Christelle Nicolas, educator and researcher in history and theory of art & Carolina S. Santo, artist, scenographer and researcher in art http://www.carolinaesanto.info/.
This workshop proposes to explore this question, and to reflect on the ways in which we do things, when we are researchers in art, whether we are artists, theorists, historians or/and educators. The ways of conducting research are made of gestures, tools, techniques, methods involving both body and mind: observation, feeling (sensation and emotion), fieldwork, taking notes (writing, sketching), sampling, recording, identifying and formulating.
Research is considered here as a stepping-stone towards a production of knowledge through the artwork process and a production of knowledge through science. Our aim with this workshop is to find out and juxtapose the common ways of doing things in art and science, through practice and research; and to explore the possibilities of doing practice-based research. The purpose is to acknowledge these intuitive ways of doing things, to identify them, to name them; and also to discover other ways of doing things, all of which we intend to experiment through group practice.
In this context, research is to be perceived as a translation process. By translation process, we understand the sensitive (aesthetic) relationship between the researcher (artist, researcher in human and social sciences) and the world. This relationship has an object, it is always linked to a subject, to an environment, to a situation, to circumstances, in short to a context from which the researcher cannot be excluded. This process of translation through research is in fact an attempt, an impetus to understand. The philosopher Jacques Ranciere writes in ''Le maitre ignorant'' (1987): Understanding is never just translating. And Bertold Brecht specifies (1930'): We only understand what we transform. Translation as a process of comprehension is thus understood as a double movement that will at first distance the experience in order to better
understand it by means of re-appropriation. Deconstructing allows us to rebuild differently, through our own means and ways, allowing us, at the same time, to assimilate knowledge through that process. Translation becomes therefore an epistemological model.
The purpose of this workshop is to explore reflexive methodological tools for history, art theory, and artistic practice such as scenography and performance. It is meant as a practical experimentation of the ideas stated above, to be tested collectively with the students through action and practice.
Examples of tools, techniques and methods to be experimented to feel
1 / wandering, walking as a sensitive experience:
_ based on Carolina E. Santo's artistic experience and other examples from recent art history ;
_ walking from the perspective of the humanities and social sciences ; to observe
2 / to do fieldwork, analytical and reflexive investigation:
_ what are we observing? Objects-subjects? Dynamic relationships between object, subject, space, time, movement? Their traces? Their archived or documented form?
_ where are we looking at? What are we talking about? to deconstruct the speech and the writing
3 / the archaeology of the gaze, a reversed investigation in order to find meaning through serendipity, reconstitute the sequence and make sense of the construction of meaning:
_ in order to do this, we propose to examine verbal descriptions (oral/written), different kinds of descriptive methods (ekphrasis, iconology, criminal report, medical report, questionnaire, interview) and to experiment the ways in which each method contributes to different meanings ;
_ related references: audio description performances (Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker), Kenneth Goldsmith, John Smith, Paul Klee.
4 / archaeology of the non-verbal, how do we express ourselves beyond words:
_ identify the various verbal elements of the voice (tone, timbre, frequency), of the body (gestures, behaviour), of the face (expression) and to experiment how non-verbal elements contribute to the production of meaning ;
_ related references: onomatopoeia and sound-noise in music, song and poetry (Dada, Zaoum, Schwitters, Clement Janequin, Meredith Monk, Isidore Isou, Katalin Molnar); pantomime (Valeska Gert, Mime Marceau), and other sign languages (krumps, sign language); to reformulate
5 / collage, assembly, analogy
_ to provoke by accident, by chance and by fantasy the encounter or relations between objects and situations as a method to produce sensations, meanings and ideas ;
_ related references: theatre of objects, Renaissance wunderkammer, Mark Dion's cabinets of curiosities, surrealists ''cadavre exquis'', Beat Generation cut-up, Hans Peter Feldman's publications ;
6 / translation, correspondence, synaesthesia:
_ experimenting transitions from one medium to another, from one language to another, from one translation software to another;
_ related references: Kandinsky, Mylan Grigar, Cage and Cunningham, Olafur Eliasson, Steve Reich ;
7 / still wanderings: How to make the research process visible? Wich modelizations in order to represent the practice of research and its mnemonic processes ?
_ These modelizations of research processes are either individual or collective. They translate either physical or intellectual paths: notation, mind map, atlas, software.
_ related references: the memory palace, landscape painting and Renaissance gardens, cartography, Atlas Mnemosyne by Aby Warburg, Padlet & Framapad, archival genealogy (Mircea Cantor and Brancusi, Saadane Afif and Marcel Duchamp), Gorgomancie by Chris Marker.
8 / performed & improvised theatre of objects:
_ individually create a table-scale theatre of objects from a limited choice of found and/or designed objects,
and then perform a short improvised lecture (3 to 5 minutes) from this;
_ related references: Marina Abramovic & Ulay, Joseph Beuys, Rimini Protokoll, Jerome Bell, Mike Kelley.
9 / digital mind map of the workshop:
_ during the week of the workshop, a digital object will be daily and collectively developed in order to display ideas and experiments, and to keep a record of it.
During the week of the workshop, we propose to set up a work in progress protocol that will function both individually and collectively. The workshop purpose is to consider research in art as an exploration, involving both physical and imaginary processes. We intend to set up a protocol that will make this research process visible and intelligible.
We propose to sketch a canvas that students will be asked to fill with their own proposals. Together, we will transform the initial proposal based on their research questions. These exchanges will refer to both collective and individual experiences and references.
The different idioms will not be problematic, nor an obstacle to the workshop. On the contrary, it might even serve our purpose of comprehension through the translation paradigm. Considering English, Slovak, French and perhaps other languages as part of the workshop, they will be as many opportunities for inventive tactics of comprehension through deconstruction and re-appropriation.