The Postresearch Condition

Welcome to the 2021 EARN/NWO Smart Culture Conference - January 26 - 30, organized in collaboration with HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, NWO (Dutch Research Council), and BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht. Scroll down for the full programme of talks and workshops plus information about how you can participate.

Proposition

After an omnipresent “Research Decade,” the concept of artistic research currently seems to be in need of a recharge. Pressing questions are: Should we talk about a postresearch situation or a postresearch condition? Could this be compared with how poststructuralism relates to structuralism as its philosophical comprehension and the elaboration of its consequences? And how could a postresearch condition address contemporary art practices?
 
To answer these questions, it is important to start from the three conceptual spaces that fundamentally determine what we mean by research: creative practice (experimentality, art making, potential of the sensible); artistic thinking (open-ended, speculative, associative, non-linear, haunting, thinking differently); and curatorial strategies (topical modes of political imagination, transformational spaces for encounters, reflection and dissemination) – and to comprehend these spaces in their mutual, dynamic coherence as a series of indirect triangular relationships.
 
From whatever conceptual space one departs, an artistic research practice could signify a transversal constellation – as a creative proposition for thought in action. Yet, that mode of research could never be reduced to a method of one of the three constituents. Thus, artistic research cannot be equated with creative innovation, disciplinary knowledge production, or political activism. It seems urgent now – and this is the starting point of this conference – to profoundly challenge and question the issue of how to articulate and present the condition of the intersection between the three conceptual spaces. For this purpose, an intensive program of workshops, presentations, propositions, screenings, and publications has been developed.

Programme

  • 19.30-21.00: Proposition by Peter Osborne (Kingston University, London), No Going BackBut not Forward to There Either, and discussion with Hito Steyerl (UdK Berlin).
     
  • 15.00-18.00: EARN Working Group 1: Methodologies (co-organized by Uniarts Helsinki). Workshop: Continuous Prototypes. Rethinking Artistic Research through the Concept of the Continuous Prototype. In the workshop we introduce the Continuous Prototype ­– a metaphor, a construction – through which it is possible to examine both artistic work and research practice.
     
    19.30-21.00: Vytautas Michelkevicius (Vilnius Academy), Launch of the Atlas of Diagrammatic Imagination: Maps in Research, Art and Education (eds. Vytautas Michelkevicius & Lina Michelkevice, VDA 2019). Joost Grootens (PhD Arts Leiden). Presentation of Blind Maps and Blue Dots: The Blurring of the Producer-User Divide in the production of Visual Information (Leiden 2020).
     
  • 15.00-18.00: EARN Working Group 2: Sustainability (co-organizer: UCL London/Slade School of Fine Art). Workshop: Sustainability: Re-Visioning the work of Art and the Academic Conference. This workshop addresses two overarching questions: What are the methods and forms of a sustainable art practice? What are the possible models for a sustainable ‘academic’ conference?
     
    19.30-21.00: Proposition by Denise Ferreira da Silva (University of British Colombia, Vancouver), Corpus Infinitum, moderated by Mick Wilson (Valand Academy/Gothenburg University).
     
  • 10.00-13.00: EARN Working Group 3: Curatorial Issues (co-organized by Valand Academy Gothenburg). Workshop: Expo-Facto: Into the Algorithm of Exhibition? The ascendancy within the contemporary art system of e-flux announcements, social media posting, art-blogging, website mediation of exhibition and jpeg-enabled art sales has been in place for some time.
     
    14.00-15.00: Proposition by Terike Haapoja (Helsinki/New York), How to Become Human, Moderated by Annette Krauss (HKU Utrecht).
     
    15.15-18.00: EARN Working Group 4: The Politics of Aesthetics (co-organized by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna) This workshop explores the relationship between politics and aesthetics, how can aesthetic forms challenge the violence of interpretation based on the subject – object dichotomy, processes of categorization bringing about inclusion / exclusion, or the spectacle of the pain of the others. Instead, how can they strive for indeterminacy, adjacency and an openness to difference beyond integration and othering. Does an encounter with alterities in the aesthetic realm prepare for an encounter with alterity in the social field?
     
    19.30-21.00: Proposition by Amanda Beech (CalArts, Los Angeles), How Art Ought to Think. Moderated by Iris van der Tuin (Utrecht University).
     
  • 10.00-11.30: Collective Proposition by Renate Lorenz and PhD in Practice program, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Listening / Sounding and the Politics of Aesthetics. Moderated by Kitty Zijlmans (Leiden University).

    12.00-14.00: EARN Working Group 5: Evaluation (co-organized by Luca School of Arts Brussels). The search for evaluation models for artistic research discloses a gap, not only between artistic practice and science, but also between the artistic researcher and the institution.
     
    14.30-15.30: Closing Proposition by Irit Rogoff (Goldsmiths, University of London), Not Yet. Moderator Odile Heynders (Tilburg University).

Presentations

  • 'No Going Back – But Not Forward to There Either:  
    Once More on Art and/as Research' 
     
    This talk will reflect upon the contradictions between the intellectually substantive and the purely administrative and legitimating functions of discourses of artistic ‘practice as research’, and how they might be mediated and negotiated by practitioners. These discourses and the distributive practices they establish and sustain are not likely to go away in the near future. The idea of a ‘post-research situation’ is merely a paradoxical extension of the ‘research situation in the same way that the terminology of the ‘postmodern’ was a reflexively self-contradictory way of extending the temporality of the modern under the conditions of the aging of a particular ‘modern’.  
     
    www.kingston.ac.uk/staff/profile/professor-peter-osborne-392/
  • Intervention
     
    Following on from Peter Osborne’s presentation Hito Steyerl will focus the discussion through a series of questions and comments.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hito_Steyerl
  • Atlas of Diagrammatic Imagination: Visual Argumentation in Artistic Research

    How does a diagram differ from a text? What are the pros and cons of diagrams when compared to text? Can a map be a research component, an artwork, and a scientific means of communication, all at the same time? How do diagrams mediate between different cognitive systems? How can diagrams convey bodily experiences and gestures? How do they facilitate education? These are only few questions that delineate a general research territory where the book authors’ imaginations overlap.
    Even though cartographic references play an important role, many of the maps presented and discussed in this atlas go beyond the geographical notion of map, and they often bear no reference to either a location or its representation. They may involve multilayered diagrams, trajectories of a freely moving body or a hand, visual signs of hesitancy, tools of material or visual thinking, charts of tacit knowledge, notations of sensual data, or the models of research hypotheses or findings.
    Atlas of Diagrammatic Imagination: Maps in Research, Art and Education, Lina Michelkevičė & Vytautas Michelkevičius (eds.), Vilnius Academy of Arts Press, 2019

    https://vilnius.academia.edu/VytautasMichelkevicius
  • Blind Maps and Blue Dots
     
    The shift towards digital modes of production has fundamentally changed both cartography and graphic design. The omnipresent computer, the interactive possibilities of digital media and the direct exchange of visual information through networks have blurred the distinction between designers and users of visual information.
     
    The PhD research Blind Maps and Blue Dots explores the disappearing boundaries between producers and users of maps. Using three mapmaking practices as examples – the Blue Dot, the location function in Google Maps; the Strava Global Heatmap, a world map showing the activities of a fitness app; and the ‘Situation in Syria’ maps, a regularly updated map of the Syrian conflict made by an Amsterdam teenager. Through these examples and numerous visualizations, the research shows the blurring of the binary distinction between producing and using, ultimately offering a whole new approach to graphic design.
     
    www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/staffmembers/joost-grootens#tab-2 
  • Corpus Infinitum
    As a contribution to reconsidering artistic research, in this talk I return to the description of the mental operation – Kant’s judgement -- grounding the post-Enlightenment notions of the scientific, ethic, and aesthetic. Instead of an analysis or an exegesis of judgement, I propose a thought experiment that guide a speculation on a basis for thinking, an image of existence, which is not contained by the presuppositions and prescriptions of the Kantian program. Neither a concept nor a notion, this image of existence radically departs from post-Enlightenment thinking and its metaphysical basis, onto-epistemological descriptors, and onto-epistemological pillars (separability, determinacy, and sequentiality). In doing so, it allows for an approach to knowing that does not presume something like a mind (Kant's I think) and its separation from something like a body, nature, or world (that is, everything else that exists). As the title shows, the proposed image allows for descriptors that presume that every existent (human and more than human) is a body (corpus) without limits (infinitum). 

    https://grsj.arts.ubc.ca/person/denise-ferreira-da-silva/
  • How Art Ought to Think 
    From the studio to the essay, it is normatively expected that the work of contemporary art is to make us think. But what is this thinking? The most common answer is that the general claim “to think” by art must operate without telos, project or aim and be located in the present temporalities of expression, far removed from meta narratives or any legitimizing practices that would verify art’s use value, for this would claim art to be akin to either the physical or natural sciences. 
    Such anti reductivist claims have historically been wrapped up in an opposition between critique and reason. Today’s predilection for immanent critique now discloses the bottom-line belief that, by simply being art (ironically) art represents the opposition to the normativity of reason itself. In this way art has served its political purpose as being without purpose, since its openness leverages the possibility of other worlds from the space of the fictive, the hypothetical and the imagination. But beyond this antirealism, the question of knowledge remains, the stakes of how art might be a form of knowing, as well as if it can produce knowledge remains ignored and unanswered from the side of postmodern critique. In a world of post-truth politics, how can art speak to the problem of the real, truth and facticity from inside a disciplinary practice? This is where we must advance a turn to another perspective on reason.

    http://amandabeech.com
  • How to become Human?
    Laura Gustafsson and Terike Haapoja’s three channel video installation Becoming (2020) explores emergent ways of relating to ourselves, others and the world. In the video 37 interviewees chart the current state of the world and its people. They contemplate phenomena that are in bud at this very moment, and which should be nurtured. The project is accompanied by a publication Bud Book – A Manual for Earthly Living that makes suggestions for how to live as a human being in a world endangered by the old way of being human. In her presentation How to Become Human Terike Haapoja discusses the problematic universalism of the anthropocene discourse and what art can contribute to the task of becoming human otherwise. 

    www.terikehaapoja.net
  • Listening / Sounding and the Politics of Aesthetics
    The PhD in Practice Program (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna) provides a collective proposition, which discusses in a series of short experiments in how far sounding and listening might mine and undermine the violence of normative dualisms in the art-based research and thereby explore the potentialities of concepts like the break, frequency, listening to images, or resonance.
    With: Angela Anderson, Anette Baldauf, Anca Benera, Rehema Chachage, Berhanu Ashagrie Deribew, Masimba Hwati, Hyo Lee, Serena Lee, Renate Lorenz, Azar Mahmoudian, Aykan Safoğlu, and Anna Tjé.

    www.akbild.ac.at/Portal/studium/studienrichtungen/phd-in-practice
  • Not Yet
    Hope”, Ernst Bloch tells us, “Resides in the Not Yet”.  Research shares the same drive towards the not yet known, the not yet imaginable, the not yet articulable. This presentation will focus on that which is in the works, rather than that which can be calculable and pre-empted. If, as I believe the case, we currently work from conditions rather than from inherited knowledges, then our conditions are constantly changing - at this moment so visibly around contagion and around racialisation - then the drive of our research shifts its course fuelled by different urgencies. 
    Not urgencies to solve problems, that is the arena of applied research, but in creating problems: creating better, sharper, more insistent problems. I have been working with the term ‘Advanced Practices’ for the past few years, thinking of how we advance the grounds for practice without landing it in the metrics driven evaluation process that demands knowing in advance, rather than giving practice driven research the opportunity for advancing. 

    www.bakonline.org/person/irit-rogoff/

Workshop outlines

  • (co-organizer Uniarts Helsinki)

    Rethinking the Concept of Prototype – Demonstrating Artistic Research
     
    Speakers: Methodology group members Petri Kaverma, Tero Heikkinen, Denise Ziegler
    Guest speakers: Katarzyna Depta-Garapich, Falk Huebner, Nicholas Laessing
     
    In the workshop we introduce the Continuous Prototype ­– a metaphor, a construction –through which it is possible to examine both artistic work and research practice. The continuous prototype can be a concrete object but most of all it is a combination of thinking and doing. It demonstrates the current state of a work (or text) in progress and/or indicates the direction of development it might take. As the continuous prototype has non-chronological or non-stable features it aims at continuously disassembling itself and constructing new prototypes instead of developing existing ones.  
     
    After an introduction of the concept of the Continuous Prototype (in contrast to the prototype used in industrial product development or the prototype concept used in behavior theory), the following questions are starting points for the workshop:
     
    What is:
    • the continuous prototype of skills (in contrast to the prototype of skills)?
    • the shape of the continuous prototype, what does it actually look like?
    • the next useful metaphor to describe and to develop artistic research?
    Where is: 
    • a continuous prototype to be found?
    • the limit of a continuous prototype?
    During the workshop the participants will also make something with their own hands. This way we put into practice how the Continuous Prototype might be useful in artistic research praxis, how it works as a playful part of the learning processes. Our suggested concept of the Continuous Prototype can be an impetus for reflection on the participants’ own recent working processes and their states of completeness – How finished our works have to be. When is a continuous prototype ready?
     
    Instruction: Bring paper and pencils to the workshop.
  • (co-organizer: UCL London/Slade School of Fine Art)

    The Slade doctoral programme presents a set of workshops and presentations addressing issues of ecological and cultural sustainability.  These include: a workshop revealing historical connections between medieval trade routes and ballad translations; an interrogation of the concept of Europe through mapping; propositions for a sustainable art practice; proposals for the sustainability of public space; a prototype for an imaginary new sensory tasting device; a reconfiguration of the relation between ‘nature’ and ‘human’ as a new form of ‘we’; sustainabilty of art materials, in particular paint; a choral voicing of our differences as mutual.

    Presenters: Zoë Quick, Kasia Depta-Garapich and Nastassja Simensky, Nick Laessing, Re/Source (Esther van de Wiel/Joost Adriaanse); Ellie Doney, Christina Della Giustina and co-ordinated by Onya McCausland.
     
    Technology requirements:
    Each participant needs to be able to make a sound recording (via mobile phone or laptop) and uploaded via Zoom.
  • (Co-organizer Valand Academy/Gothenburg University)

    The ascendancy within the contemporary art system of e-flux announcements, social media posting, art-blogging, website mediation of exhibition and jpeg-enabled art sales has been in place for some time. However, there has been, in the context of the COVID19 global pandemic, an intensification of the relays between exhibition protocols and the culture of digital networks. In what seems like a global institutional convergence – similar in ways to the pervasive distribution of white cube though much more accelerated – there has been a widespread adoption of the exhibition-online as the immediate solution to the demands of physical distancing, lock-down and travel restriction in the context of the global pandemic. This would seem to warrant some critical reflection and analysis in its own right. What is at stake in this drive to online exhibition? What are the operative presumptions about exhibition that inform this imperative? How do we think through the protocols of exhibition as enquiry in the era of the algorithmic?  (This session builds on an earlier discussion in June 2020 and is also connected to the PARSE issue in exhibition in development for June 2021.

    See https://exhibition.school/exhibitions-online-what-for/  and https://parsejournal.com/opencall/on-the-question-of-exhibition/ )
     
    Invited speakers include: The Aesthetics Group (https://aestheticsgroup.net/); Prof. Carolina Rito (https://carolinarito.com/about/) ; Prof. Noel Fitzpatrick (http://www.gradcam.ie/people/dr-noel-fitzpatrick-doc-es-lettres-dean-of-gradcam/).
  • (co-organized by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna)

    This workshop explores the relationship between aesthetics and politics: How can and do aesthetic forms challenge the violence of interpretation, of being assigned to the role of a “native informant” rather than an artist pushing aesthetic boundaries, of making pain a spectacle and of feeding into processes of categorization with their logic of inclusion and exclusion? How do aesthetic forms relate to the modes of production as they strive for indeterminacy, adjacency and an openness to alterity beyond integration and othering? Does an encounter with alterity in the aesthetic realm prepare for an encounter with alterity in the social field?
     
    Presenters/participants: Anette Baldauf, Ruth Jenrbekova, and Renate Lorenz (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna; Azadeh Fatehrad (Kingston University London)
  • (co-organized by Luca School of Arts Brussels)

    The search for evaluation models for artistic research discloses a gap, not only between artistic practice and science, but also between the artistic researcher and the institution. Evaluation methods and criteria are mainly being developed at an institutional level as a prerequisite for an adequate distribution of research funding. The institutional debate however often overlooks the needs of researchers concerning the (self-)assessment of their research project and its output. The ‘evaluation’ working group addresses this gap by bringing together PhD researchers in the arts, supervisors, research evaluators and institutional experts.
     
    Presenter: Rolf Hughes. Format: table discussion (world café) and closing panel discussion.

Participation & Registration

Keynote speeches (see programme) can be attended without registration. Zoom-links will be made available in advance of each lecture on this page.
 
Workshops can be attended only after registration via the registration form (click below on Subscribe). Workshop registration can be done online before 8 January 2021. Participation is free. Make sure to register on time as the number of participants per workshop is limited.
 

Contact and partners

Venue / Virtual host
HKU University of the Arts, Utrecht 
BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht

More information:
postresearchcondition@hku.nl

Earn/Smart Culture Conference organized in collaboration with HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, NWO (Dutch Research Council), and BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht.