Post-webinar thoughts: How can art be a practice of research?

CAN ART BE A PRACTICE OF RESEARCH was presented by guest speaker Professor Timothy Ingold, world renowned Anthropologist and author of books including: Lines (2016), Making (2013), Being Alive (2011) and The Perception of the Environment (2000).

Introduction Dr Catherine Baker
Introduction Dr Catherine Baker

The premise of the webinar was that it is a commonplace that scientists do research. We might reasonably ask the scientist to justify his or her research, to explain how it is done, and to disseminate the results. But that research is what the scientist does is not in question. With artists, however, it is precisely the opposite. It would have been unusual, in the past, for artists to admit to carrying out research, and even more unusual for the public to recognise it as such. Nowadays however, for a variety of reasons – partly institutional, partly to do withIntroduced by Dr Catherine Baker funding, but largely connected to changing practices in art itself – more and more artists present what they are doing as research. And this leaves the public puzzled. Are they pretending to behave like scientists? And if they are, what are they trying to find out, and what kinds of knowledge do they think their art can contribute that science cannot? That artists often find such questions difficult if not impossible to answer only serves to increase public suspicion.

Professor Tim Ingold
Professor Tim Ingold

In his lecture Professor Ingold turns these normal expectations upside down. He argued that research is fundamentally a practice of art, in which science has consistently fallen short.

This is a link to the webinar recording.

https://web.microsoftstream.com/video/e91e6d99-4592-43ca-afbf-85387ba81209

ME member Lucy Paris made the Lino cut below while listening to Professor Ingold. she shared the print with the BCU #printgang who meet Tues, Wed and Thursdays at 2:30 on Teams to discuss, debate and make. If you would like to join them make a request to Justin.sanders@bcu.ac.uk

Lucy Paris shares her lino cut from the webinar

LOCKDOWN

LOCKDOWN by Jonnie Turpie

Lockdown is difficult. No doubt about it.

For artist and researchers alike it is not easy to focus on intellectual or artistic work. If one is a practice-based researcher, as many material encounters members are, our practice has to be undertaken at home rather than in the studio or Art school facilities. Our reading and writing are interrupted, diverted or dominated by the tragic reality we are experiencing.

What to do? In order to keep making I have worked digitally, seeking material opportunities to output physical marks and images. To keep writing I have made a weekly reflective blog: LOCKDOWN. It is simply a structure that allows me to collate the week’s important events, chance occurrences, new possibilities, shared experiences and personal moments that have made the LOCKDOWN week memorable.

I have had some positive feedback and share the link below.  http://printsanew.jonnieturpie.com/blog

I make no claim to intellectual progression, but only to keep in mind that LOCKDOWN will end sometime, somehow and reflecting may be valuable to go forward come the day.

If cluster members wished to capture their own Lockdown weeks’ we could make this digital space a home for your musings in words and pictures. Publish yourself and link to this site or send to me and I will create a thread or LOCKDOWN space for us.

Take Care. Stay Safe.

Art as a practice of research seminar: Prof Tim Ingold

20th May 2021 | 15:00-16:30 GMT | Online

We are delighted to invite guest speaker Professor Timothy Ingold, world renowned Anthropologist and author of books including: Lines (2016), Making (2013), Being Alive (2011) and The Perception of the Environment (2000).

It is a commonplace that scientists do research. We might reasonably ask the scientist to justify his or her research, to explain how it is done, and to disseminate the results. But that research is what the scientist does is not in question. With artists, however, it is precisely the opposite. It would have been unusual, in the past, for artists to admit to carrying out research, and even more unusual for the public to recognise it as such. Nowadays however, for a variety of reasons – partly institutional, partly to do with funding, but largely connected to changing practices in art itself – more and more artists present what they are doing as research. And this leaves the public puzzled. Are they pretending to behave like scientists? And if they are, what are they trying to find out, and what kinds of knowledge do they think their art can contribute that science cannot? That artists often find such questions difficult if not impossible to answer only serves to increase public suspicion.

In this lecture Professor Ingold would like to turn these normal expectations upside down. In brief, he will argue that research is fundamentally a practice of art, in which science has consistently fallen short.

This event is open to Material Encounters Research Cluster members on a first come basis after which additional places will be made available for BCU researchers via an email invitation. The event is expected to be extremely popular and booking is essential. Any questions, in the first instance, should be directed to catherine.baker@bcu.ac.uk.

This event has ended. Take a look at our post-seminar thoughts here.

Alex Barratt

Initially having studied artist blacksmithing to degree level, Alex’s practice evolved to encompass the use of 3D printing as a means of manufacturing components not readily available off the shelf. This amalgamation of tradition coupled with technological advances became the key focus of his practice, developing onto a specific interest into integration and how the incorporation of the modern can enhance and influence both the outcome and the perceived value of the final finished piece. His practice has developed further to consider how 3D scanning can allow for the seamless merger of forged steel and other materials through the medium of digital fabrication, exploring the crossover point between the synthetic and the hand wrought.

Ana Rutter

Ana is a practicing artist and a PhD researcher based between Birmingham School of Art and The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Her research centres around affect, embodied installation and the commonplace aural landscapes that we live within, it is concerned with affecting experience created using re-mediated gathered material. Her practice spans sound, video, digital image and sculptural installation processes. Ana is currently part way through a two-year research residency at Dyffryn House and Gardens, a national trust property in South Wales, which will culminate in an exhibition in early 2020.

Ana holds an MA in fine Art; has a background in devising and delivering education programs and working with participatory practice, she co-directed The Bond Gallery an ACE funded artist run spaces in Digbeth, Birmingham in the 1990’s and is currently a senior technical demonstrator teaching video and audio gathering and editing processes, specialising in Fine Art video / sound installation practice at Birmingham School of Art.

www.anarutter.com<http://www.anarutter.com>

Catherine Baker

Catherine is an Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Practice at Birmingham School of Art, she leads this cluster with Jacqueline Taylor with support from doctoral researcher Jonnie Turpie.

Catherine’s early PhD research developed from an interest in the neurobiology of the eye. This work involving laboratory work which investigated the role of eye movements in the act of observational drawing. This work led to clinical research residencies from which she developed an interest in the relationship between the patient(s) and diagnostic imagery, and the implications that technologies that facilitate being able to ‘look under the skin’ bring about. She has worked at the interface with biological science for much of her career with the last 6yrs located more towards medicine and the clinical experience. Her current work investigates the experience of clinical diagnosis and illness as a disruption of the human ‘being’ rather than the failure of the biological ‘body’. This vital work explores the profound sense of loss experienced by the alienated self in illness.

www.catherinebaker.co.uk

Chloé Masi

Chloé is an artist, lecturer and researcher. She holds an MA from the Royal College of Art and is a member of the University of the West of England’s Drawing Research Group.

Through drawing Chloé Masi explores the potential of sketching. Chloé’s sketches are made up of essential lines and marks. Chloé explores the ability of the sketch to capture a first-person point of view, including one’s observations, past memories and future imaginings simultaneously. She also explores the potential of the specific materials that the sketch involves -the paper and the pencil – and the connection between these materials and their abilities to capture intuitiveness, immediateness and directness.

Email: Chloe.masi@bcu.ac.uk

Website www.chloeregan.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chloereganartist/

Twitter chloe__regan

Flora Parrott

Flora is artist-researcher currently undertaking a TECHNE funded PhD in the Geography Department at Royal Holloway University London.The work looks at notions of the subterranean, experiences of darkness and the restructuring of the senses.Working in the geography department has influenced and reframed the approach to making: Recent projects have experimented with the idea of fieldwork and with the expansion of the conference format; co-ordinating interdisciplinary, thematic events that exist outside of the traditional conference environment.

The work is inherently collaborative, often developed with other artists and I have also worked with earth scientists, an evolutionary biologist, geographers and historians – it is important to me that these relationships are ongoing and foster a sense of exchange.A background in printmaking and a fascination with material investigation is at the centre of the development process of the work.

Gay Place

Gay is a practice led research candidate and senior technician based at the School of Art, whose main interests are situated within an observed engagement with material practice and accompanied by a curiosity for an understanding of bodily knowing. Art practice is used as a research tool to explore the boundaries of physical presence and experience, whilst investigating ideas of embodiment and identity.

 It is widely considered that the distinctions between nature and culture are intrinsically entangled which can be seen to express the primacy of embodiment. However, embodiment as a model refers to the body as not just an embodied quality, but demands a consideration of how that bodily material or physical materiality is experienced. That is, it relates to the phenomenal body and our understanding of the function it has within our object focussed experiences. This opens many lines of enquiry and acknowledges the significance of a moment which is occurring culturally that addresses complex issues of identity structures and bodily and sexual subjectivity always being open to question and uncertainty.

Works are produced which interrogate ideas of embodiment, whilst consistently looking forward to demands that we think critically and creatively around why and what, essentially, we are in the process of becoming. Provoking an investigation into the precarious nature of bodily identity and encouraging a reinvestment in thinking about the body in terms of both representation and interpretation. 

Harriet Carter

Harriet’s practice-led doctoral research titled ‘Beyond transposition? Exploring painting and the metaphysical through birdsong and Olivier Messiaen’s Catalogue d’oiseaux’ is situated between the School of Art and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. 

Her research interrogates the mechanisms of transposition between the auditory and the visual, through encounters with birdsong and painted surfaces. The painted surfaces seek the unknown and intangible ephemera of natural birdsong and Messiaen’s imaginative musical responses, metamorphosising between painted layers. The still and silence of the paintings attempt to apprehend fluctuating sound, located somewhere between abstraction and figuration, pushing the boundaries of transposition as both method and concept. 

e | harriet.carter2@mail.bcu.ac.uk 

w | harrietpcarter.com

Jacqueline Taylor

Jacqueline is an artist-researcher and Senior Lecturer in Research Practice. She primarily works in the area of doctoral education where she specialises in developing and delivering research training for Arts, Design & Media PhD researchers. Her teaching specialism lies in the area of practice-led research and she has presented, taught and published widely on the subject both across the UK and abroad. She also runs the Material Encounters research cluster with Dr Catherine Baker.

Her PhD ‘Writing//painting; l’écriture féminine and difference in the making’ (2013) drew on poststructuralist semiotic frameworks to propose new theories and practices of meaning-making in abstract painting. Specifically, her research examined the material, performative and embodied components of language and their intersection with art-making.

Jacqueline’s artistic research traverses the fields of painting, art writing and performance, often taking the form of ‘hybrid’ work such as paintscultpstallations, textstallations, book-paintings, performance-texts and painting poems. Located at the intersection of aesthetic practice and poetics, her research explores the ways in which non-representational art practices signify and enable meaning-making. Alongside publications in these fields, Jacqueline develops and performs her research in the form of ‘hybrid’ outputs that bring together academic and artistic discourses. She is also a practising artist and has exhibited globally, alongside art-writing and other artistic projects.

Jennifer Ng

Jennifer’s art practice traverses multiple disciplines in her attempt to explore ideas and meanings lying within their interstices. Her works span across painting, sculptures, installation, participatory and performance art as she engages embodied experience with materials and space.

She is currently interested in the phenomenological interaction with objects, specifically their tangible, intangible associations and narrative potentiality. In her Practice-led research, she explores the material culture of a hybrid community in Southeast Asia known as the Peranakan. The Peranakan objects that once held social and cultural significance may now be associated with the community in different ways, and in tandem with a waning cultural spirit. However, the ubiquitous presence of the Pernanakan objects seem almost to resist the presumably fading culture.

In this study, Jennifer uses the Peranakan objects as a point of reference to understand and re-imagine the cultural markers of the Peranakan in the contemporary context. Her recent works explore the ideas of absence, memories and obsolescence embedded within the conundrum.

Email: su.ng@mail.bcu.ac.uk

Website: https://www.jennifernsy.com