New
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Friday 11/21

Six Degrees Residency: Introducing Janna Graham

by Taraneh Fazeli, Six Degrees Editor and Education Associate, tagged with Six Degrees Resident, Museum as Hub, R&D Season, Fieldwork, Pedagogy, Janna Graham, Taraneh Fazeli, Para-sites like us
Cover Image:

Members of Implicated Theatre host “The Embassy Ball,” a participatory theater event based on the processes of Brazilian theater director Augusto Boal to celebrate the closing of the Centre for Possible Studies at its location on Gloucester Place, London, in February 2013. “The Embassy Ball” was about the relationship between bourgeois cultural and political agents and migrant workers, and engaged the enabling conditions of the group itself.

Six Degrees recently initiated a new residency in which the publication’s editors invite a cultural practitioner—artist, curator, critic, historian, writer, poet, educator, etc.—to develop a research project that is informed by critical epistemologies and materializes transformative forms of social knowledge. In consultation with Six Degrees editors, residents identify and tackle a concern they feel pressing in light of their current work within (or alongside) the field of contemporary art and the context of a museum. Whether taken as an opportunity to further develop a line of inquiry central to their work or to flesh out traces they have not yet been able to fully investigate, these residencies are designed to provide support for such emerging ideas by drawing from the current R&D structure of the Museum’s Education and Public Engagement Department. Emphasizing process over product, the R&D framework foregrounds artistic research by putting it alongside analytic research of other forms by a range of authors. It enables diverse publics and thinkers to engage with each other through various modes of presentation such as exhibitions, archival presentations, performances, screenings, artist residencies, publications (online and in print), postgraduate study seminars, after-school programs for teens, and Family Day activities.

Artistic research methods, traditionally understood as intersubjective, qualitative, process-based, experimental, experiential, intuitive,1 and often cross/trans/intra/interdisciplinary, have long been put in opposition to scientific methodologies, which value thoroughly substantiated inductive reasoning in the service of the incremental advancement of knowledge. While countering such dichotomous thinking and accounting for art’s historical engagement with forms of scientific knowledge such as geometry, physics, optics, and natural sciences, it must also be noted that this history is still distinct from art production as research itself.2 Recently, a focus on the value of artistic research in opposition to positivist thinking can be witnessed in the wealth of discourse and programming that has developed around the idea over the past twenty years, including new arts organizations, conferences, books, and dedicated journals (see the Additional Materials section below for a round-up). This corresponds to the cohering of artistic research as an academic discipline evidenced in the recent proliferation of research-based or practice-based MFA and PhD programs,3 which can be partially attributed to the standardization of education resulting from the contentious Bologna Process as a part of broader political and social reformations across Europe in the past fifteen years.4 What is clear when reviewing these materials is that, while there are a number of models as of late—all with different underlying attitudes about art, its function, and what constitutes knowledge—there is no general consensus as to what constitutes artistic research, or what we are to expect from it (i.e. how its methodologies and processes are to be measured in relation to its outcomes).

Artist Hito Steyerl has claimed that an “institutionalization of artistic research” has resulted that can be understood “as being complicit with new modes of production within cognitive capitalism: commodified education, creative and affective industries, administrative aesthetics, and so on.”5 Recognizing the implications of this pressurized environment within the cultural field, we endeavor to provide institutional support for various forms of emergent thinking in relation to art’s position in culture and society without creating a normative frame for doing so. A direct play on the now-standard product development theories and practices in corporate production—what is known as research and development (R&D) in the US and research and technical development (RTD) in Europe—our R&D framework intervenes in the structure of a contemporary art museum and in the role of an education department to carve out spaces and occasions for provisional thinking and oppositional temporalities. Its corporate counterpart makes similar claims to speculative thinking in that corporations’ scientific research departments are based less on fulfilling existing market needs or customer demands than creating markets through innovation; furthermore, they approach production of “newness” and “innovation” ultimately in the service of higher profits and capital.

By supporting the development of the Six Degrees residents’ ideas-in-process, which come out of their own lived experiences but are also inextricable from broader urgencies in the field of art, Six Degrees residencies are a form of fieldwork: qualitative self-reflexive research done in real time “outside” of the studio, the museum, or the field of art. This definition of fieldwork emphasizes praxis, departing from the idea that there is a necessary interdependency of theory and action, which calls for a continuous transformation of societal relationships in terms of one’s values and understanding of the world—a process that is inherently political.

Janna Graham presents at “Truth is concrete,” Graz, Austria, 2012. Courtesy Steirischer Herbst

The UK-based educator, researcher, curator, and organizer Janna Graham is our first Six Degrees resident. Originally trained as a geographer, Graham has initiated and collaborated on a number of pedagogical, artistic, and research projects inside and outside of the arts. From 2008 to 2014 she was Projects Curator at the Serpentine Gallery where she initiated and worked with others to create the Centre for Possible Studies, an artistic residency, research space, and popular education program in the Edgware Road neighborhood of London, in which artists, local residents, students, and workers develop “studies of the possible” in response to social inequalities in the surrounding area. At the Serpentine Gallery, she has also developed the project Skills Exchange: Urban Transformation and the Politics of Care, a three-year program of artists working in the context of elderly care that culminated in Art+Care: a Future (Cologne: Walther König, 2013). She has been an educator, researcher, and curator at institutions such as the Art Gallery of Ontario; the Whitechapel Gallery, London; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands; and Plymouth Art Centre, England. Graham is a member of the ten-person international sound and political collective Ultra-red.

I first came to know Janna Graham’s varied body of work when I traveled to a performance festival in September of 2012 with W.A.G.E. (Working Artists in the Greater Economy), an activist group focused on regulating the payment of artist fees, where she was presenting on behalf of Ultra-red. Steirischer herbst [Styrian Autumn], a nomadic art and performance festival in the city of Graz, Austria, was founded in 1968 by a transdisciplinary avant-garde and has long been known for commissioning artworks that confront political histories in public spaces. For example, the 1988 edition, “The Guilt and Innocence of Art,” made reference to Hitler’s annexation of Austria fifty years earlier by inviting artists to make work in spaces that were notable for their use under the Nazi regime: Graz’s City Hall, Gestapo police headquarters, Hitler Youth centers, and squares where Nazi rallies were held, among other sites. Conceptual artist Hans Haacke’s contribution that year, And You Were Victorious After All, dealt with this history by recreating a victory column that was first installed in ’38 around a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary to commemorate the city of Graz as a Nazi stronghold. Despite the stationing of a guard in the city square that the artwork occupied, a week prior to its removal the project was firebombed (presumably by neo-Nazis), damaging Haacke’s artwork beyond repair and also melting the original religious statue.

Chto Delat [What is to be done?] warm-up at “Truth is concrete,” Graz, Austria, 2012. Photo: Taraneh Fazeli

For the 2012 edition that Graham and I attended, dramaturge and curator Florian Malzacher organized a “24-hour, 7-day marathon camp” in multiple locations across Graz. Named after a phrase (that quotes Lenin, quoting Hegel, quoting Augustine) posted above Marxist poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht’s desk when he was in exile in Denmark, “Truth is concrete” emphasized praxis in the production of political and social knowledge or action. The festival was conceived of as a temporary community of international artists, activists, and theorists, all working and living together for a week in order to develop useful strategies and tactics for contemporary art and politics. Structured as a leftist sleep-away-camp-cum-work-camp with a cafeteria and dormitory in the center of the festival’s compound designed by raumlaborberlin, the festival intended to facilitate discourse that would lead more directly to action; this objective was interpreted by some participants as an improvement over the reduction of political practices in that summer’s Berlin Biennial. However, murmurs of dissatisfaction with the organizational structure rippled throughout the week. The curatorial statement articulated the idea that “Having to miss is part of having to make choices,” but the 24/7 marathon structure in some ways reproduced the worst parts of cognitive capital (not unlike the pressure of a corporate hackathon). And, while a hundred young artists and activists were flown in and given travel grants, making it possible for participants of different ages and economic statuses from far-flung locations to come, the fact that “contributors” were housed in offsite hotels and “grant holders” were housed onsite in the dormitories produced strange social hierarchies. Furthermore, the programming of the theoreticians and big-name artists in the main “Black Box” and the smaller projects or tactical workshops in the “White Box” on the compound’s periphery simultaneously meant that the festival had a schism, that it had two primary “audiences”: one comprised of theoreticians, academics, and well-known artists, and another of educators and activist-artists.

“Truth is concrete,” Graz, Austria, 2012. View of building designed by raumlaborberlin. Photo: Taraneh Fazeli

Graham had come to the festival not only to present as a representative of Ultra-red but also as a member of the Precarious Workers Brigade (PWB). PWB is a UK-based group of unprotected and poorly paid workers in culture and education, that, in spite of the limits of the context, decided to seize the opportunity presented by the gathering to convene a series of meetings between various members of ArtLeaks, Chto Delat, W.A.G.E., PWB, Enemies of Good Art, and other activist groups invested in a shared struggle across the globe. These groups all organize around the reform of arts institutions through work that involves participatory research and direct action. For example, Enemies of Good Art seeks to change the dominant view of what it means to be an artist-parent by provoking debate and also by modeling what civil associations might look like via attempts to arrange semiformal childcare and communal studio spaces for artists. ArtLeaks, a collective online platform initiated by an international group of artists, curators, art historians, and intellectuals, shares authored and anonymous accounts of censorship, slander, and other forms of intimidation by arts institutions (and their representatives). While sometimes interpreted as self-interested gossip, ArtLeaks’ approach draws upon shaming techniques popularized by whistleblowers in various historical labor movements historically to speak truth to power, linking shared struggles and breaking through socially enforced hush-hush.

Rarely having the opportunity to meet in person, these various groups came together in a self-organized closed working group to share a terrain of struggle. While “Truth is Concrete” productively engaged with what an international arts biennial or festival can bring the fields of politics and art at this moment and, ultimately, was not a model requiring refusal, we did make the conscious decision to use our time there to leverage the fact that we got to be “inside” and “parasite” off the festival. In initiating a slightly different endeavor than those facilitated by short public meetings and talks, we were able to focus our attention on examining the on-the-ground research being done; for example, there was talk of whether it was possible to adapt W.A.G.E.’s survey for different locations, with differing government funding structures. We were also able to discuss how groups managed to sustain long-term partnerships with those outside the cultural field; for example, PWB’s members, which range from interns and students to educators and artists, have been working in solidarity with immigrant communities who are experiencing a different instability but are united under pressures of forced austerity in the UK. This small act of para-siting was the seed for continuing discussions with Graham about that very concept—para-siting—as a productive political program, or what she describes in her upcoming series introduction as the act of “attaching oneself to hegemonic (or, at the very least, deeply conflicted) hosts, attempting make good on the rhetoric of the critical and socially transformative power of art and the public.” The parasite has a long history in literature and critical theory, be it Michel Serres’s work, which grafts literary and scientific precedents onto systems theory, or writings on institutional critique in the cultural fields. Graham particularly draws upon a microbial analogy to examine the role of educators and pedagogical curators in “making good on culture’s claim to social transformation” affecting the institutions they draw resources from but with a primary aim to organize social change in other sites.

While the Education Department will support every resident’s research with resources that typically accompany such engagements (including financial reimbursement for intellectual labor, research assistance, editorial direction, circulation, and possible travel and local accommodations allowing for exposure to new communities and sites of engagement, etc.), the residency’s structure is intentionally malleable in order to take shape in accordance with each resident’s interests. In this instance, while our invitation to Graham was open and not predicated on enacting the para-sitical relation she examines, I can only hope that a by-product of this collaboration is an effect analogous to a good old-fashioned bloodletting, with her research into para-sitical relationships influencing form and setting the tone for what is possible in the future.

From left: Book cover of Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, trans. Myra Bergman Ramos (London: Pelican/Penguin Books Ltd, 1972); Book cover of Owen Kelly, Community, Art and the State: Storming the Citadels (London: Comedia, 1984); Book cover of Richard Cork, ed., Art for Whom? (London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1978)

PARA-SITES LIKE US

“Para-sites like us” is an ongoing research project initiated by Graham and will unfold, after a brief introduction, in four parts on Six Degrees. The first essay in this series, “What is this Para-sitic Tendency?,” which will be published in January, introduces a para-sitical condition as a potential coordinated political struggle, mapping the contemporary terrain of this political project under late neoliberalism in relation to social justice and institutional critique. Accompanied by a partial taxonomy of the para-site, where microbial definitions are offered in relation to their cultural counterparts, this essay traces a genealogy of the para-sitical condition by citing thinkers and examples of practices grounded in feminist and radical pedagogies and Community Arts practices in the UK.

In “What is at Stake in Para-sitic Projects?: Implicated in Conversation,” published in late January, Graham speaks with paid staff, artists, and so-called “community participants” involved in the Edgware Road Project in the process of deconstructing and reshaping their relationships to one another and to their host, the Serpentine Gallery. Departing from their lived experiences of this para-sitic condition, Graham and members of Implicated Theatre, a political performance group that developed through workshops at the Centre for Possible Studies, the Edgware Road Project’s base, grapple with the contradictions between their social commitments and their relationship to the Gallery.

The third part of this series will appear on Six Degrees early in the year in the format of a conversation with Ava Caradonna, the collective name used by the x:talk project, a sex-worker solidarity group that was in residence at the Centre for Possible Studies for five years. The group will ponder the potentials and pitfalls of the para-sitic position under the current conditions of crisis capitalism from a sex worker’s perspective.

Last in the series in March is “Exiting the Logic of the Host: A Call for a Manifesto of Para-site?” Based on the understanding that neoliberalism’s modes of inclusion have diminished the distance between the para-site and its host, and that such reinscription limits the efficacy of clandestine para-sitisim, Graham suggests that a breakdown of roles, increased solidarity, and more conflict and polarization have become necessary. Here she offers some potential next steps toward a future of politicized para-citism in the figure of the parasitoid that, as opposed to the para-site that sits quietly in the body of the host, organizes externally and takes it over.

A leaflet for “Songs of Struggle,” a benefit that took place in 1987 at New Inns Public House, Handsworth, England, in support of Handsworth Defense Campaign. Organized by Banner Theatre and Birmingham Trades Council Miners Support Group, it featured performances by Banner Theatre (the Song Group and Women’s Group), Baba Bakhtaura (a Punjabi folk singer), Kendell Smith (a dub poet), and the Keresley Pit Women (a Song Group).

ADDITIONAL MATERIALS

Below is a roundup of some of the discourse and programming that have developed around artistic practices as research in the past twenty years, from key articles on the subject to new arts organizations, conferences, books, and dedicated journals.

SHARE is an international network of thirty-nine partners—primarily graduate schools and research centers in Central Europe—that work together to enhance the doctoral level of artistic research and education in the region by building an “exchange network” for educators, supervisors, researchers and cultural practitioners across all arts disciplines. An acronym for Step-change for Higher Arts Research and Education (a “step-change” meaning “a major jump forward, a key moment of progress”), SHARE’s materials and mission language (evidenced in bullet-pointed “outcomes” on its website) espouses a positivist view on artistic research that seeks incremental and measurable advancement of knowledge within the artistic field. While the ongoing bibliography of publications and conferences about artistic research shared on its website is a useful resource that provides an overall idea about the makeup of the field, the organization’s standardizing and naturalizing impulse risks criticism that it conforms to the rise of the neoliberal order in European educational systems.

The ongoing bibliography is available for viewing here.

Artist and critic Michael Baers’s comprehensive overview of literature on the rise of art-practice-based PhD programs in the European context, on the other hand, takes a more deconstructive and critical approach to the topic than SHARE does. In “Inside the Box: Notes from within the European Artistic Research Debate,” published on e-flux journal in June, 2011, Baers offers an examination of the now-normative discipline of artistic research through firsthand accounts of his own experience participating in the PhD-in-Practice program at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna and close readings of related discourses and structures that have recently emerged. In addition to problematizing the invocation of scientificity in artistic research, he addresses how scientificity originates partially from the project of European integration, which is not so distinct from the neoliberal reform of European educational institutions. In the fifth section of this text, entitled “Continental Drifting,” he also comments on the differing legacies of American and European arts pedagogy.

Read the full article here.

CONFERENCES

EARN (European Artistic Research Network) was established in 2004 as a network of artists, educators, researchers, and ten European host institutions. The network operates through various activities and events, including international working-group meetings, seminars, symposia, conferences, winter school programs, exhibitions, and publications.

In May 2014, EARN collaborated with GradCAM (the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media) of Dublin Institute of Technology on a two-day conference entitled “Thinking on Stage,” which brought together scholars, students, and researchers to discuss the current artistic research in performance.

In 2012, Documenta 13 hosted a two-part conference “On Artistic Research” in collaboration with the Art Academy Network, a network of artists and students developed between Documenta 13 and art schools throughout Europe.

Along with members of EARN and the faculty members of Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano (NABA) and Oslo Academy of Fine Art, the participating curators, artists, and writers discussed the meaning of artistic research and its tools, methodologies, presuppositions, and its possible future.

In Spring 2011, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) organized a lecture series titled “Collision 2: When Artistic and Scientific Research Meet” as part of the AR—Artistic Research project. A collaborative project between ACT and Siemens Stiftung, Munich, AR produced a series of exhibitions, lectures, symposia, and a publication in which artists and scientists from different disciplines addressed the points of encounter between the fields of art, architecture, science, and technology through a collection of texts and visual contributions, discussions, methods, manifestos, and metaphors. AR (London: Koenig Books, 2013) was edited by former ACT Director Ute Meta Bauer and Austrian curator and art historian Thomas D. Trummer and features artists György Kepes, founder of the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS); Attila Csörgö; Laurent Grasso; Guillermo Faivovich & Nicolás Goldberg; Florian Dombois; as well as Gediminas Urbonas, ACT Professor; and Nader Tehrani, Head of MIT’s Department of Architecture.

Watch the lectures here on MIT TechTV.

BOOKS

Art and Artistic Research: Music, Visual Art, Design, Literature, Dance (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), edited by Corina Caduff, Fiona Siegenthaler, and Tan Wälchli, is a collection of eighteen essays on artistic research across various disciplines, including performing arts, design, music, and literature, into which, they argue, the research-based approach to art practice popularized in recent years in the visual arts has since permeated. Divided into four sections titled “Art and/as Research,” “Disciplines,” “Artists’ View,” and “Places, Projects, Universities,” the publication includes critical essays by composer Germán Toro-Pérez, critic and literary translator Johan Öberg, and choreographer Efva Lilja, among others. The essays attempt to elucidate possible distinctions between artistic research and conventional art practice and explore what it means to the art world at large to approach art-making from the point of view that “An artist begins a project by acting as more of a researcher than an artist, and only once he’s acquired a detailed understanding of a particular topic does he begin the more commonly understood practice of making art.”

Read more about the book here.

Jointly authored by Mika Hannula, Juha Suoranta, and Tere Vadén, Artistic Research—Theories, Methods, and Practices (Gothenberg and Helsinki: Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki and University of Gothenberg/ArtMonitor, 2005) was published as “the first full-length focused methodological analysis” of the newly emerging academic discipline of artistic research. Encompassing discussions around its theoretical background, methods, and practices, along with guidelines for conducting research and case studies, the publication presents itself as “an extensive manual” for those interested in the subject. Theoretically, the book suggests two metaphors—“democracy of experience” and “methodological diversity”—as a possible “mature, intelligible, and coherent” starting point for artistic research, stressing its inherently interdisciplinary, anarchistic, and scientific nature.

The book is available online here.

JOURNALS

Journal for Artistic Research (JAR) is a peer-reviewed online journal published by the Society for Artistic Research, which is a nonprofit organization established in 2010 to facilitate “identification, publication, and dissemination of artistic research and its methodologies, from all arts disciplines.” JAR is published in an electronic form exclusively, encouraging the incorporation of image, audio, and video formats into the research documents, which the journal refers to as “expositions.”

Visit the website for JAR here.

From 2006 to 2011, the MFA program of the Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design (MaHKU) published ten issues of MaHKUzine, a biannual journal that addressed topical issues around artistic research across disciplines of visual art, editorial design, fashion design, interior design, and public-space design.

Read the full issues here.

The June 2011 issue of the German arts quarterly Texte Zur Kunst was dedicated to the subject of artistic research, critically examining the status and role of a scientific approach in artistic practice. In addition to providing a survey of related PhD programs and networks, the issue includes statements and critical essays from artists and scholars, such as Stephan Dillemuth, James Elkins, Tom Holert, and Thomas Locher, which probe questions such as:

“What opportunities and risks are connected to the institutionalization of artistic research in a neo-liberal system of output control and performance records?”

“How do the [artists] themselves view their practice, operating in the field of tension between artistic autonomy and institutional guidelines or expectations?”

“Which methods does artistic research follow, and where do ambivalent conditions between empowerment and instrumentalization in the name of research become particularly tangible?”

The issue is partially available here.

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS

According to American art historian, critic, and educator James Elkin’s observation in the SHARE Handbook for Artistic Research Education (SHARE ebook, 2013), now approximately 280 institutions around the world offer the arts-based PhD. The first doctoral degree was offered in artistic practice in 1997, when the program for Doctorate in Fine Arts at Finnish Academy of Fine Arts was established.

Read more about the program here.

Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna, an arts academy whose history spans more than three hundred years, launched its PhD-in-Practice program in 2010. The program, while privileging the concept of arts-based research informed by critical epistemologies, from feminism to postcolonialism to postmarxism, grounds itself in a perceived history of research in the arts “which has been developed in dialog with an array of different fields, including academia, activism, high art as much as pop and subculture.”

Visit the website for the program here.

Newcastle University in London offers MPhils and PhDs as research degrees in Fine Art in support of both theoretical and studio-based practice and research. Its website provides recent statistics from the national UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and asserts that 85 percent of its research “was rated ‘internationally excellent’ or better, placing [it] in the top five of all UK art schools.”

Read more about the program here.

Beginning in 2009, University of California San Diego (UCSD) has provided one of the first PhD programs concentrated on art practice in the US. Since the program is structured as part of the larger PhD program in Art History, Theory, and Criticism, rather than as an independent program, it requires that degree candidates fulfill the same academic requirements as other PhD students, including two to three years of academic coursework, language exams, a formal qualifying exam, and a dissertation prospectus.

Read more about the program here.

In the third chapter of Artists with PhDs (Washington, DC: New Academia Publishing, 2009), Elkins, the book’s author, provides a list of PhD programs for art practitioners around the world. In addition to the list of schools in Europe and the United States on which the recent discourse on artistic research is primarily focused, it includes schools in Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, China, Japan, and Africa that offer PhDs in artistic practice.

Read the chapter online here.

EDUCATIONAL ISSUES

A collective of artists, designers, designers, makers, technologists, curators, architects, educators, and analysts, BFAMFAPhD recently published a report on the lives of arts graduates and working artists entitled “Artists Report Back.” Analyzing data about artists’ demographics, occupations, educational attainment, field of degree, and earnings as recorded by the United States Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey (ACS), the report makes a pointed statement about the contradictions that underlie the current condition of working artists and arts graduates—namely, between the growing imperative for higher education in the arts and the unprecedented amount of debt that burdens arts graduates and the increasing impediments to certain races and classes that ensue. From their FAQ: “Loan officers insist that art students can afford art school tuition, repaying student loans over time by working in the arts. This is not our experience. We wanted to know: What is the impact of rent, debt, and precarity on working artists and arts graduates nationally?” BFAMFAPhD’s project is currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum as part of its exhibition, “Crossing Brooklyn.”

View BFAMFAPhD’s written report, animated video, and interactive website here.

Read BFAMFAPhD’s full report here.

Interact with national data from the US Census here.

The March 2010 issue of e-flux journal was organized to discuss the roots and effects of neoliberal cultural strategies and educational reform across Europe, largely initiated by the Bologna Accord of 1999 in which twenty-nine European countries agreed to work toward comparability in quality and standards in higher education. This special issue was guest-edited by Irit Rogoff, Professor of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, whose text “Turning,” published earlier in 2008 by e-flux journal, influenced the critical discourse around so-called “educational turn” in curating and arts production. A contribution by Nora Sternfeld, Professor of Practice at Aalto University, Finland, entitled “Unglamorous Tasks: What Can Education Learn from its Political Traditions?” proposes a possible way of thinking about education that questions its traditional task of knowledge reproduction and value-coding. Artists Nicolas Siepen and Åsa Sonjasdotter’s “Learning by Doing: Reflections on Setting Up a New Art Academy” discusses the structures, ideas, and challenges behind self-organized initiatives that have arisen in recognition of the inadequacy of standardized institutional structures.

Read Rogoff’s “Turning” essay here.

Read the “Bologna” issue of e-flux journal here.



1 Artist and educator Hakan Topal investigated the intuitive and affective dimensions to artistic research in his contribution to the Museum’s glossary-building exercise around social practices, “Whose Terms?” on Six Degrees. Topal, Hakan, “Whose Terms? A Glossary for Social Practice: RESEARCH,”<http://www.newmuseum.org/blog/view/whose-terms-a-glossary-for-social-practice-research> (accessed Oct. 1, 2014).

2 Kathrin Busch observed, in her article “Artistic Research and the Poetics of Knowledge,” that “The use of research in the visual arts or using theoretical knowledge to develop artistic work is by no means a contemporary phenomenon. Scientific knowledge, such as optics, color theory, anatomy, natural science, physics, geometry, and physiology are absorbed by artists as a matter of course and are reflected in their artwork…. Referencing science was also common in the twentieth century, in, for example, the reference to psychoanalysis in surrealist painting, to phenomenology in minimal art, or to linguistics in conceptual art.”

Busch, Kathrin, Art and Research: A Journal of Ideas, Contexts, and Methods (Volume 2. No. 2. Spring 2009), <http://www.artandresearch.org.uk/v2n2/busch.html> (accessed Oct. 1, 2014).

3 Baers, Michael, “Inside the Box: Notes from within the European Artistic Research Debate,” e-flux journal (June 2011)<http://www.e-flux.com/journal/inside-the-box-notes-from-within-the-european-artistic-research-debate/> (accessed Oct. 1, 2014).

4 e-flux journal # 14; “Bologna: Education Actualized” (March 2010), <http://www.e-flux.com/journal/%E2%80%9Ceducation-actualized%E2%80%9D-%E2%80%93-editorial/> (accessed Oct. 1, 2014).

5 Hito Steyerl, “Aesthetics of Resistance?: Artistic Research as Discipline and Conflict,” eipcp.net (January 2010), <http://eipcp.net/transversal/0311/steyerl/en> (accessed Oct. 1, 2014).

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