The position of the meanderer is a strange contradiction in terms. The art of meandering is exactly the fluctuation in-between positions. An insistence on finding valuable sites in the lines of flight, inside the ray of light between spot and stage, in the crossing-over from one frame to another. And as a methodology meandering becomes exactly about ways of getting lost in order to find one’s way '[T]o meander is to follow a winding course, at times to move aimlessly, idly, without any preconceived map or sense of fixed direction' (2018), writes Robert Porter in 'Meandering Through the Politics of Everyday Life'. ‘Proceeding aimlessly’, ‘with little purpose’, ‘wandering about’, the meanderer reports from inside the drifting between and beyond positions. But the aimlessness is really the very aim, the little purpose actually purposeful and the wandering an exploration. Without the conform fixtures of the aim, the meanderer can like no-other uncover the purposes that are immersed in our everyday wandering about. Porter writes: 'The long meandering route […] is important precisely because it echoes in, or plays into, an experience of everyday life itself.' (2018) The politics of everyday life is shaped in these aimless proceedings and it is from within these processes that we can perhaps truly learn something about why positions are held, what the background of a purpose possibly is and why one can get the feeling that we’re all wandering about aimlessly. The meanderer is perhaps interested in the situation rather than the position. The critical position, reflected in critical theory as well as contemporary art, most often entails certain affectations designed to impress and enthral, rather than invite for dialogue. Or as Porter puts it: 'The affectations and mannerisms, or the mere staged and scripted performance, of critique leaves us unsatisfied, and a gnawing and troubling sense emerges, reflecting a feeling that critique has become conceptually and aesthetically shot through with the logic of the thing it was supposed to attack: namely, the commodity-form.' (2018) He continues: 'Philosophically and politically we loose heart, we loose courage, only then to melancholically turn our back on the socioeconomic conditions that are always immanent to the activity of our increasing mannerist critique.' (2018) To have a position on something is radically different than having an understanding of its situation. The meanderer thus pass by positions all the time, cool and composed, following what actually matters; the condition, the feeling, the mood, the situation.

Meandering Strategies
Of course, this bypassing of positions by concentrating on the situation, constitutes a position in itself, that is momentarily recuperated by the forms of affectations and mannerisms described above. But one can still be aware of this while continuing to meander, much like the Situationists of The Situationist International were aware that their consumer critique continually ran the risk of recuperation; from revolutionist critique to commodity-form. As Sadie Plant has pointed out, the very problem of recuperation was one of the things that defined and animated the Situationists. She writes: 'One of the distinguishing features of Situationist theory was its recognition that all forms of criticism, and resistance occupy an internal relation to the system they oppose.' (1992) In this same manner, the very problem of meandering as always positioning oneself animates the meandering. It is not without difficulties to describe what actually goes on inside the meandering approach. And in attempting to do so, it becomes apparent that the meandering is, when push comes to shove, not all aimless. A surrounding society and socio-political reality that is structured around positions, purposes and aims, has its hold on the meandering researcher as well. Artistic research is ultimately about where one positions oneself in relation to A and B and what the purpose of the research is and what it eventually aims for - always in danger of wandering too far off point.

As methodology the meandering forms a position in itself, from where experimentations and explorations are performed that, at the end of the day, must result in something; a work, a proposal, a gesture, an aim, a position. But the meandering is still considered as a form of resistance towards the streamlining of the artistic process; it is a way of purposefully loosing purpose and letting the wandering nature of the processes take hold. The whole artistic research process is always in danger of becoming an instrumentalised and instrumentalising thing, unless we hold onto the prioritising of potentially resistant methodologies. Meandering, as a refusal of productivity or an insistence on taking the long winding path beyond the mannerist positions, could potentially form such a methodology of resistance. One could frame this meandering in the interplay with materials. How an artist must engage in a sort of reactive relationship to the materials used, open to trajectories that might occur in this exchange. When working with time-based media, in the format of planned and occasionally rehearsed situations recorded, edited and displayed, the meandering exist somewhere else than in the day to day experimentation in the studio or workshop. The artistic process is structured around a narrative (in all its non-linearity) filmic production. The meandering must here take the form of a somewhat planned-for-meandering. A purposefully straying from the outlined path. The production of film often comprises a large team of professionals used to working in strict positions, with the purpose of working towards a collective aim. As the artist assembling this production machine and directing it towards a certain result, the meandering approach becomes a balancing act indeed. One has to be very specific about the aim of the aimless wandering, the purpose of the purposeless and the positioning in-between very particular positions. This methodology indeed becomes about how one moves between these regions of particularity, these topoi of the artistic process. The methods used include deliberate misunderstandings, prepared unpreparedness, the unrehearsed, chance-taking, associative linking, ceremonial arrangements and blind trust in what may potentially occur. It is an approach that must be more attentive to a mood than a correct framing, a feeling rather than a delivered line, a condition rather than a color-corrected continuity. Similarly, the meandering approach to reflection is a balancing act as well. It should seek to be honest to the meandering approach while always having to comply with an outside structure that requires a clear purpose, aim and position.

Lighting from the Side
This form of meandering challenges what language to use and how to move between types of languages. The meandering approach often leads through very different forms of language, sometimes converging, sometimes worlds apart. One must consider what language to use when and to what degree the intensity of different language categories should be amplified or reduced. Aslaug Nyrnes suggests, in her text 'Lighting from the Side – Rhetoric and Artistic Research', that a reflection in an artistic research project most often exists with varying intensity in-between the researchers 'own language, the language of theory and the language of the artistic expression'. (2006) In her identification of these three main languages (or topoi as she describes them) Nyrnes highlights not only the existing wide register of one’s own language, the systematic quality of theory and how the artistic expression is 'at the heart of the artistic research process' (2006), but also how the correlation between these three languages shed light (from the side perhaps as suggested by Nyrnes through Foucault) on 'how the researcher moves between the topoi' (2006) and how ‘this how can be identified as method.' (2006) Method in this way 'means finding a path that is reliable [..] a way of moving in the language’. (2006) In this way meandering (as lighting from the side), could prove a research method that not only mirrors methods within the artistic practice it revolves around, but really already is going on within it.