[-empyre-] practice as a means towards academic self-criticism / research as a curatorial enterprise

magnus lawrie magnus at ditch.org.uk
Sat Feb 25 23:29:06 EST 2012

On Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 08:03:00PM +0000, Johannes Birringer wrote:
> dear soft_skinned listeners:
> thx for responses that came, will reply soon when time arrives
> it just occurred to me, reading the thread-title on "practice as a means towards academic self-criticism" and
> Magnus's reply to Magda,  that I probably have underestimated how Magda may have intended "institutional critique"
> and yet the "directing" and directedness are of significance, no?  what is meant by SELF-criticism?  did i miss this
> in earlier postings, did some of you claim that practice-led research (whether it emulates science methods, or
> humanities methods or no methods or invents its own methodology & strategy) is a means to critique one's own practice-led
> research, perhaps render it ad absurdum?   interesting thought, that.

Yes, ad absurdum...I am not sure what to do with that at present, but
a position which I think lends weight to such an approach, comes from
a program of the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts which has, “...made
artistic research in a university context itself the object of
study....[where]... artistic research can be defined as a
methodological investigation of artistic practice or as
praxis-generated research situated within contemporary culture.
Artistic research operates in a methodical manner, is problem-oriented
and eclectic. It has its own grammar that is derived from its own
interferences and spaces for negotiation, which are constantly being
re-constituted through praxis...as a space for negotiation, a space in
which action-reaction are fundamental modes of working and where
openness and indeterminacy are not seen as flaws of the system, but as
advantages. ” [1]. Also demonstrating the notion of research as
object, Sher Dorruf comes to the idea of Res/Arch where: “Artistic
research practice proposes to frame what is given in experience as a
port of entry. It fields an opening as a creative affordance,
composing a fragment of chaos to a scratch-like stuttering rhythm that
in turn overflows its boundaries as a mattering, as a matter of
concern” [2]

[1]Thun-Hohenstein, F. “Art Knowledge” at the Academy of Fine Arts
Vienna, 2009 http://www.artandresearch.org.uk/v2n2/hohenstein.html

[2]Dorruf, S. Artistic Res/Arch: The propositional experience of
mattering Acoustic Space #9 MPlab : Riga Eds. Smite, R. Mey, K. and
Smits, R.

Best wishes,

>     [Magda schreibt]
> >>Thus in my research around curating and commoning
> (understood after De Angelis as  'the social process that creates and
> reproduces the commons') I take into account the new context which is
> defined by the changing character of production which becomes biopolitical
> production invested in production of subjectivity.  
> what does this mean?  i mean how do you use for yourself the term "biopolitics"?
> >>In that context the question of recording is hugely important indeed because it is about what I
> record and if I record at all (in which case it is a tough luck when it
> comes to my PhD, though hopefully I will come up with some solution) . 
> On the other hand there are already recordings of the session which are available 
> on the wiki where the common practice is stored, in the edited
> versions of skype text chat conversations, as well as original chat
> discussions, wiki history which follows changes, etc. It seems to me that
> the only way to interact with those, outside of the actual session as it is
> happening, is through mythologizing, narrating, interpreting, etc.  
> I am not sure what is meant by the concept 'directed commoning'. More
> explanation would be. Common practice is not about curating collectively either. 
> >>
> The following seems to point to the heart of your thesis and philosophy, yes?
> >>
> The research  is about investigating the conditions (social,
> technological, institutional, political) in which curating takes place
> versus a desire (yes, utopian most likely) to on one hand not to be
> subjugated to those conditions and at the same time not to subjugate others
> to them.  Linking curating with the concept of the commons is probably not a
>  tactic in this case, but a strategy, or methodology  if we want to stick to
> the research language, to investigate biopolitics of 'curatorial'.
> >>
> If this would be extrapolated, i think the political question at large, as I heard
> it raised here in debate, is:   whether artistic practices (and there are different ones
> of course and not all are intended with a political or politicized agenda) within
> the humanities/universities can become or are practices investigating the conditions
> or frameworks in which the practices can take place and be understood as research
> and legitimated (via Viva and degree and the writing up)?  If self-critical, then
> the practice would include writing itself as a questionable research action?  perhaps
> based on weak data or weak theories or even lacking empirical evidence or too much
> empirical evidence and undecided experiential values or affects or a dubious form of 
> theoretical self aggrandization or justification? and so on.   I would like to see
> such a self-critical phd thesis.... 
> surely i also like to get the know the folks at the Faculty of Invisibility,
> and the Boredom Research Institute, and at those german "Research-Clusters für
> Forschungsorganisation und wissenschaftliche. Durchbrüche" [which
> translates as research cluster for research-organization and scientific break-throughs].
> nothing beats good organization
> PS.
> We Don’t Record Flowers, Said the Geographer
> regards
> Johannes Birringer
> dap-lab
> - - - - - - - - - 
> Magnus schreibt
> >>
> Hmmm, I am also thinking about your mentioning the production of
> subjectivity (self-constitution?) through this practice. In another
> thread, I think there was some reference to invisibility and I see
> that the Department of Reading has its own Faculty of Invisibility.
> Does Common Practice pertain to this in any way? Since I've been quiet
> now for a couple of days, that may a good question to close on :)
> >>
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