NOTES ON QUESTIONS, THE GESTURE OF QUESTIONING
"Why do you like me so much?", asks the question.
We don't really know but we'd like to find out! We, Cordula Daus and Charlotta Ruth, have both worked with questions and interviews as an artistic form in previous works. Here or here, for example.
Nowadays the need for knowing the answers has shifted to a need of knowing how to ask the right question. We constantly need to question the information we find since we cannot be sure that what we read is true. Or, to give an example: We need to know how to google (and what google is). Dealing with an increasingly outsourced labour to machines we also need to know how to instruct Artificial Intelligence to support us. Artificial Intelligence will perform what we ask them to do, ‚it‘ can learn how to improve a task but it cannot question what is being asked for. To practice the art of questioning is a human resource at the core of societal development.
It seems there is something in the act of being asked or asking a question that can be compared with the touch. The question establishes or presupposes a relation. Any question, even the most akward, innocent or impersonal one ('What’s the time?') implies an address, a call, a want of different degree.
It addresses the self, one’s being – and one is asked to answer to its appeal.
We have initiated this project in the framework of the research cell "Through phenomena themselves". And it's idea and first manifestation bears the traces of two artists under phenomenological influence...
Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and van Manen and our philosopher colleagues have inspired us to take up the challenge: To look at the question both as a phenomenon of its own and as a practice.
How is it to be asked a question? How is it to ask a question?
What does a question do? How can questioning enable to bring forth an idea?
Like learners of a foreign language, we were looking for ‚instructions‘ of how to ask an appropriate phenomenological question.