Principles Of Engagement

Using art practice as research methodology

Principles of engagement are essentially a collection of interrelated ideas that form the essence or guiding code for the practice of being, developed particularly to study The Porous Self. These principles provide direction for conducive emotional, mental, and intellectual states when experiencing porosity. They also allow one to create an inner space for a porous state of consciousness to exist and find firm ground to unravel and unfold. Since much of the experience of the porous self emerges in the tacit, invisible, mystical aspects of beingness, it becomes essential to construct principles of engagement that allow one to engage with, translate, and then study these experiences. In particular, when personal art practice is studied, principles of engagement make visible the tacit beliefs and methods that the artist takes for granted. 


Some suggestions for engagement would be to: 

  • Be open to non-linear relationships
  • Acknowledge intuitive and tacit knowledge 
  • Investigate paradox 
  • Study emotions with care and diligence
  • Annotate form through cultural nuances 
  • Study cultural notions of space and time to investigate consciousness
  • Slowly journal moments of transition in consciousness
  • Reinterpret relationships between idea and image
  • Build a layered understanding of creative process in crafting consciousness 
  • Make art 


While artistic research values careful observation and the study of one's own work, it is equally important to disconnect from these observant states in order to create for the sake of creating, free of the research mode of making. While one may continue to make tacit observations in this state of making, the need to remain in an intuitive state of flow, without a strong intellectual observation, is critical to being creative and allowing the paradoxical unknown to come forth into being and becoming. 

The Indian Wolf is an enigmatic creature. I was sketching it to capture its forms, when my own sense of oneness with the being flowed through, allowing me to expand my wolf sketches to sketches of interiority framed by wolf boundaries. Indian farmers in North Karnataka think of the wolf as their brother. Bija, the sanskrit word for seed, is seen as a metaphor for the origin of things. Working on a sketch like this one opens up doorways to interiority. The sketch happens without thought and when I begin to annotate and observe the outcome closely, it becomes possible to see the non-linear connections that have emerged to create new meaning. These connections draw from ancient memories of self, connection with the natural world, cultural perspectives and symbolism. In studying several such sketches over a period of time, I am able to unravel the methods, principles of engagement that can provide an unhindered space for the creative state and consciousness of being porous.