Our project – about interviews, conversations, and metalogues – turned into an exploration of form, a performative gesture to loosen and reveal our assumptions about the role of dialogue in art and education. Following Laurel Richardson’s assertion that writing is a method of inquiry (Richardson and St Pierre 2005), our project was concerned with dialogue as a form of critical and creative inquiry, asking what the form of a dialogue brings to a pedagogical project to change or challenge the traditional understandings of student and teacher, knowledge construction, and educational space. As we negotiated our two voices, separated by geographical distance as well as interest and perspective, we played with ways of combining them while maintaining their distinction. The recursivity of the project – its various iterations – did not lead to a point of clarity, a specific insight, or truth, but to a dispersed and additive form of knowledge production, which offered new ways of thinking about and embodying dialogue. This is a critical insight for artistic research projects: that the desire for a clear and determinable outcome might be productively subverted. We loosened our grip and continue to be fascinated and mystified by the results. There is something marvellous about participating in a research project that keeps turning around and around, creating new situations.
The project, then, does not lead to any conclusion about the role of interviews in radical education, but provides ways of thinking through various dialogic forms in differing, collaborative encounters. It provided an opportunity to play productively with ‘the speculative tension between the questions “what do you need to know?” and “to what do you aspire?”’ that Irit Rogoff (2010, 36) identifies as the central tension operating within education. In this age of standardised testing and an increased pressure on formal education institutions to gear themselves to quantifiable and consumable results, there is something radical in playing with forms of dialogue that are so central to these institutions and to our understanding of education. This kind of inquiry is especially important because dialogue and interview forms are increasingly taken up as a mode of resistance. We need recursively and additively to think through institutions, forms, and processes of engagement to address the historical present, asking what strategies might best serve the kinds of educational and knowledge-production models that we strive for. How much can the form of a dialogue shift our ideas of education or provide a bulwark against its commodification and instrumentalisation? The metalogic mode might offer a way to begin to re-examine these questions by drawing on the artistic tendency to place as much weight on form as we, in the fields of education, often place on content.