Through Phenomena Themselves

Exploring new possibilities of mutual transformation between artistic and

phenomenological research practices 

This research cell proposes an inquiry into research practices developed in two fields—artistic research and phenomenology—that operate with and through phenomena as their object of research or as the primary medium of exposure to and/or of their object of research. Accordingly this cell is to be understood as a network of practice-based research processes on phenomenabased and/or phenomena-oriented research practices. The main focus of this research cell is to explore new possibilities of mutual enhancement, refinement and hybridization between specific artistic and phenomenological research practices. Although the research goals might be divergent, both evolving fields of practice share a common base: an interest in the generative nature of our existence, alongside the mobilization of embodied subjectivity in first-person perspective processes of inquiry whose primary objects are emergent, co-constituted, intuitive, evident presences—that is, phenomena.

Shared reflection based on processes of artistic and phenomenological research and the artifacts they produce as well as texts and dialogues in different formats and constellations, will aim to bridge the gaps and mutual misapprehensions that hinder tapping the full potential for the further development of both fields of research. Specifically, interpretations and uses of phenomenological theories by artist researchers can diverge, sometimes fundamentally, from the understanding of these theories in the phenomenological context, focusing on a restricted concept of phenomenology as a set of theories, whilst ignoring that phenomenology is, first of all, a method of research. In parallel, the distance of phenomenologists to artistic practices can result in their reluctance to acknowledge such practices as research.

The aim of this research cell is not to defend phenomenology but to investigate unexplored possibilities by exposing phenomenological concepts and practices and practices of artistic research to one another. In this open-ended investigation, critical views elaborated in the framework of process philosophy, poststructuralism, feminism, new materialism and speculative realism will also be addressed.

Cell’s participants: Emmanuel Alloa, Alex Arteaga, Emma Cocker, Alexander Damianisch, Cordula Daus, Nikolaus Gansterer, Saara Hannula, Juha Himanka, Ralo Mayer, Charlotta Ruth, Esa Kirkkopelto, Tuomas Laitinen, Jaakko Ruuska, Tülay Schakir and Katarina Šoškić.

This research cell is conceived and coordinated by Alex Arteaga in cooperation with Emma Cocker, Leena Rouhiainen and Alexander Damianisch and produced as a collaboration of the University of Applied Arts Vienna and the University of the Arts Helsinki.

A schedule of cell activities can be found here.