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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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Foreword by Juha Varto


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Recently, a colleague suggested to me that we should stop talking about the different types of knowing and admit, or even emphatically argue, that in art we are dealing with something that is “otherwise than knowing.” This remark shed light on an issue that was partly clouded and partly lit: why is it important to so many that art remain art, and why are so many interested in doing research that is based on artistic activity and that takes seriously art’s own way of operating, its manifestations and methods of conveying something to others, either through whispers, screams or discussions?

If we approach the issue from the point of view of the critique of knowledge, it is certain that the concentration on knowledge according to the programme of the Enlightenment has, to a certain extent, clarified, simplified and crystallised our view of how everything works. At the same time, it has removed from our vision a great number of phenomena, only because they cannot, for some reason, be introduced as objects of knowledge or as their part, as our view of knowledge is exclusive and restrictive. Exclusiveness and restrictiveness are what have given knowledge its special power: claims that cannot be either falsified or proven coherent with something that is certainly known do not qualify as knowledge.

We know from music that certain sounds are not in themselves discernible or meaningful, but their absence from among the other sounds would...

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