Figuration in Artistic Research Practice, April 2009

This paper was given as part of the conference 'Creative Practice, Creative Research' at the York St John University, 15–17 April 2009. It discussed the method of triangulation in map making, which it relates to my book Paris. My drawings, it is proposed, although utilising measurement and triangulation do not produce maps but rather create little 'figures', which cannot be explained through representation. The paper puts forward the notion of 'figuration', which it derives from Lyotard and Didi-Huberman in order to explain the drawings' visual functions. Finally, the paper questions the use of the notion of 'triangulation' in the context of artistc research methodology.

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The Power of Deconstruction in Artistic Research, 2008

The paper discusses the use of deconstructive methods in artistic research. It highlights the fact that practice-based research very suitably complements such methods, while deconstruction on its own is seen as self-limiting and generalising exercise. The paper argues that the supplemental relationship between theory and practice that is set up in the Arts and Humanities Research Council's definition of research is an invitation to deconstruct precisely this relationship in order to gain a proper artistic definition of research, which the council in its definition is deferring to the individual research itself.

The AHRC's definition of research, which is essential for academic artistic research in the UK, describes neither practice nor theory alone as suitable site for artistic research at the same time as it does not give a clear enough indication of how their relationship should be negotiated. What can be perceived as a failure in the official definition of research, however, may be seen, by interpreting it in the context of deconstructive philosophy, as the definition's particular strength, which can allow for an arts-driven notion of research to emerge.

In the first part, the paper explains the concept of deconstruction by looking at some of Jacques Derrida's and Jean-François Lyotard's writings. The question whether deconstruction can be called a method is also discussed. In the second part, the paper shows the limits of deconstruction, by questioning if deconstruction can principally leave the discourse behind, which it deconstructs. Regarding art, the paper argues that although some works can be called 'deconstructive,' deconstruction is not what gives these works artistic, that is, visual coherence. In the final part, the paper proposes to look at artistic research as an option that becomes available only after a deconstructive procedure when the relationship between theory and practice can be reconfigured. This is also seen as the site for interpretation.

[Text hosted on journal website.]

Convoluted Statement, October 2008

Short manifesto like statement about the relationship between art and artistic research. It proposed an attitude in which research can take place. It was presented at the conference 'The Art of Research: Research Narratives' at Chelsea College of Art in Design.

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Figuring Out, June 2008

A paper given at the conference 'Figurations of Knowledge' in Berlin as part of the stream 'Art as Research'. The paper was given in relation to the work 'Figure (Villa Elisabeth)', which was displayed above the audience's head. It seeks to explain the notion of 'figuration' in relation to the work and describes a number of transformations that were used to make the piece. The paper argues that figuration can be seen as a key reflective and visual element within artistic research.

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Artistic Research as Programme, February 2008

This keynote paper was one element of a three-part contribution to the international conference 'Art and Research: HOW?' at the Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn. The other parts were an exhibition 'Distance Circles' and a practice presentation, which was designed to answer the challenge raised in the paper. The paper discribes artistic research more as an ambition than an institutional programme, an ambition that needs to be seen separate to general art practice.

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Artistic Research and the Role of Critique

In: van Koten, H. (ed), Proceeds of Reflections on Creativity, 21 and 22 April 2006.

Dundee: Duncan of Jordanstone College, 2007. ISBN: 1 899837 56 6.


The proposed paper argues for a close relationship between artistic practice and its reflection and contextualisation through a process of critique as not only a necessary component of research but also of art itself.

The paper approaches the question of critique from a philosophical angle basing the relationship between theory and practice on Walter Benjamin's dissertation 'The Concept of Criticism in German Romanticism' (1919), which foregrounds criticism as a function of art. In arguing that the Romantic definition of modern art is still valid, the paper then moves on to speculate on some of the themes. It claims that an artistic definition of research that moves across the divide between theory and practice has been a fact during much of modern art's history, a fact, however, that only now in the context of practice-led research can claim its proper status.

[Acrobat file hosted on conference website.]


George Hanson Critical Forum 8, The Photographic Image, 13 May 2004

The George Hanson Critical Forum is a series of seminars organised by the School of Communications at the Royal College of Art in London. I was invited to structure a discussion about the 'photographic image' based on my paper The Digital Image: Photography and Photographics.

The text is the transcript of the session, in which the main points of my argument concerning photographics become clear. The transcript was published as part of a reader on the George Hanson Critical Forum in the autumn of 2004 by the Department of Communication, Art and Design at the Royal College of Art, London. The book can be ordered here.

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The Digital Image: Photography and Photographics, April 2004

This paper was given at the PixelRaiders 2 conference in Sheffield in April 2004. Click here for more information on the conference.

The first part of the paper discusses Tate Modern's recent show 'Cruel and Tender' and with it the emergence of a specific understanding of photography, which I term the 'photographic style'. Understanding photography in terms of style rather than medium enables to include digital photography. The paper proposes to use the term 'Photographics' to acknowledge the matter of fact shift of the photographic to the graphic. The second part discusses the function of rasters and grids in computer graphics and argues that the grid allows information to be represented. This process is different to the chemical process of photography where information is presented. The final part traces the emergence of grids in the history of modern art and asks with Rosalind Krauss if grids do not represent an mythical but invisible centre that applied to photography eradicates the medium's link to history.

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Lines and Figures, March 2004

The paper discusses Heidegger's position on nihilism by following his line of thought against Jünger's and Nietzsche's philosophy. Whereas Heidegger's comments towards Jünger appear to successfully counter Jünger's advance, his identification of Nietzsche's philosophy with nihilism remains questionable. The paper argues, looking at some primary sources in Hölderlin, that Heidegger's use of Hölderlin against nihilism falls short of an understanding of Hölderlin's quest towards the singular that brings Hölderlin much closer to Nietzsche than Heidegger's analysis allows. Both thinkers show a perspective against nihilism that questions Heidegger's premise of a necessary relation to Being.

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Early Computer Art and the Meaning of Information, April 2003

This text discusses the computer as Universal Machine. It gives examples of early computer art and groups these into 4 different categories (Algorithmic Art, Generative Aesthetics, Image Processing, Paint Programs). It highlights the importance of randomness for the understanding of 'information' following Shannon's 'A Mathematical Theory of Communication' and Arnheim's critical engagement with its application to the theory of art. The final chapter discusses the relationship between Conceptual Art and information technology.

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