Thursday, 13 October 2016

Artistic Research - Thoughts on its relationship to Scientific Research

“Our contention is that the very fact that artistic research becomes commonplace will save us from the crushing weight of external ideals that are often alien to artistic research. This will give us the opportunity for a perhaps troublesome and even sticky path towards an increasingly mature and tolerant scientific-artistic culture. This was of defining scientific quality itself from the everyday viewpoint of research is quite a different matter than a methodological ‘guarantee of quality’.”

HANNULA. M & SUORANTA. J & VADEN. T, Artistic Research – Theories, Methods and Practices, 2005, Finland Cosmoprint Oy, Espoo page 15

Reflecting on what ‘artist research’ is I came across this paragraph in the above mentioned book.
For me, here the keywords are ‘scientific-artistic culture’ and how this accentuates the relationship between the two fields of science and art. Primarily the outcome of art is a finished work, as perceived by society and the result is often disassociated with the research, or practice, that has resulted in its creation. For many the process of creating art is foreign and unexplained. Many perceive it as an instantaneous thing, that is the result of the what they might call the evident skill. This perception has created barriers for many conceptual artists for example, who’s work does not reflect this expectation of what art should be.

But for science the public perception of its revelations, the presentation of the resulting scientific research, is heralded as a great break through. No doubt the strength of this is apparent, science solves many of the great problems that face humanity and justifiably has the kudos of such achievement but aside from how the final result is receive there is also an acknowledgement of the effort that goes into the journey of research, the man hours, the connection of scientific break-through with great discovery. Often an individual is identified as the key which unlocks the problem.

An artist could be viewed as this specific individual. They have arrived at their conclusions through a process and it’s the credibility of this process which Artistic Research would hope to embody, drawing a relationship to scientific research and highlighting many of the same processes that both use to achieve their goals.

It begs the question of what art is hoping to achieve through its research? There is the sheen of the superficial when art is questioned, we won’t find the cure for diseases, but something that is often over looked is the relationship that art has with sociology and philosophy and how it reflects the human condition. We strive to understand what makes us human, we question our relationship to the bubble that is our world within a massive world. Art can help us find out more about these conditions and the pursuit of wellbeing, incorporating therapy, enlightenment and revelation, are potentially enriching for the whole of humanity.

The process of Artistic Research gaining credibility allows us to examine its elements and how it can be finely tuned, highlighting the great practices and ultimately rewarding more of what a progressive art practice is and even, in the end, what we should be celebrating in the artist field. Is the final work the ultimate achievement or is the preliminary work more deserving?

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