[-empyre-] ambiguous artistic strategies & critical engineering

Gabriel Menotti gabriel.menotti at gmail.com
Sun Feb 12 22:02:55 EST 2012

> Another related question: If I knew everything (I mean *everything*,
> from theory to practice) about how to make a computer for instance,
> starting with raw materials (sand, water, etc), how long it would take
> for me to actually build one? [Alvaro Cassineli]

Alvaro’s question points towards the insufficiency of sheer literacy
in fostering autonomous action. A number of factors could be evoked
here, such as the lack of resources or authorization. Even when one
“knows everything” and has all the necessary means (infinite time!),
s/he may be constrained by institutional barriers.

At least in Brazil, engineering (just like architecture, medicine and
law) is an activity that cannot be properly (legally, publicly)
exercised if one is not accredited as a professional. This
accreditation involves not only going through years of training and
passing tests, but also affiliating oneself to a certain national
union or council that regulates the activity.

I wonder what role this issue plays in the life of artists going
through PhDs. I have the impression that sometimes practitioners are
backed up by years of rigorous exploration of one subject, but remain
nevertheless restricted in the application of this research because
they are not properly accredited. How much of a practice-based PhD
consists in an effort to translate (formalize or write down) literacy
already acquired, in order to make it legitimate? What other problems
might arise from this (rather dry) approach?


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