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October 28, 2013

Artistic research: results

One of the main debates ever since the introduction of artistic research, or practice based research, is how the results should be communicated. I.e. in what form should they be presented. One important position is that artistic research should result in an artwork only. A self contained artwork through which the viewer/listener is able to extrapolate the art as well as the research component (which may be the same thing). Although I am thrilled by that possibility I think that the model holds a number of potential problems.

1. The needs and conditions for the production of a succesful artwork may interfere with the prerequisites for the communication of the research component. The last thing we want as the outcome of artistic research is bad art.

2. Whereas the visual arts may be well suited for art as research, the time based arts are not. Being contained in the flow of time it is very difficult to portray art research through music. Well, can't we use recordings? No, because a recording is not the same as a performance and using a recording as a product to communicate the result can never result in art as research as the recording is not the artwork, but a representation of the artwork.

3. One of the main reasons that I am interested in artistic research is the way in which it can contribute to dismantle the myth of the artwork as the result of a solitary act of inspiration. This ambition should make obvious the importance of sharing material between peers and between different generations. Making one's process accessible to others is a goal in itself. Secondly, to show how many artistic processes are often the result of several people collaborating, enrolled in the production of the event is another important aspect. However, the activities that have to do with the process is not easily captured in the artwork as a final result. Artistic research unable to communicate anything but the result is not going to be able to display the full potential of the discipline.

Hence, artistic research should be able to engage in many different means of communication of which writing can be one, documentation (of the process) another, both as a complement to the (documentation of) the artistic artefact.

Posted by henrikfr at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2013

Adam Smith and culture

The political economy of Adam Smith is often seen as the birth of capitalism, and economist's like Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman, advisor to Ronald Reagan and inspired Margret Thatcher's economic reforms in the 1980s, is greatly influenced by Smith. The invisible hand is Smith's concept to explain how an economy can free itself of the state and by means of the self interest of the producer contribute to maximize production and production quality through. Utility is a governing force and works for much of the produced goods and services.

The first thing that comes to mind concerning Adam Smith's wish to reduce the state is that in the 18th century Scotland the state was the king or queen and certainly not a democracy. The attempt to reduce the power of a dictatorship and an autocrat to allow more space for the freedom of the individual is rather different to the Tea Party movement in the US to reduce the democratically elected american government.

The second thing is that Smith was thinking of a local and individual production, within corporations with one person up to a few. A context radically different from the sphere of macroeconomics and multi national cooperations. What is the role of the invisible hand when the producer's main concern are the share holders rather than the customer? Also, in the 18th century the financial sector was only a tiny fraction of the economy. Today, it amounts to 20% of the GNP. What is the role of the invisible hand when the main merchandise is money.

Finally, what is the utility aspect of culture? After all, culture, in terms of usefulness is pretty vague. That's also the reason why a comparison between, say, health care and culture is a comparison between incompatible types. No, culture, like so many other practically undefined needs in society today has got to be measured following other standards.

Posted by henrikfr at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)