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Artistic Research Methodology

Narrative, Power and the Public


Mika Hannula, Juha Suoranta and Tere Vadén

Artistic Research Methodology argues for artistic research as a context-aware and historical process that works inside-in, beginning and ending with acts committed within an artistic practice. An artistic researcher has three intertwined tasks. First, she needs to develop and perfect her own artistic skills, vision and conceptual thinking. This happens by developing a vocabulary for not only making but also writing and speaking about art. Second, an artistic researcher has to contribute to academia and the «invisible colleges» around the world by proposing an argument in the form of a thesis, a narrative; and in so doing helping to build a community of artistic research and the bodies of knowledge these communities rely on. Third, she must communicate with practicing artists and the larger public, performing what one could call «audience education». There is no way of being an engaged and committed partner in a community without taking sides, without getting entangled in issues of power. Consequently, the methodology of artistic research has to be responsive both to the requirements of the practice and the traditions of science. Here the embedded nature of the knowledge produced through artistic research becomes evident. Artistic Research Methodology is essential reading for university courses in art, art education, media and social sciences.
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3. Back to the Future: Democracy of Experiences, Methodological Abundance and Verbalization


The point of the metaphor of “democracy of experiences” is not to claim that in fact different types or areas of experience are equipotential when approaching a given phenomenon. It is certainly true that all kinds of psychological, social and economic conditioning affects how we interpret and contextualize anything we encounter. It is hard not to give greater emphasis to knowledge of physics than to knowledge of cooking when building a bridge. Hard, but not impossible. Likewise, it is hard not to use some kind of aesthetic criteria when addressing an exhibition. We habitually do, in fact, give more credence to certain types of criteria when approaching certain types of experience. Moreover, there is sometimes good reason to do so. The metaphor is not intended to deny either of these two facts.

Rather, the metaphor tries to point out that there is the possibility of putting the conditioning in brackets and of accepting that different areas of experience—also unexpected ones—may have something interesting to say. Striving toward that possibility is not frivolous play. To be pathetic: if we knew for certain what life is about, what is its so-called meaning, then we could, in principle, be sure about how to prioritize different kinds of experience and how to let one area of experience (let’s say biological knowledge of survival or practical knowledge of meditation) legislate over the others. But insofar as we do not know this, we should, in principle, be open to the...

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