Tuesday, 9 May 2017

How can we define ‘critical moments’ that are experienced whilst developing a work in Practice-Led Research?

Having read Kylie Stevenson & Susan Girak's Creative River Journeys essay I became interested in the term ‘critical moments’ in relation to points in time when the artist realises something about what they’re working on. The debate around the ‘critical moment’ is important for the development of Practice-Led Research as we explore the creative process that inform higher level research so here I have pursued its meaning.

I think on some level I can pin point important moments in my research but are these ranked, if at all or if they need to be, or do we further recognise or inflate their importance when the work is complete? Are these moments, at the time of their happening, still a critical moment or is the realisation of them the critical moment? If we can see this final realisation then do we even identify the original moment as critical if the work doesn’t change. Is a critical moment positive or negative or both? From my reading, it appears to symbolise progression but surely the failure of something working within a context is much like archaeology where if you find nothing then it infers by its absence a meaning.

Does the reliving of critical moments, through interview or reflection, train our minds to recognise them more easily? Or even give it the ability to construct moments that never happened

How does this critical moment happen? In the visual arts does the visual method mean that the form of critical moments is more instinctive? Is this because we are not placing the moment into a text based language, that it can happen instantly? On a more complex level are we creating our own language and does every artist speak a distinct tongue through formulating their own critical moments?

The visual triggers that punctuate a critical moment are tightly bound in the materials of the artist. Many aspects such a shape, colour, line, texture may have an effect on experiencing the critical moment, or whatever you might want to label it.

The artist is apparently able to identify the critical moment but could this be a construct based upon the reflective process?  When asked to recall critical moments they will appear when asked to quantify the work. And again, does this mean that the critical moment exists outside the work and not within it?

It’s also interesting that in Stevenson’s essay the research subjects use a range of language to describe the critical moments such as, ‘turning point’, ‘life-defining moment,’ or ‘struck a chord’, and these seem broad in their meaning. There is little definition through using such loose terms. Maybe there is no exactness here?

The Potential for Only One Critical Moment

How heavily bound up in the source material is the critical moment? The handling of source material is an interesting one for my practice. For some this gives up the first critical moment and perhaps the most important one. Could this be called the ‘Initiating Critical Moment’? How could we class this? Is it the point at which a foundation is layout within a deeply developed artistic consciousness? You could argue that artists are more receptive to this leap of creativity, or a trained ‘conscious reflective eye’ that sees the potential in the visual or any medium which triggers them.

Is this ‘Initiating Critical Moment’ the only critical moment? The reason being any consequential moments that follow are often removed, rework of deleted. If this first moment did not exist would the preceding moments? If so it would be the ‘most’ critical moment and potentially some kind of hierarchical system of language could be employed to rank moments there after?

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Some Quotes on What an Exegesis Should be

A few quotes stood out for me on the subject of the exegesis in Greg Nash’s essay The Creative Writing Kaleidoscope laying down some interesting and defining points which I will take forward in my own exegesis.

I am sticking these quotes on my wall:

He highlights this quote from Barrett (2004)
"The exegesis is a means of articulating a more profound rationale for institutional recognition and support of creative arts research."

He highlights a quote from Fletcher and Mann (2004)

"The role of the exegesis is to present the research framework: the key questions, the theories, the disciplinary and wider context's, of the project "

He comments on his own opinion on the exegesis, "having completed my doctorate of creative arts I find myself not only wanting to defend the exegetical component of the degree but applaud it for the way in enhanced my own knowledge as it should and enriched my creative outcome."

Friday, 5 May 2017

Does There Need to be Paranoia in Practice-led Research

Response to David Akenson’s Lecture: ‘Suspicious Minds: Lizard People and Research’ 2016

It’s interesting listening to David talk about the presence of paranoia in research and I was trying to see how this can apply to my own research. How does the presence of a paranoid enquiry effect the qualitative and quantitative research elements for example? I know what paranoia is, but felt like I had to see the exact meaning to qualify its entire effect on any line of research. I looked up ‘paranoid’ first and then ‘paranoia’.

adjective: paranoid
characterized by or suffering from the mental condition of paranoia.
"paranoid schizophrenia"
unreasonably or obsessively anxious, suspicious, or mistrustful.
"you think I'm paranoid but I tell you there is something going on"
irrationally anxious, over-suspicious, paranoiac, suspicious, mistrustful, distrustful, fearful, insecure;
"they probably don't mean me at all—I'm probably just being paranoid"
noun: paranoid; plural noun: paranoids
a person who is paranoid.
"further accusations would sound like the ramblings of a paranoid"

noun: paranoia
  1. a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically worked into an organized system. It may be an aspect of chronic personality disorder, of drug abuse, or of a serious condition such as schizophrenia in which the person loses touch with reality.
o    unjustified suspicion and mistrust of other people.
"mild paranoia afflicts all prime ministers"

For me these definitions confirmed some of the uncomfortable feeling I had when David explained this paranoid element of his research or of proposed research. How does this fit? I think I know what he’s pushing at; the quizzical element of research that we must consider when doing so. But paranoia, for me, is a construct that draws in too many conditions related to an imbalanced mind. Delusions, persecution, jealousy and such seem far removed from say the quantitative research elements we have examined so far. Quantitative research method is not necessarily employee by the practice-led researcher of course but it is still part of the foundation of the research that is evolving into a Practice-led field.

I think for this to have a place in practice-led research it could in a sense jeopardise some of the hard fought for credibility that the field is starting to acquire (based upon what was said in the lecture). To have a place it would, I believe, need to be clearly defined in the methodology as an element that is being researched rather than a method to achieve a result. Researching paranoia and its presence could be an incredibly interesting and fruitful endeavour, especially as society increasingly seems to embrace this mode.

I think a clearer resolution on this paranoid element would be a rewording to potentially help us anchor this strain which runs through an inquiring mind and further remove it from an irrational interpretation. Potential it may be classed as ‘diagnostic reinterpretation’ or ‘polemic reasoning’ which maybe too harsh or ‘instinctual suspicion’ to place it within a research frame work that seems to take responsibility for its use of language. I am therefore unsure about this presence of paranoia, but does that make me paranoid? Or simply instinctively suspicious? And are researchers’ paranoid and therefore ‘unreasonably or obsessively anxious, suspicious, or mistrustful’ or are they simply open to many possibilities that higher research reveals?