Texts

1.

 Text for the exhibition: Coincidence or a Method, CoCa Toruń, 1-11.03.2012

Questions about the meaning of creation and its driving forces should be even though they not always are, important to anyone who sets out to make art in any form. Is art supposed to be intentional or should it happen by chance?  Many artists pay little attention to methods and ways in which they work. Is it because they are unaware of the importance of the process or reluctant to reflect upon it, or perhaps this apparent lack of method provides, in fact, adequate means for achieving an artistic objective?

Is effort expended on creating a bad work of art insignificant? Is it true that effective solution of a problem overshadows the amount of effort devoted to working towards it?  What is the significance of time, good intentions, attempts and enthusiasm to producing a work of art? What hides behind the product, what are artistic intentions? Which is more important: artistic attitude and idea, consistency and persistence or the final product, i.e. the work of art? What role do viewers occupy? Do they expect a finished product?  Is that their privilege to have it?

This is but a choice of questions which can be asked within the context of chance versus method in artistic creation and self-reflection in art. On March 1, artist initiating PRZEprojekt are going to shed light on significant constituents of artistic work: planning, thinking, perceiving and observing. Bringing creative process into focus they are going to open a unique kind of dialogue promoting empathy and compassion between viewers and creator, or art.

Przypadek czy metoda. Tekst napisany do wystawy CSW Toruń, 1 – 11.03.2012

Pierwszą odsłoną przestrzeni działania PRZEprojektu stanie się wystawa poruszająca tematykę aktu twórczego. Pytanie o to, czym jest twórczość i jakie są jej przyczyny powinno być, choć nie zawsze jest, pytaniem istotnym dla każdego, kto podejmuje trud jakiegokolwiek artystycznego działania. Procesem twórczym nazywa się proces psychiczny prowadzący do wytworzenia nowej oraz wartościowej idei albo dzieła. Według profesora Józefa Kozieleckiego twórczość to specyficzny rodzaj transgresji, czyli przekraczania granic. Czy więc w sztuce istotna jest intencjonalność czy może jednak przypadek? Olbrzymi obszar działalności artysty? Proces twórczy, który w istocie przyczynił się do tego, że dany przedmiot lub projekt wygląda tak, a nie inaczej jest na ogół kwestią marginalizowaną. Fakt ten często jest świadomym wynikiem działania artysty, który swoimi pracami przenosi akcent na problem, jaki ma zostać dzięki nim poruszony. Często jednak i sami artyści nie przywiązują większej uwagi do tego jak pracują. Czy jest to wynik ich niewiedzy bądź braku autorefleksji, a może ten pozorny brak metody, jest właśnie metodą właściwą, odpowiednim środkiem do osiągnięcia artystycznego celu? Proces myślowy, przygotowania, inspiracje, często subiektywne przeżycia i wrażenia, wybór narzędzia, a także przypadek, metoda w działaniu bądź jej brak, są jednak sprawami w twórczości istotnymi, którym warto przyjrzeć się uważniej. I tu pojawia się szereg pytań co tak naprawdę w twórczości jest ważne i na ile wart podkreślenia jest sam proces twórczy?

Czy np. trud włożony w stworzenie nieudanego dzieła jest trudem nieistotnym? Czy słuszne jest powszechne twierdzenie, że nieważne jak wiele wysiłku i pracy włożyło się w rozwiązanie problemu, ale znaczący jest fakt, że został on rozwiązany? Jakie znaczenie ma czas, dobre chęci, trud i zapał włożony w realizację pracy? Co tak naprawdę stoi za wytworem twórcy, jakie są jego intencje? Czy ważniejsza jest postawa artysty, jego idea, twórcza konsekwencja i upór w działaniu, czy raczej produkt końcowy w postaci dzieła sztuki? Jaka jest rola widza? Czy nie nazbyt często oczekuje on właśnie gotowego? produktu? A może jest to jego przywilej i prawo? Co tak naprawdę znaczy twierdzenie, że każdy może być artystą, ale nie wszystkich prace, chcemy oglądać czy słuchać oraz kto i kogo tak naprawdę ogląda tu i słucha? To tylko część z licznych pytań, które można zadać, zastanawiając się nad kwestiami przypadków i metod w twórczości oraz (auto)refleksyjności w sztuce.

1 marca artyści, rozpoczynając pracę nad PRZEprojekt postarają się przybliżyć problem ważnych dla twórczości działań: planowania, myślenia, postrzegania i obserwacji, a poprzez zwrócenie uwagi na proces twórczy, postarają się stworzyć ten niezwykły rodzaj dialogu, empatii i współodczuwania między odbiorcą, a twórcą, jakim jest sztuka.

2.

The production of knowledge in artistic research by Henk Borgdorff. 

Notes by Magda Wegrzyn

The text written by Henk Borgdorff examines the term artistic research as a form of knowledge from various perspectives. The author highlights the fact that the term artistic research connects two domains: art and academia. He underlines the specific border violation which as a process can be good for both of them. He introduces the term artistic development and claims that artistic research conduce to development of the art. Borgdoff is taking into account that in a debate, the distinction between art practice on itself and art practice as a research is a matter of discussion.

In the first section he introduces us to the problem how we can understand artistic research through art practice. He distinguishes four specific aspects of artistic research: subject, method, context and outcome. He notices differences between research on the arts, for the arts and research in the arts. In this section he gives us also conjectural definition of an artistic research which is: ’artistic research – embedded in artistic and academic contexts – is the articulation of the unreflective, non conceptual content enclosed in aesthetic experiences, enacted in creative practices and embodied in artistic products.’

In the second section he is trying to explain a similarities and differences between artistic research and other academics disciplines in which the research are made such us: humanities, aesthetics, social science, and science and technology. The third part deals with the questions if artistic research can be regarded as academic research. He is marking out the terms such us: 1. Intent. 2. Knowledge and understanding, 3. Questions, issues problems and method, 5. Context, 6. Documentation and dissemination. When it comes to discussing the last part we can notice dealing which such terms us non – conceptualism where ‚part of the significance and singularity of artistic research seems to lie in its appraisal and articulation of this pre – reflective knowledge as embodied in art practices and products.’

I consider this statement especially useful when we start talking about a painting. When he writes about realism I am also thinking about painting as a medium. Medium which – when looking on it seems to me to be a real and an unreal in the same time. Painting as both fiction and reality. This is also connected with the third emphasized by Borgdoff term: contingency on which painting as a medium must be prepared for. In conclusion, after reading the text we can notice that it is not easy task to deal with the term artistic research and thereby with the question what do we mean by it. Although Henk Borgdorff is considering the artistic research in the context of an academia I think that artistic research does not need an institutional framework of academy and it can be legitimized in a different way. I think that the academia is one possible option and the artistic research can be made within different kind of institution, systems, structures. An academia as a place – depending on artist’s needs can stimulates his idea, give a place for discussion and collaboration. I think that is also worth to keep in mind that an artist is a part of reality, society it is part of the world’ s here and now and depending on the place where he/she lives/works, it is a part of where. It is part of the structure. The artist is no more a sole genius working alone according to the romantic tradition but as part of institutionalized world must to learn how to collaborate or maybe I should use the word deal with this fact. An academia as a system, as a structure can be such place for collaboration. I also think that an academia as an institution should learn/ should be able to know how to deal with another non academic researchers.

 Borgdorff, Henk, The Production of Knowledge in Artistic Research. In: Michael Biggs and Henrik Karlsson (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts, London and New York: Routledge, 2010, pp. 44-63.

3.

Robin Nelson’s:  Practice as Research in the Arts: Principles, Protocols, Pedagogies, Resistances. 1

Notes by Magda Wegrzyn

The Introduction: The What, Where, When and Why of ‚Practice as Research (p. 3: 22) Practice as Research by Robin Nelson can be understood as: ,,(…) research project in which practice is a key method of inquiry and where in respect of the arts, a practice (…) is submitted as substantial evidence of a research inquiry”(p.9). According to Nelson who agrees in this matter with Schipper not every artistic practice is the research (p.8). From this points he stays in tune with Borgdoff who is making a distinction between art practice on itself and art practice as a research. 2 Nelson notices that for this situation the crucial question is ,,how art practices which constitute research differ from those which do not” (p.9) especially when ,,artworks, and other material practices, are often very complex, resonant and multi layered, while the articulation of research inquiry needs to be as clear as possible” (p.10) The author stays also that: ,,the suggestion that writing may be helpful is not to demand a verbal account of the practice, and certainly not to require a transposition of the practice into words” (p.11). Nelson in his text is looking for ,,a resonance between complementary writing and the praxis3 itself” (p.11) and he writes about ,,additional ways of articulating and evidencing the research inquiry” (p.11) This seems to me reasonable. According to the author ,,it is possible to make a significant distinction between documentation ( by way of translation) of a practice and documentation of a research inquiry based in practice.”( p.6) In second chapter the author formulates ,,a model in which different types of evidence arising from a multi mode research inquiry can be effectively mobilized. (The chapter) shows how ‚know- how’ combined with ‚know- what’ in relation to ‚know that’ maximizes the potential to knowledge which ’academic’ research entails.” (p.20) Also in this part he writes about a distinction between: ,,personal research - involves finding out, and sifting, what is known, professional research - involves networking, finding sources and collating information and academic research - involves conducting a research inquiry to establish new knowledge” (p.25) Nelson coins the term ‚complementary writing’ which purpose is according to him ,,not transpose the artwork from its own medium into that of words. ” (p.36) but he on the other hand he claims that ,,Research in the arts needs however, to demonstrate a rigour equivalent to that of the sciences” (p.39) because it is not sufficient to say ,,that knowing in arts is personal, embodied and tacit” (p.39) He quote van Gelder and Baetens sentence that: ‚the research methods of the hard sciences are closer to those of research in the arts than the methods and models of the humanities” (p.40) and claims that ,,the attempt to make tacit knowledge more explicit involves a process of dynamic movement from the closeness of subjectivity to a greater distance, if not quite achieving objectivity as traditionally conceived”. (p.20) Praxis according to Nielson: ,,theory embraced within practice” ( p.5), (more p. 40)

 For me text made by Nelson is quite clear. I see thought some risk which may appear if we try to apply it to strict. I am specifically worried about art made in academic environment and artist which might turn into ‚academic’ artist (with bad connotations of this word) if they follow his model to strictly. I am a little be worried also when he writes that: ,,On rare occasions I do believe the practice alone my evidence a research inquiry. But an artwork cannot take account of the context(s) in which it might be experienced” (p. 36) Pointing the question toward this sentence I wonder how rare may be the rare occasions? Is it not possible to artwork to place itself in meta-level position? I think thought it is. He is writing also about documentations and evidences. Speaking about evidencing putting me in unpleasant situation that I must defend myself if my PaR is enough ‚academic’ PaR one. Thinking about the bureaucracy in context of the academy I was trying to make my point by making a connection to the victim and perpetrator situation. Here I would like to make some clarification. The situation from where I come from vary differently from situations states by Nelson. I understand thought that Nelson is writing about doc. new knowledge as a result of PaR as inquiry and that his intention are good. In my university bureaucracy as general (not the one connected with doc. PaR) is a huge problem, what is is still a relict of past time and communism. Lack of trust and all-pervading invigilation change mentality of many representatives of polish intelligence. As an example I can say that sill very popular are sign paper forms: ‚podanie’ in which student kindly ask a clerk or a professor for a permission of doing something, by that I do not mean only big issues but even small daily one which sometimes appear in normal functioning of the institution. The hierarchy is evident and strong. The grade system occurs also for DFA level. On the other hand the word outside the academy is difficult for artist too. Polish art market is not as highly developed as in England. By joinig DFA community, despite of many inconveniences, the university is still the place of support for development of artistic practice production. For those one who have remembered the artist from this year polish Pavilon at Venice Biennale: Konrad Smolenski I would like to show his very early work when he still was a student: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dig7ct3vShs. It is good to see his work because it may put a little bit more light on the problem.

1 Borgdorff, Henk, The Production of Knowledge in Artistic Research. In: Michael Biggs and Henrik Karlsson (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts, London and New York: Routledge, 2010, pp. 44-63.

2 Nelson Robin, Practice as Research in the Arts: Principles, Protocols, Pedagogies, Resistances, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003

4.

Michael Baers Inside the Box: Notes From Within the European Artistic Research Debate.

Notes By Magda Wegrzyn, May 2014

I jumped up to run away, but something caught me from behind, a kind of hook which dragged me back, and there I was, caught by my childish, schoolboy’s little behind. It was my little behind that stopped me from moving, because of it I could not budge, and the master still sat there, and such an overwhelmingly, schoolmasterly spirit emanated from his posture that instead of crying out I raised my arm like a schoolboy in class.

Witold Gombrowicz, Ferdydurke

To start formulating my views about the text of Michael Bears I will begin from writing about its ending and particularly I will start from an important, visible above quote to which the author is referring. The quote comes from Witold Gombrowicz’s 1937 novel Ferdydurke and appears in the context of partially sleepless night on the attic floor of one of the seminar rooms of  the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna where he started doing his Ph.D. Unfortunately enough he was woke up by the guard of the institution, felt ashamed by the event and compared his situation to the fragment of the text from the novel. The author felt uncomfortable and embarrassed because he turned into someone who is upupiony as Gombrowicz deftly expressed it. The word upupiony is a neologism for necessities of the novel. However, the situation that the word expresses is nothing new. The word pupa in Polish means ass or its deminutivum, diminutive form. To be upupiony could mean to be treated like a small as. It is a way of imposing a role of someone who is subordinate and immature. To clarify a context a little bit better, Michael Baers was already an established artist who turned up into a student again. 

In philosophy to judge about the sentence - its logical construction, in order to know the truth, certain order of things have to appear. Certain order of things helps to ovoid paradoxes or tautology or even help in guiding our actions. This certain order of things seems to be visible as well in everyday life. As children we used to learn, as grown-ups we became masters and start to teach others. Apart from one really smart child prodigy girl, which I have seen couple weeks ago in TED conference talking about the issues how much we can learn from kids - this beautiful example is still an exception confirming the rule. That night was probably for MB a symptom of something that could be a mark of a twisted order of things.

In Harry’s Potter word regardless of the fact that is not an academic position, in the dialogue between three main characters a weighty sentence came up, mainly: the school is nothing like a real life, in school you can make mistakes, repeat your homework. In parallel, real life is more dangerous and the possibility of repetition considerably less. Dragons and other creatures may kill you and you should be prepared for that. Similar thought, albeit served in another form can be found in a poem of Wislawa Szymborska: Nothing twice which you could find below:

Nothing can ever happen twice.
In consequence, the sorry fact is
that we arrive here improvised
and leave without the chance to practice.

Even if there is no one dumber,
if you’re the planet’s biggest dunce,
you can’t repeat the class in summer:
this course is only offered once.

No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is

in precisely the same way,
with precisely the same kisses.

One day, perhaps some idle tongue
mentions your name by accident:
I feel as if a rose were flung
into the room, all hue and scent.

The next day, though you’re here with me,
I can’t help looking at the clock:
A rose? A rose? What could that be?
Is it a flower or a rock?

Why do we treat the fleeting day
with so much needless fear and sorrow?
It’s in its nature not to stay:
Today is always gone tomorrow.

With smiles and kisses, we prefer
to seek accord beneath our star,
although we’re different (we concur)
just as two drops of water are.

Here, I should probably write more precise about what exactly the text of Michael Bears is . However the fact is, that I do not know. It is maybe about disappointments, possibilities, his experiences in a Ph.D. program. Checking brochures of different Academies in the beginning of his process of applying. About how far- according to him - they are from reality when he is a student.

The text is maybe about a bunch of questions which he is posing as i.e. : ”What exactly had I gotten involved in by deciding to pursue a Ph.D. in art practice? What kind of institutional and discursive constructions was I becoming the subject of? Was the discourse and its situation within academia a positive development, or was there something more insidious at work? How might acceptance of the Ph.D. in art practice come to alter the broader workings of the art world, and if I were to be involved, was it to be as a willing subject or marginalized dissident?” (Bears 2012:03)

Or maybe his attitude toward relationship of art, science and academy where he writes: ”Like the changes in coloration an octopus effects to hide itself on a varicolored sea floor, art departments promote a conception of artistic knowledge as something quantifiable and socially beneficial in response to a perceived threat from national budgeting authorities.” (Bears 2012:10) and that according to him artistic research in relation to science is dubious.

Or maybe his view about discipline: ”Discipline, in its ambivalent definition as both a regimen of regulation and punishment and pedagogic method might be thought of in terms analogous to those Foucault used to define power – as a force “that traverses and produces things … forms knowledge, produces discourse.” (Bears 2012:09)

Or finally maybe about his concerns according to sentence from a chapter of Hannula, Suoranta, and Vaden’s ”Artistic Research in Practice” where they wrote that: ”The basic requirement for any research is that it has a clear objective and approach.” and he replys that: ”In my own modest experience, the artistic process is grounded in intuition and the inchoate, no matter how rational the eventual outcome may be” (Bears, 2012, 08), ”Clarifying one’s intentions is a process often realized through praxis, not antecedent to it.” (Bears 2012:08)

Probably it has it all.  For sure it has it all. However what it does not have  is an answer what he is going to do with all this  knowledge. I have read this highly critical text of MB and I am confused. Maybe it is not my buisness, but I wonder if he continued what he has begun… Is he in, outside or somewhere alse around the box…

5.

A Scholar creates a model based on the hypothesis, an artist – a hypothesis based on the model.  

Jurij Lotman (cited in Baginski, Francuz: 2007 : 41)

A Manifesto for Performative Research. Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, theme issue: Practice-led Research, by Brad Haseman.

Notes by Magda Wegrzyn

Brad Haseman in his text proposes a model of research called Performative one. He called it a third paradigm which is now coming into being. (p.1) He refers that most popular, however also hermetical are still quantitative and qualitative approaches toward making a research. According to him: quantitative research embraces a set of scientific, deductive approaches (..) (p.1) It deals with: measures and quantifies phenomena, constructing them in terms of frequency, distribution and cause and effect. The ultimate goal is to isolate principles which allow for a generalization of findings and the formulation of invariable laws. (p.1) He cites Shwandt according to whom the outcome of quantitative research appears usually in form of numbers, graphs, or formulas (p.3).

He states that qualitative methods operates quite differently. It prefers inductive approaches and necessarily encompasses a wide range of research strategies and methods (…). (p.3) Here the outcome deals with nonnumeric data in the form of words. (Schwandt, 2001: 213) (Haseman 2006 :3). As we can read further in Haseman text both quantitative and qualitative methodologies requires to address a problem and researchers are often asked to list the hypotheses to be tested. (p.3)

After that he stresses also out that many practice – led researchers do not commence a research project with a sense of ‚a problem’.'but their attitude is more familiar with an enthusiasm of practice. (p.3) Secondly their research outputs are often made, through the symbolic language and forms of their practice. (p.4) According to Haseman this is something which make qualitative (and maybe also quantitative) researchers s uncomfortable. (p.4) They feel, anxious about performance turn. (p.5) After that he recall possible understanding of the notion of ‚text’:

  • the way that any object or discourse whose function is communicative can be considered a text and quite opposite opinion

  • text refers to nonnumeric data in the form of words (Schwandt, 2001: 213). (p.5)

 He notices that, however, performative research represents something larger than the performance turn (which for many is a form of emancipatory action through embodied and enacted storytelling). This paper proposes that performative research represents a move which holds that practice is the principal research activity – rather than only the practice of performance – and sees the material outcomes of practice as all-important representations of research findings in their own right.  (p.7) Attending to the symbolic form of particular art works provides a powerful focus for the performative researcher (and their audience) as each symbol functions as a means to conceptualize ideas about aspects of reality, and also as a means of communicating what is known to others. Consequently, auditing a work is never neutral: never the simple gathering of sensory impressions. (p.8-9)