Artistic research: methodologies and methods
The methodologies are practice-led research and autoethnography, and it is site-specific with similarity to a case study. Research questions and themes develop through the process, and there is an interchange between practice and theory that feeds back into the research process (Nelson 2013).
Autoetnography provides the artist-researcher with three roles or voices: the sensory participant and artist, the reflective subject, and the analyst. This gives access to the complexities and nuances of perception and are resources for artistic articulation and theoretical reflection (Ellis 2004), (Sunstein and Chiseri-Strater 2007). I elaborate on theories or perception in page 2.
I combine several practices that during the research process change between being research themes, methods, experiments and part of the outcomes.
The core practice is field recording. I make photographs, sound recordings and videos and I write diaries where I document and reflect on what happens on the mountain.
I read literature from a range of disciplines, among them philosophy, nature science, social science and art- and media studies, where I search for concepts and theories that inform and resonate with my experiences. For example, the readings encouraged attention to sensory perceptions and embodiment, and tool theory helped to make sense of experiences with recording technology. Altogether, the readings made nuances of nature experiences more significant and helped to identify their connection to broader issues and to research themes of other disciplines.
Art is both method and research outcome. Artistic articulation helps to clarify the vagueness of sensory experiences. As an ongoing practice, it feeds back into the fieldwork and thereby enhances sensibilisation. The photographs, sounds and artworks help to articulate and communicate mountain experiences in ways that I could not do otherwise. They are like reports of stages during the process, and they are parts of the research outcome.
Moreover, I have studied other artists with similar research concerns. I compare and discuss how my research relates to James Balrog’s Chasing Ice (Balrog 2012a; 2012b) and to Eija Timonen’s Icephery and the Ice score – concepts for a multisensory approach (Timonen 2019) with emphasis on how we explore, make sense of and communicate what happens in our respective research sites.