to my mind, as valid and pressing today as it was twenty yeats ago: making ‘tacit’ more ‘explicit’. What remains the crucial challenge of the untamed ‘discipline’, is that artistic research is deeply tied to art making but art making is not to be made its object of examination”, Maiju Loukola, ‘Flying Backwards into the Future’ Jan Kaila, Anita Seppä, Henk Slager, Futures of Artistic Research: At the Intersection of Utopia, Academia and Power, (UniArts, Helisnki, 2017), p.91.

Ever evasive of definition, Artistic Research is a field in constant development where many different - and sometimes contested - perspectives co-exist. Within artistic research, art practice offers a premise and an aim for the research: a motive, a terrain, a context and a whole range of methods. For Henk Borgdorff, artistic research as a form of knowledge production, involves research in and through art practice – at the level of subject, method, context, outcome. According to the Vienna declaration, “Artistic Research is research through means of high level artistic practice and reflection; it is an epistemic inquiry, directed towards increasing knowledge, insight, understanding and skills […] Artistic Research is undertaken in all art practice disciplines - including architecture, design, film, photography, fine art, media and digital arts, music and the performing arts - and achieves its results both within those disciplines, as well as often in a transdisciplinary setting, combining Artistic Research methods with methods from other research traditions”.

 

From extracts drawn from Henk Borgdorff, ‘The Production of Knowledge in Artistic Research’ and the Vienna Declaration.

 

Artistic Research has also been shaped and informed by the emergence of various organisations dedicated to artistic research – including Society of Artistic Research, EARN, SHARE,  as well as journals focused on publishing artistic research e.g. Journal of Artistic Research, RUUKKU, VIS, PARSE. However, as attempts to define and standardise artistic research emerge (e.g. Vienna Declaration), parallel perspectives seek to untame and trouble such definitions, “defend(ing) the radical potential of artistic research against those who toy all too carefully with university formats, wishing to ally their work with scientific principles” (See Silvia Henke, Dieter Mersch et al (eds.) Manifesto of Artistic Research, (Diaphanes, 2020)

ARTISTIC RESEARCH

Bibliography/links


See also JAR Journal of Artistic Research (the Editorials also give a good overview of key ideas pertinent to Artistic Research).


Paulo de Assis and Lucia D-Errico (eds.) Artistic Research: Charting a Field in Expansion, (London and New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2019).


Henk Borgdorff, ‘‘The Production of Knowledge in Artistic Research’ in Micael Biggs and Henrik Karlsson (eds.), Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts, (London and New York, Routledge, 2011) 74-93.


Henk Borgdorff, 2012, Conflict of the Faculties: Perspectives on Artistic Research and Academia, (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2012).


Clive Cazeaux, ‘What is Artistic Research?’ in Art, Research, Philosophy, (Roultledge, 2017).


Florian Dombois, Ute Meta Bauer, Claudia Mareis, Michael Schwab (eds). Intellectual Birdhouse: Artistic Practice as Research, (London, Koenig Books, 2012).


Silvia Henke, Dieter Mersch et al (eds.) Manifesto of Artistic Research, (Diaphanes, 2020).


Jan Kaila, Anita Seppä, Henk Slager, Futures of Artistic Research: At the Intersection of Utopia, Academia and Power, (UniArts, Helisnki, 2017).


Julian Klein, 'What is Artistic Research?', See

https://www.jar-online.net/en/what-artistic-research


Vytautus Michelkevičius, Mapping Artistic Research: Towards Diagrammatic Knowing, (Vilnius Academy of Arts Press, 2018).


Henk Slager, The Pleasure of Research, (Ostfildern: Hatja Cantz, 2015).


Mick Wilson and Schelte van Ruiten (eds.), SHARE Handbook for Artistic Research Education.


Tere Vadén , Mika Hannula, et al, (eds.) Artistic Research Methodology; Narrative, Power and the Public, (Peter Lang, 2014)