In this article we have discussed how dialogue can function as a theoretical, practical, and methodological approach in artistic research projects. The intention of the Wikiphonium project was to collect and interpret new music in close collaboration with various composers. The observation and acknowledgement of the actual artistic processes made us interested in the dialogues that evolved through the project. Accordingly, the artist in the early stages of the project decided to relinquish ownership and control of parts of the artistic outcome. The involved parties interacted toward a perceived mutual goal, and meetings and discussions became crucial parts of the creative developments. A core issue for the project was openness to creative contributions and a mutual risk-taking spirit. This also influenced other aspects of the project, including the wiki page.


The planned unpredictability of the process of musical investigation in this project would have been a challenge had there been expectations of methodological predictability. Thus, issues of method were addressed at various stages in the artistic research project, changed and conceptualised, and then addressed again. The ways in which these processes took place have similarities to traditional scientific research methods; nevertheless, they would have had the wrong impact on the art had they been conducted in the manner of scientific research. The artistic choices were made from perceived possible pathways and enthusiasm, and without scientific procedural constraints and obligations. The artistic research process followed the quest, not the question.

Writing an article together is not a linear and transparent process, and when it involves scholars with their strengths in two different parts of the field of artistic research, the ownership of the written document is at stake. The reason that we, as authors of this article, would characterise this as a genuine collaboration is that the process has been based on the ideology of a Bakhtinian dialogue. First, we made space for lengthy discussions to reach a comprehensive level of understanding of each other’s possible input to the content of the article.


Second, the conversations led to new knowledge for both authors. Thus, if nothing new and unexpected came up, we did not characterise it as dialogic. The test of whether we had a real dialogue was whether something emerged that neither of us would have come up with by ourselves. Sometimes the discussions took us nowhere new, but grounded the next discussion. Sometimes we just listened to each other, read together, or listened to music. A key to the collaboration was also Blix’s presence at many of the events in the four-year project, from the writing of the research proposal, to rehearsals, discussions with the composers, presentations, and the concerts. Even though Blix did not participate as an artist, she has had a practical and academic involvement in the project from the start. Without this involvement the co-writing would have turned out to be less profound. Davidsen participated as a discussion partner in other strands of Blix’s research work in the music pedagogy field, and in this way had an insight into literature that founded her contribution to the discussions.

When a thought or statement resonates with the thoughts of another person, and leads to something new to build ideas upon, this generates a series of inspirational thought experiments. Some of them might be too platonic, or even wrong, but by letting go of the desire for a stringent chain of thoughts and personal agendas there is created leeway for new directions in the form of creative dialogues.


This article represents in itself a dialogue because it invites criticism and reflection from the outside world. The reader, as an unpredictable co-author, has been in the mind of the writers as the text was created. Since we as authors are fully aware of the miscellany of readers that an artistic research article may have, we expect that each reader’s previous knowledge and interests will communicate with different aspects of the discussions presented. Interacting and contradictory voices together create views of the world of art, and the objective should not be unanimity, but polyphony (Sidorkin 1999: 25). A written document is also an inducement to communicate in ways that make us rethink and reflect on the artistic processes and results along new paths. At the end of the dialogue, yet another reflective process emerges.



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