Image from "Local Time: Muri 10th July 2015 1400 (-1000)" at Oceanic Performance Biennial, Rarotonga. Image courtesy Local Time.

Image from "Local Time: Muri 10th July 2015 1400 (-1000)" at Oceanic Performance Biennial, Rarotonga. Image courtesy Local Time.

Artistic Research in the Era of Globalization

Danny Butt

In her book An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization (2012), Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak notes that the aesthetic has the potential to shake up our habit of not thinking about our habits. In this way, and in accordance with a range of theories of contemporary art, artistic knowledge holds a kind of negative value, opening us to our specific location on the planet and our specific ways of sensing “the world”.  The rapid growth of the university in both scale and spread in the last half-century, its financialisation and reconfiguration as an education industry, and the networked information technologies that transport its knowledge have combined to provide new conditions for education’s “globalisability”,and its potential synchronisation and distribution over the globe. How could we understand the situation of the  student engaged in “artistic research” as a subject and object of this global circuit? How is this linked to the aestheticisation of the economy, the growth of the art market and the art education market, and the valorisation of “creativity” by speculative capital? This workshop will introduce key issues in the development of artistic research as an international phenomenon, and collectively sense and articulate specific strategies for artists engaged in a higher education setting.

By the end of the course students will be able to:

* Describe a general history and the development of artistic research

* Use language adapted from artistic research discourses to analyse the practices of their own and other practices

* Critically assess the geopolitical context of artistic research

* Describe the potential for artistic research methods to open new directions for their own practice in a global context


Day 1

10:00 - 11:00 - Introduction to course, aims and protocols, discussion of student aspirations for the course.

11:00 - 13:00 Seminar: Artistic Research: Histories and Openings: Reviewing the major works and questions underpinning artistic research. 90 minute presentation plus 30 minutes discussion.

13:00-14:00 - Lunch

14:00 - 15:30 -  Seminar: Search and research - Theory, method and methodology in artistic practices. Participants will break down artistic projects using language adopted from research methodologies, taking a critical approach to the potential openings and closures such analysis enables.

15:30 -  16:30 Participants take their own project through an artistic research frame, adapting models provided or generating one’s own approach.

16:30 -  17:00 - Wrap-up and evaluation - the potential of artistic research

Day 2
10:00 - 11:30 Lecture and Q&A : Globality and planetarity - How can Spivak’s notion of “planetarity” be understood in the context of artistic practices in the era of globalisation? What would be the differential materialisations of this concept in artistic research undertaken in different spatial, cultural and socioeconomic locations?

11:30 - 13:00 Practice case study: Rachel O’Reilly

13:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-17:00 - Seminar: Worlding practices - Participants generate a map of global currents that underpin their practices, closing with a discussion on moves that could make the inquiry meet the issue of “planetarity.”

Day 3
10:00-11:30 - Lecture and discussion: The Neoliberal University and Globalisation.

11:30-13:00 Seminar: Artistic Infrastructure and the Global Economy. This workshop presents ethical and political dilemmas encountered by artists seeking to work ethically with institutions. The emphasis is on collaboratively developing strategies and discourses of practice that can work through issues in practice, specifically through a discussion of artistic boycotts.

13:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-16:00 Seminar: The University and the Undercommons / Debt and Study.  In two influential articles, Fred Moten and Stefano Harney have proposed a critique of academic professionalisation and “business as usual” in the contemporary university. In this exercise students are encouraged to articulate the limitations imposed on their own practice by “academic business” and collaboratively propose ways to respond to these.

16:00-17:00 Evaluation and wrap-up.

Required Readings
Butt, Danny. 2017. Artistic Research in the Future Academy. Bristol: Intellect. Introduction, and Chapter Three “Artistic Research: Defining the Field.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 2011. An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Chapter 16, “Imperative to Reimagine the Planet

Moten, Fred, and Stefano Harney. 2004. “The University and the Undercommons: Seven Theses.” Social Text 22 (2). Duke University Press: 101–15.

Moten, Fred, and Stefano Harney. 2010. “Debt and Study.” E-Flux, no. 14 (March).

Materials students should bring to class
Students should bring working documentation of a current research project / projects that can be shared with the group.