6 November – 7 November 2014


Parenthesis – An Un-conference

A space to process and resonate questions of form in Artistic Research

HEAD, University of Art and Design, Geneva, Switzerland

For the SARN unconference, we – Nikolaus Gansterer, Mariella Greil and Emma Cocker – shared findings from the research project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line by presenting a ‘version’ of our recent ‘method lab’ in the form of a hybrid performative lecture involving live performance, drawing and spoken word. The ‘method lab’ is an ‘experimental laboratory’ or ‘relational environment’, conceived as the making of a milieu for thinking in-and-with practice, a ‘making space’ or the making of space [and time, mental and actual] dedicated to the process of exploration and experimentation. Our intent was towards a mode of presentation for showing as much as telling, for indicating towards the live experimental conditions that comprise our working method lab, the working methodologies and systems of notation developed therein. We presented a 24-hour environment comprising text and image video installations drawing on recent exploratory investigations, which were further activated at two points during the un-conference through a 40-minute performative lecture. This event was a pivotal point within the first year of our research for embedding playfulness and a willingness to experiment within our mode of presentation, an attempt to blur the line between research production and dissemination. Rather than being conclusive, our presentation attempted to reflect on and also honour the process of the research enquiry. Interweaving aesthetic, poetic and performative sensibilities, our enquiry has progressed through moments of shimmering understanding, oscillating between the experience of knowing and not knowing, between clarity and opacity, between grasping something and then losing it again, the falling in and out of understanding that is a necessary part of affective sense-making. Materials presented during this conference – including a series of short video works capturing our live exploration – have since been developed and critically reflected upon further through as part of the research article Choreo-graphic Figures: Beginnings and Emergences (See On Process).

Conference context: Since artistic research has gained its official place in European art schools, there has been much reflection over its specific
characteristics. The aim within this 24-hour unconference was to create a space that explores the relationship between format and project in the process
of practising artistic research. How does our mode of presentation influence how our research projects resonate in their material and
with their audiences? Let’s examine the question of format in its aesthetic as well as its political dimensions
- reflect on the relationship between form and content
- make a space where things can happen
- question the epistemology of artistic research through the examination of the format as a theme: What kind of knowledge does art produce and how is it communicated? During 24 hours and through the shape of an Un-conference, SARN brought together artists, research workers, speakers, performers and students in order to see, discuss, drink, experiment, eat and think together the current challenges in artistic research.

PARENTHESIS was organized by SARN Swiss Artistic Research Network & HEAD Geneva, ECAV Sierre

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