“Research and the self” by Morwenna Griffiths – it was helpful article to make me think about ‘what is it to be a self’. And I agree ‘the self’ have a mysterious nature. And it was easy to understand to how analyze/research the self by reading ‘Examples of art-based, practice based research’. By reading this article, I was starting to think about if there is a relation with the artwork I am currently developing. I am creating/drawing imagery based on my drawings on clear glass, and because the drawings imply the daily story of ‘myself’, and I was wondering which model (element) of the self is related with my work. And I think that my drawings shows ‘Each self is unique and its response to circumstance is not determined’ and little bit of ‘We make ourselves in relation to others (the society, or surrounding in my drawings)’
“Embodied knowing through art” by Mark Johnson – Johnson is trying to point out Art can be ‘researched’ even it looks like imaginative things that express and communicate emotions…(but at the same time I thought this sentence is pretty correct…) Johnson brought historical references from Aristotle, Kant to explain about how the prejudice of art research made. I enjoyed reading the ‘Embodied knowing’ part and John quoted John Dewey, and pointing out Clinging to imagined absolutes is one way people try to deny change. And at the end of the article Johnson concluded that artist do research via their continuing, labored, persistent attempts to resolve problematic situation through the transformation of the materials of experience as a way of trying to realize certain satisfying pervasive unifying qualities of experience, and it was the sentence I am strongly agree with, and also I think it relates to craftsmanship (labor of hands) of the artist.
I found all of this week’s readings interesting – mainly because I had never thought about art in the way that all the writers are writing about it. Also, I never knew that making art could be in itself a type of research. The first article I wanted to discuss here is Mark Johnson’s “Embodied Knowing through Art”. This article appealed to me not because it is related to my research per se, but because it is relevant to my interest in pursuing research in the humanities. I have had to answer the question “What is the use of your research?” many times in my academic career. I have also been told several times that it would be better for me to learn how to make films than to study them. This is mainly because as Johnson says people look at research in terms of “progress” and propositions that have “truth value” so studying films is considered useless. But I do genuinely feel that films or any type of popular culture can tell us so much about how a society works at a given point in time, about who is in power, how the society functions, and what is wrong with society as well.
The second article I liked was Morwenna Griffiths article on the self in art and research. What she says at the beginning of the article about how the idea of the self is so difficult to grasp really stayed with me even after I had read the article. I also agree with what Griffiths says about “subjectivity” and “partiality” in research. The self is made up of the political and social activities that occur around us, and most of the times, when we are doing research for the right reasons we always bring our personal politics into our subject. This is not necessarily a bad thing because we can understand things that matter to us better and speak about them with more authority because of our inside knowledge.
This week’s readings were all about concepts that I had not paid attention to before, but I’m glad I read them because they have made me think about research from a completely different perspective.
So much of the piece by Mark Johnson coincides with things I think about a lot. I like his suggestion that art can reveal possibilities, that it can describe how the world could be instead of describing how it is.
I think his assertion that “the sciences give causal accounts of how things come to be as they are and why they behave as they do” (pg 143) is also applicable to craft. The process of learning and practicing a craft is a process of constantly gaining a greater understanding of how a material will behave in various conditions. I was just reading a piece about the Penland School of Craft that was written by a research chemist who was visiting the school and observing the classes in all the different studios (the piece is from the book The Nature of Craft and the Penland Experience). He concluded that many of the artists he watched were doing things that mimic science in a similar way to how Johnson describes science.
Johnson says later in the article, “Good artists are engaged in an ongoing inquiry into the nature of their medium, into how to produce certain effects through it, and into how to expand the capacities of that medium.” This coincides with the research chemist (I’m sorry I can’t remember his name, I left the book at home) say about the nature of craft being akin to chemical research.
One thing that I enjoyed about this week’s reading was how most of them touched upon the similarities and the way that research and creation overlap. On the piece Thinking About Art After the Media, I think this becomes very relevant not only because the author, Siegfried Zielinski, brings up several examples of artists who have combined technology, science and art, but also because he always relates art to media, whether it’s before, after, with or through. I like how he doesn’t consider these areas as two separate entities but as two things that are interconnected to each other always, pretty much in the same way that he connects art with science and traces this relationship back to the Enlightment.
I also enjoyed Artist as Theorist because of the way it highlighted the importance of research and theory in the creation process for an artist, which I thought was interesting. As someone who is much more involved in the process of research than in creating, several of these readings made me question if the process could work the other way around too. The author obviously believes that it is important and enriching for an artist to become more involved with theory, which will of course bring new perspectives to their work, and I think the same could hold true for those of us that do research, if for no other reason than to gain a different perspective or a better understanding of the subjects we are writing about.
After reading Sullivan’s article, the theory he asserts is that the process and product are not as important as the process and progress of planning large-scale site-specific visual art projects. This attitude and practice is reflective of my own work in the sense that my intention is to awaken awareness, change attitudes of the participant or viewer and many times, opening long standing historical wounds regarding issues of race, identity, gender preferences and equality. In my opinion these variables are potent entry points into my work. Forcing the viewer to think about not only what has been presented as the process of creation; for example, what is that? What materials were used? why did she use those colors? Instead I want viewers to think about the progress of the narrative as it relates to the stated issues of race, identity, gender preference and equality.
Morwenna Griffiths’ chapter, Research and the Self asks the question why are there so many theories? Griffiths answer is centered on our lack of understanding of the self, and of how to define ourselves collectively and individually. Griffith states that the self will always be attached to art practice and research. The person either making art or writing theories will always be connected to the work they produce. Griffith argues art-based, and practice-based research helps us not only understand the self, but allows us to be human.
Mark Johnson begins his chapter Embodied Knowing Through Art, by stating the neglect of art when people consider historical growth of knowledge. Knowledge is often constricted to the definition of absolute truth. Knowledge is not often thought of as imaginative. Johnson argues art research explores how to experience and transform meanings and relations within culture.
It was interesting to read articles on art-based research. Something I have struggled with for art theory is how to present the ideas I’m trying to argue. I’ve learned it doesn’t have to be labeled as an absolute fact, it’s an interpretation that just has to be supported by a strong argument. It doesn’t matter whether the artist of the work we are analyzing intentionally constructed their work to fit our argument, it’s about how the art can be interpreted.
Zielinski tracing of art to arts media and thus media arts is a fun journey. I’d like to think that all art can be sumizzed into architecture, sculpture, painting, sound, and music, but media arts blurs the lines of that craft approach to art. What if one could create media art as a memory art, something that implies a space and time of working, as apposed to the ubiquitous sitting in front of Final Cut Pro X. I attempted with my data mashing to create something that contained painterly characteristics of that human touch. Ritter in the reading gets bogged down in the supplementals, something that I don’t necessarily characterize painting with.
I like media arts as being the meeting of intuition/imagination with formalizability/calculability/planning capability. The reading even goes so far as to call this marrying between these tensions as being advanced artistic research. I also really like the notion of art that is post-media if you will, something that acknowledges the existence of media while also transgressing its sensationalism. I imagine a dystopian future where now all that remain are cave paintings of computers, news anchors, and matrix action sequences. Actually that gives me an idea….
To somewhat summarize the rest of the readings it seems to be a perpetual recommendation to challenge oneself through theoretical, historical, and practical learning in order to keep artistic investigation alive. I feel like in grad MFA programs, there is this stagnation that can happen where we as students just do what is asked of us and don’t challenge our theoretical mind to formulate different approaches to either analysis of art or the creation of our own art. That is why I really enjoyed the notion of talking a topic and looking at it from multiple theoretical perspectives, like we did for this class, as it opens ones eyes to flexibility of theory within art and how one strengthens the other seamlessly.
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