Tensions between "the artwork" and "exegeses of the artwork"

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Barrett, Estelle. Introduction to Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Inquiry," edited by Estelle Barrett and Barbara Bolt, 1-13. London: I.B.Taurus & Co Ltd., 2007.

  • Practice-based inquiry remains under recognized, in part because artists themselves are sometimes suspicious of theory and reticent to discuss their work.
  • Researchers need to be more articulate about their work: "Rather than attempting to contort aims, objectives and outcomes to satisfy criteria set for more established models of research, I believe there is a need to generate appropriate discourses to convince assessors and policy-makers that within the context of studio-based research, innovation is derived from methods that cannot always be predetermined, and "outcomes" of artistic research are necessarily unpredictable." (3)
  • More meta-research on art research is needed: Publications like Practice as Research indicate how the dynamics of the circulation and consumption of art product (Barrett's word) outstrips the logic economic exchange and normative understanding of cultural capital as a core concern for arts researchers. These publications also highlight "the philosophical dimensions of artistic practice and its ineluctable relationship with philosophical and theoretical paradigms." (3)
  • Studio researchers must to go beyond generating discourses for art research and taking an interest in how these discourses are deployed and circulated more generally. This may help challenge established views of what constitutes research, knowledge and cultural capital. (3-4) In other words: new strategies for sharing art research are required.
  • Referencing Barbara Bolt's notion of "materializing practices," Barrett writes (somewhat obliquely): "Rather than constituting a relationship between image and text...materializing practices constitute relationships between process and text--of which the first iteration is necessarily the researcher's own self-reflexive mapping of the emergent work as enquiry. A dialogic relationship between studio practice and the artist's own critical commentary in writing of the creative arts exegesis is crucial to articulating and harnessing the outcomes of these materializing practices for further application." (5) - That Barrett talks about the artist producing a "critical commentary" is curious... Doesn't this approach run the risk of explicating the practice? Other models could include - reflection, critique and so on.

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