A + R (again)

Having spent the last few days reviewing applications for a professorship focussed on artistic research, I'm once again reflecting upon this issue and my own position with regards to it. By now, artistic research within higher arts education has become a standard and prominent feature of the academic programmes of arts universities and art academies, and a number of orthodoxies have started to feature. One of these is the tendency toward Phd programmes that are not radically different from standard academic/scientific Phd's, where art practice is often a lesser component of the research undertaken, and another, the so-called Norwegian Model, places artistic practice at the centre with (theoretical) reflection as a support and a contextualising methodology.

I look at my own current practice which occurs both within and outside of academia, and consider to what extent it can be described as artistic research, while it still remains art practice framed within a professional art environment. My long-standing and ongoing collaboration with sound artist & composer Trond Lossius bears many of the characteristics that have become hallmarks of artistic research projects within institutions; it is collaborative, experimental, investigative, focussed upon elaboration of specific themes or questions, and it generates reflection through the process of developing, producing and exhibiting trans-disciplinary artworks.

Our current project "The Atmospherics" is now entering its fifth phase, leading toward an exhibition at Sogn og Fjordane Museum of Art in Førde (Norway) in June 2016. This will be our largest installation to date and will be entitled "The Atmospherics part 5: Stop, Hey, Watch That Sound". It will comprise multiple video projections and a surround sound installation, featuring material recorded on field trips through Western Norway since 2014. Completion of this new installation will represent a nodal point in the project, where a thorough documentation of the whole project to date will become a priority, and it will provide vantage point from which to reflect over the processes, problems, investigations and aesthetic solutions that have characterised the project so far. I feel we have now developed a set of methods that are robust and ultimately transferable, so that they can be exported to future projects, and can also form the basis of academic work, both in terms of teaching and research. The crucial factor is that this potentiality arises from the extended period of creative work which the project represents. For us, the research is deeply embedded within practice and reflection is enabled by the experience of working.

The Atmospherics part 4: And Sometimes The Light Hurts Our Eyes. Heimdal Kunstforening, January 2016.

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