Affinities + Urgencies in Language-based Artistic Research (PART II)


Tuesday 15 February 10.00  17.30 CET 2022.


This event — a day-long gathering  follows on from Affinities and Urgencies PART I (December 2021) in response to the questions:  


How can we collectively support the emergence of different species of proximity and community within the field of expanded language-based practices: we-ness and near-ness; participation; observation; conversation; caring/curation; listening; hosting; guesting; audiencing; supporting; bearing witness; hearing out; feeding back; offering help; spending time; sharing time; sharing resources, world-building? How can we together support different modes of relationality and connectivity [gravitational pulls and resonant affinities] within the field of expanded language-based practices, further ways for generating mutual support and resource?


Affinities + Urgencies in Language-based Artistic Research comprises a series of sessions led or facilitated by different individuals or groups for engaging with a specific thematic focus, a field of attraction and resonant affinity, or a matter of urgency relating to language-based artistic research.


Towards a more distributed, open organisation of the Special Interest Group within this expanded and expanding community of practice. This online event will provide a context for sharing live constellations of interest and focus within the field of language-based artistic research.   

Schedule (times approximate)


10.00 – 10.15              Welcome: Affinities and Urgencies (AM)


10.15 – 11.05              Session 1: Unspeakable Dialogues in a Theatre of



11.05 – 11.15              Break 


11.15– 12.15               Session 2: Language-based Artistic Research Practices in

                                    Ecologies [Artistic] Research [and Design]


12.15 - 12.20              Pause


12.20 - 1.00                Session 3: Language Involution 


1.00 – 1.05                 Close of morning: Introducing Collateral Readings


1.05 – 2.05                 Lunch/Break


2.05 – 2.10                  Welcome back: Affinities and Urgencies (PM)


2.10 – 3.00                  Session 4: ELIA-Islanded Practice-BasedLiterary Research    

3.00 – 3.10                  Break


3.10 – 3.40                  Session 5: Articulating Solitudes


3.45 – 4.15                  Session 6: Words as Matter - Alchemical Operations


4.15 – 4.25                 Break


4.25 – 5.00                 Breakout room discussions with session contributors


5.00 – 5.30                 Collective reflection and thoughts on next steps





Unspeakable Dialogues in a Theatre of Knowledge


Rachel Armstrong | Breg Horemans | Rolf Hughes | Virginia Tassinari



The Anthropocene obliges us to investigate new forms of knowledge, while the decolonisation of the curriculum requires encounters with knowledge that are not staged exclusively through the established language games of the academy. We therefore wish to bring together design, architecture, the arts, philosophy and anthropology to create a theatre of knowledge in which ‘unspeakable’ dialogues facilitate interdisciplinary exchanges to create new (post-anthropocentric, non-Western-centric, non-patriarchal, non-heteronormative) research models, artefacts, and performances. Such ‘unspeakable’ encounters will be pedagogical knowledge-generators, creating a circularity between 'material things' and 'dialogical/discursive processes'. Unspeakable dialogues, in this formulation, stage the meeting of concepts considered incommensurate within the conventions of academic research, leading to knowledge forms that are embodied, sensual, tacit and require participants collectively to reconfigure their experience to articulate what has been considered of value in the exchange. Theatre here is understood as a decolonised, ‘post-dramatic-theatre’ (Lehmann), a laboratory for experiential experimentation that can nonetheless produce real-world outcomes. We redefine the Greek notion of ‘Theatron’, as the position from which one looks, towards the position from which one speaks, listens and responds, as a pre-requisite for dialogic exchange and intra-action (Barad). We foreground spatial thinking via fora such as the Theatrum Mundi or the Novum Organum. The presentation combines the methods of artistic research and social science (philosophy & anthropology) to create interdisciplinary tools, design propositions, narratives, and models that seek to reset values and ambitions for architects, artists and designers through acknowledging an emerging ecological (post-industrial and post-human) era. Through dramaturgical, performative work with a focus on ‘scripting’ as a methodology (from ‘open source’ processes, while integrating the ‘natural algorithms’ of plants/animals/bacteria/algae in the scripting), we outline an emerging bio-politics, one incorporating non-human perspectives, and an ethics of mutual care as the foundational principles for an ecological era of human development.

Language-based Artistic Research Practices in Ecologies of [Artistic] Research [and Design]


Initiated by Alex Arteaga: With Rachel Armstrong | Emma Cocker | Christo Doherthy | Anne Mette Frandsen | Hélène Frichot | Lidia Gasperoni | Luis Guerra | Rolf Hughes | Maiju Luokola | Jane Rendell | Stefan Winter


Presentations by Alex Arteaga, Emma Cocker, Rachel Armstrong and Rolf Hughes, Lidia Gasperoni, and Jane Rendell, with respondents Christo Doherty, Anna Mette Frandsen, Hélène Frichot, Stefan Winter. The film presented by Rachel Armstrong and Rolf Hughes as part of this session can be viewed here 

Language-based artistic research practices are performed in many cases in contact with practices in different media as part of one research (and design) project. How is this contact? How do language-based artistic research practices relate to other research (and design) practices? What are the motivations, the needs, the desires, the aims that lead to establish these correspondences? How are the practices in mutual touch affected, modified, influenced, transformed? How do these connections, entanglements and intertwinements contribute to achieve the research (and design) goals? How do they affect the unfolding of the research (and design) processes? (Artistic) research (and design) practices constitute ecologies: systemic networks of relationships that enable to develop specific approaches to the inquired issues—to the objects, situations, environments, states of affairs or concepts to be disclosed, understood and transformed. How are the dynamics of these ecologies? What are the functions of language-based artistic research practices in these research (and design) systems?


Language Involution 


Rosie Heinrich | Sepideh Karami 


As a languaged-based artistic research group formed in the destabilised social climate of 2020: what does it mean to collectively study language and its ways of thinking and doing? What and how can our Practices of Sharing contribute?


Language is at the heart of a complex of concerns, across diverse fields of study, that necessitate our collective fielding, bending, pluralising, breaking, queering, inventing, unmastering, expanding, reclaiming, … , … , … .


This session proposes the formation of a research cluster around the exploration of (new) words, languagings, grammars, expanded writing practices (inc. writing beyond the human), that are not only inclusive but also start from silenced, absenced voices, that strive to live into the decolonial politics that we are trying to create, and seek to shift our language/perception towards a non-anthropocentric worldview, encompassing of our unbounded multispecies existence.


- What are the implications of being more than one?

- How does this shape our language, thinking, perception, doing?

- How can we construct a language that can describe a world beyond the colonial relations of Modernity?

- What voices and characters construct such languages that not only criticise the existing situation (an ecological crisis), but also envisage that alternative world?

- What kind of practices do we need to share together in order to become something else together?


ELIA-Islanded Practice-Based Literary Research?


Elina Mikkilä


The ELIA Artistic Research Platform Meeting 2020 gave rise to the recently published pamphlet Unislanding Artistic Research. A Decolonial Dialogue. In this report, the field of “literature and text-based art” is acknowledged as one of the disciplinary islands in the artistic research archipelago.

All workshop participants are asked to download the relevant chapter and have it translated into their main (literary) writing language(s) by an automatic translating service – e. g. Google Translate – prior to the session.

Despite the informative tone of the original text: Can we locate semantic or stylistic shifts in the multilingual space of the translations that help us deconstruct some of the assumptions about “literature” as an artistic research practice voiced in the paper? A spontaneous association exercise will get us started.

Subsequently, we will have a look at the metaphors pertaining to insular imagery with the help of exegetical analysis: What do the translated figures of speech convey about possible ways to establish practice-based literary research as a truly decentralized practice? Are there any language-specific clues, considering that creative writing is traditionally organized in national philologies?

To wrap up, let us discuss whether practice-based literary research ought to “immediately set sail and connect with other harbours”: Should its practitioners be queuing for the ELIA archipelago – like immigrants entering an island whose name forms a phonetic minimal pair with the up-and-coming network, in quest for a more promising (English-speaking) life? Or is literature better off as a lonely island within artistic research, most optimally practiced in the ivory tower of the humanities departments?

NOTE TO ATTENDEES: Please download the text (left) and have it translated into your main (literary) writing language(s) by an automatic translating service – e. g. Google Translate – prior to the session.

Articulating Solitudes


Steve Dutton | Adelheid Mers




“The solitude of the work has as its primary framework the absence of any defining criteria. This absence makes it impossible ever to declare the work finished or unfinished. The work is without any proof, just as it is without any use. It can’t be verified. Truth can appropriate it, renown draws attention to it, but the existence it thus acquires doesn’t concern it. This demonstrability renders it neither certain nor real – does not make it manifest.” Maurice Blanchot. The Essential Solitude.


At the Affinities + Urgencies in Language-based Artistic Research event in December 2021, Steve Dutton issued a call, which, amongst other things asked “Do language based practices sit in direct contradiction to approaching or engaging with solitude by nature of language being something shared?” and "if (or which?) solitude(s) may be produced in the current moment, and beyond?”


In response, Adelheid Mers offered this variation: “What happens when we as artists, through any work of art, facilitate engagement with our own epistemic specificity, our innermost solitude, and what does that do for others?"


The conversation between Steve and Adelheid that followed led to a decision to enter into a more formal exchange facilitated by Mers’ The Braid Instrument.


During the Affinities + Urgencies event, Dutton and Mers will present edited video excerpts from that exchange, sharing thoughts from their experience and opening up to dialogue with others.


Words as Matter - Alchemical Operations on Words


Mariana Renthel | Anouk Hoogendoorn 


An open and shared conversation as an exploration of word possibilities: this conversation will be to explore the simple yet interesting realm of using words as matter. Understanding that quality as such could give place to “alchemical” operations that could imply the possibility of flexibility, dissection, merging, malleability, trans-lingua and in-betweens, and speculations as welcomed operations to be used while in the creation process.


In this session the main intention for this conversation will be to explore the affinities between perception, writing as graphism or drawing, the opportunities regarding operations on wording to further on understanding and poetic capabilities that could lead to creation or implementation of those operations or methods as an artistic practice. This session will then consist of an introduction of the subject and further explorations of conceived works and notes on our works and strategies, as we bring concepts and discussions to the conversation, hoping to hold the space for others on this assisting forum in an active collaboration.