Thesis Map

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Aspect Content Dialogic Strategies and Models Considerations

Keywords:rationales, reserch question, Relational Aesthetics, critique of respresentations of practitioner subjectivities in collaboration, chapter overview

(1) Background to the research question - rationales for the research
  • Emerged as a critique of Relational Aesthetics

(2) Identifying knowledge gaps

  • Lack of discussion around collaboration from a practioner's perspective - experiential considerations
  • Lack of theory and or criticism of discursive practice - with dialogic art exemplifying this trend
  • Lack of discussion around subjectivies of collaborators/participants/contributors/addressees in collaborative art practice

(3) Overview of the research - identification of "claim" - approach

  • From collaborative practice to something else - a dialogic sensibility (engaging with different forms of otherness) - a way of working more generally - not about working in a collaboration but about working collaboratively in a dialogic fashion - all the time

(4) Discuss interrelationships between aspects of the thesis - written and practical components - (intimate) how the "written" is practical in important ways
(5) Chapter Overview

*Could be monologic - in contrast to the dialogic aspects of the other elements - What would this mean in practice? Considerations of terminology - highlight the glossary at the end of the thesis.

(1) This section may be theorizing the barcamp presentations ways that are illustrative
(2) Concerns around claims - making claims that:

  • Aren't substantiated by the research
  • Are different from the research findings

(3) How to transition into the barcamp? How does this chapter anticipate the rest of the thesis as a barcamp?

Welcome Address
Presented by Marsha Bradfield
(1) Background to the conference, how, for example, it differs from other conferences on dialogue

(2) Establish the terms of engagement for the barcamp - (unconference) - assembly - self-organized emphasis on discussion
(3) Sketch some key themes and embrace diverse points of view - variety of practitioners

Presented as an address - an (in)formal welcome speech
  • Refer back to the "call for contributions" and offer an anecdote about responses to the call - discuss editing/revision process involved in drafting this call.

(1) tone - comparatively formal
(2) emphasis on practice - dialogic
(3) emphasis on addressivity - hospitality - shared knowledge production - emergent and constituative understandings
(4) emphasis on discussion - short presentations
(5) sitedness of the barcamp - in an artschool and the implications of this context (draw from MA and Malcolm's scholarship)
(6) anticipate plenary - identifying key themes/questions to take forward into future conferences
How to identify shift from "dialogue" to the "dialogic"? Immediate strategy: from noun to verb - focus on language - obvious problem: reinscribes the hegemony of verbal language

The Utterance: From Linguistics to Art - An Interdisciplinary Approach
Keywords: Utterance, sentence, context of enunciation, textual environment, turns of talk, Goffman, text
forthcoming forthcoming forthcoming
The Ethics of Addressivity and Answerability: Otherness and Bakhtin's Non-Alibi for Being
Keywords: addressivity, answerability, responsibility, non-alibi for being, posture for engagement, ethics, otherness, subjectivity
The aims of this presentation are to establish the following
(1) Drawing on Bakhtin and furthering Dyson's discussion - dialogue depends on addressivity and answerability and these "dynamics" (this is my word, not Anscombe's) indicate an engagement with an other--specifically a human other. Dialogue is an encounter with otherness - it's about negotiating difference.

(2) As an encounter with otherness, the ethics of engagement that dialogue entails require specific consideration as socially situated - Hence the specifics of this engagement are contingent and complex.
(3) The situated nature of engagement does not, however, make the ethics of engagement completely relativist on Bakhtin's view. He instead holds that we're ultimately responsible for our engagement with an other--in all the complexity this engagement entails. This position is articulated in his thesis of "non-alibi for being" i.e. that no one can live my life in my place - I'm always (eventually) accountable for my own actions. (Though I'm reading this "accountability" as much in terms of understanding as judgment.) - Critically, this responsibility for engagement (understood as "response" in the form of "being as event") is not about "right or wrong" behaviour in an absolute sense. Bakhtin contests any totalizing systems. Instead, it is based on an experience of the self in relation to the other as (spatio-temporaly) situated. Hence what is consistent in Bakhtin's scheme is not a code of action that anticipates/determines a particular outcome--and against which this outcome can be measured. Instead it is a posture for engagement that precedes any action while also anticipating the subject's eventual accountability.
(4) This section aims to raise the emergence of a dialogic subjectivity
(5) To raise (rather than resolve) the question: What is the prime mover of this approach? Is it an ethical claim, i.e. that dialogic subjects are good--more equitable. Or is it a pragmatic claim, where ethics comes in later: Collaborative practice produces dialogic subjects; failing to acknowledge this subjectivity at the level of authorship (and output) is unethical--which is why we need an intersubjective/dialogic theory of art.

(a) Declares that while there may be no alibi for being, there's benefit in using "agent provocateurs" to stimulate discussions in situations like this one, especially at the beginning of the barcamp when there's a lack of familiarity. And so Anscombe has primed people to comment - and encouraged them to prepare specific responses.

(b) Observes the general absence of ethics in the barcamp thus far.
(c) Focus on human others is important here - lay the foundations for later discussions on other kinds of otherness (ANT +) - this connects to the rub between "literal" and "metaphoric" dialogue in the thesis.
(d) This is also the place to introduce Nealon's critique of the Bakhtinian other - and how his particular notion of responsibility is ultimately selfish. (And this is what Anscombe is, in a way, enacting through her deployment of others to facilitate the discussion.)
(e) A question about Anscombe's use of agent provocateurs - How exactly did she ask you do it?

This presentation is a turning point in the thesis because it
(a) raises the issue of intersubjectivity
(b) approaches it from a philosophical perspective, thereby moving the debate from linguistics/pragmatics into philosophy/psychology
(c)identifies a two-fold bias in the research:
  • focus on the subjectivity as the subject's experience of self - the research cannot account for the other, as the other's subjectivity isn't accessible - Dealing this significant "unknown" that's an important tenet of dialogic practice.
  • (2) focus on subjectivity - as distinct from the subject.

Anticipating questions around the relationship between ethics and aesthetics in dialogic (becoming). I don't like the term "becoming" - it's too loaded - it connotes Deleuze in particular. Perhaps there's an alternative, a less loaded expression in process philosophy. Or perhaps positing a term like "emergence" will suffice.

The Real Problem with Dostoevsky's Poetics

Keywords: Dostoevsky, Authorship, Polyphony, Heteroglossia, Monologism, Portrait of an Event, (Thick) Mess

This presentation aims to:
Approach art via literary theory
(1) observe some of Dostoevsky's dialogic strategies and how they produce what Bakhtin calls "The Polyphonic Novel"; discuss how these novels are distinct from monologic novels, exemplified by Tolstoy

(2) Look at the limitations of Dostoevksy's approach - no genuine others = and there's a collapse into monologism at the end
(3) Argue that this collapse isn't such a problem if what we focus on is the account he offers - Thinking about "the novel" in terms of thickness of the account - connect this to ANT and tracing different relationships. (So, a novel is understood in much broader terms - not just as a written fiction)

  • Argue that what we get instead is a portrait of the event - portrait is a good metaphor here - thinking through the lens of intertextuality (which produces portraits of texts)- because it suggests a stoppage in time - something portrayed at a particular time and in a particular space - also nice because it connotes a picture of a person - human aspect - focus on human relations (which are often mediated through technologies) - intersubjectivity
  • Evokes Bakhtin's discussion of finalization - which has to occur from the outside - Only an other can finalize me by creating an image of me; I can never finalize myself because to do so means I'm dead. But he seems to suggest the authors primary role is to finalize the hero (the Other) in novels.

(4) Discuss the relevance of Bakhtin's literary theory for art - produce a different kind of art - compare Bakhtin's theories of poetry with normative notions of art as object - something contained and consumable

  • The first question in discussion draws out the presentation's overarching argument: What this approach is dealing with is a way of negotiating excess - mess - stuff that refuses to be compartmentalized and easily resolved - The messiness of stuff in the world and the messiness of stuff in one's head - messy knowledge (This connects to John Law's Making a Mess of Method) - This approach tries to describe this stuff without necessarily organising it into artificial categories - beyond taxonomies and towards greater and greater complexity.
  • The presentation/questions should enact examples of Dostoevsky's double-voicedness (identified) and proposed by the presentation
  • Portrait metaphor - unnecessarily anthropomorphic?
  • Reference to ANT too much?
Dialogism, Intertextuality, Text, Event
Keywords: Intertextuality, Kristeva, Text, Event - (to Encounter), Sophie Calle

(1) A critique of intertextuality: intertextuality vs dialogism (Acknowledge the fashion of theory [Intertexuality has fallen out of fashion] - also, in a way, Kristeva read/reworked Bakhtin via intertextualtiy. So what Rooksby is proposing is a (re)reading of Bakhtin by way of intertextuality - working backwards)
(2) Observe a problem with intertextuality - fetishizes "text" and "reading" at the expensive of spoken expression and "authorial intention" (there's got to be something between the "reader as author" and the intentional fallacy...Rooksby's hunch: this operates at the level of a two-way practice that confounds the divide between "producing" and "produced" - this seems connected to a dialogic literacy [a later presentation] as a "new" way of engaging art.)
(3) dialogues (and utterances) as a chain of context-specific events - situated and specific instances of "encounter" - this encounter is important (for Bakhtin) because it highlights the extralinguistic - much more than just what's being trafficed between texts....dialogue engages a different kind of encounter than intertextuality via turn taking - not just about reading one text through another but about some kind of sustained and/or traceable interaction and the complexities these interactions entail. So utterances develop a memory of one another (what Bakhtin would call dialogized dialogue) in a way that's not necessarily the case among texts--at least not in the case of intertextuality.
(4) Discuss the aesthetics of dialogue (as opposed to intertextuality) by proposing ways that Sophie Calle's "Take Care of Yourself" might shift from being an intertextual artwork to a dialogic one - propose an iteration this artwork that focuses on "eventness"

  • (Re)making Sophie Calle's "Take Care of Yourself" in a way that's event oriented - situated in the barcamp
  • A question in the discussion about what Rooksby didn't address: Kristeva's sense that intertextualty replaces intersubjectivity. Rooksby's presentation tends to emphasise intrasubjectivity - which is something that all art (as a social enterprise) engages with anyway.
  • Pushing the significance of "event" as a modality that's different from "text" - The challenge: text reasserts itself in various ways, including as documentation - How might documentation agitate its own "textness"? This seems wrapped up with moving beyond the rhetorical - Connects back to addressivity - keeping addressivity fresh and immediate--It's also connected to unfinalizability.
  • Perhaps there should be a question here about the difference between "event" and "encounter" - Encounter may be a better term to describe what's happening dialogically.
The Politics of the Dialogic
Keywords: Politics, decision-making, different kinds of otherness, risk, Ecoes, Parade
(1) Make the distinction between "Doing art politically" and "doing political art" - segue into the whole question of decision-making in the context of the artwork.

(2) Acknowledge this relates to authorship and agency - identity how certain structures condition certain types of engagement - participation, collaboration, collectives
(3) Case Study: Compare and contrast two projects by Critical Practice - Ecoes and (ideally) Parade - identity their different approaches and how they engaged with third-parties differently

  • Ecoes: Internally incoherent - not flexible/robust enough to engage with unknown others - structure couldn't accommodate external points of view in a meaningful way - very useful, however, for CP as the immediate audience - Is this a viable approach? A group of practitioners making artworks for one another? What happens when they're "shown"? In this case the artwork imploded.
  • Parade: Similarly a platform approach - but the contributing constituency is comprised of people inside/outside of the group - and this combination is part and parcel of the project's terms of engagement

(4) There's a call/invitations for contributions but there is no vetting of these contributions in advance (focus is placed on the contributor instead of his/or contribution and not on "the work of art" as is often the case in art exhibitions--the obvious exception being performances) What's important, however, is "buy in" and stake holding...Benefits for contributors is important. (5) Observe the significance of hospitality and reciprocity as a form of responsiveness on the part of the facilitator/hosts - and this is what makes it dialogic - so it's about working with various types of others (this corresponds to different planes of dialogue) in a way that's open and inclusive but also rigorous - committed. And this is where the risk comes in--How to proceed when you don't know the outcome?

These are the questions following the presentation:

Question: Artworks operate like "events" and/or "performances"? A different model of dialogic practice from the the idea of the account proposed earlier. Or is Parade, for example, about creating some kind of realtime account--an index of sorts?
Response: Question raises issue of producing constituencies (make the distinction between a constituency and a congregation). The event is about creating a temporary constituency comprised of weak ties. There's the event in realtime and then there're various accounts after the event - a critical mass of accounts - so engaging with these accounts is not about creating a master account, a master narrative. Instead it's about a distributed engagement across the accounts - this model of dialogic engagement can be understood as a form of dynamic annotation concerned with aggregating different perspectives--different voices. This depends on web 2.0 technologies - assumes that people are reflecting on/logging the event online and that's perhaps a problematic assumption as it suggests a target audience for the event in advance and/or a privileged set of perceptions in retrospect... But the point is, and this is something that was expressed in the previous presentation, there needs to be some kind of inscription at some point--even if it's under erasure and/or contested. In fact, I would argue, that's really about contesting different accounts and accounts contesting accounts...One can imagine creating what's been called today "a portrait of event" after the fact by aggregating these various account into a network of links and then proposing multiple paths through these links, where the juxtapositions between them actually served to dialogize their content. This seems very close to the idea of intertextuality identified above...but again to echo what that presenter said, it's not so much the texts that are important as the voice/perspectives/languages inscribed in the texts. This is about acknowledging (different) contributions and, in the process, distributing social capital... Question/Comment: Invite someone in Ecoes to give a very different reading of this project...

Play with "reported speech" as a space for dialogization by asking someone who was really involved in Ecoes to comment on the account I've offered here.
Dialogic Practice and the Discursive Turn
Keywords: Lacanian psychoanalysis, Discursive turn in art and culture, encounter, self defined differently via different others, reflexive practice

This presentation aims to: (1) Revisit the ethic of dialogic practice by mining the utterance for its symbolic significance--its function in the symbolic order (so this presentation is grounded in Lacanian psychoanalysis)
(2) review the significance of response by comparing and contrasting Bakhtinan and Lacanian subjectivities "The Lacanian intervention makes subjectivity dependent upon the recognition of an irreducible distance separating self from other, and in so doing, turns psychic life into a series of irremediable losses and misrecognitions. But while Lacan seems to see human beings as eternally susceptible to the lure, as ontologically defined by lack and imperfection, as subject to a desire that can only lead to an impasse of dissatisfaction, Bakhtin foregrounds the human capacity to mutually "author" one another, the ability to dialogically intersect on the frontiers between selves." source
(3) Arguing the "discursive turn" in art (exemplified by CP's barcamps, Ian Wilson's lectures, Hans Ulrich Obrist's curatorial conversations) is about much more than just restoring the social bond (Clare Bishop) - it's also about more than interdisciplinary epistemological inquiry (Mic Wilson) - This presenter wants to argue that it's about creating an opportunity for encounter where we constitute ourselves in relation to an other. How isn't this about fortifying the social bond? This inquiry is not necessarily "positive" - While Bohm and others might define dialogue as well-mannered, there are other notions - including Mouffe's notion of Agonism (4) What's important here is the encounter - and it's attending to the politics of a wide-range of encounters (encounters with different types of others) that we cultivate new and complex subjectivities that surprise even ourselves - but there has to be this aspect of risk - and trust - it's not about policing intersubjective exchange to ensure it's fair - it's about immersing oneself in it with the view observing the forces that produce difference. (4) Observing and responding to this production of difference is what distinguishes a reflexive practitioner - so in a way, being dialogic is about being reflexive

Enacts Lacanian lack by defining dialogic practice in the negative - What it's's not discourse, it's not conversation, it's not dialectics...(all of which will be defined in the glossary instead of in the text to avoid unnecessary clutter while still demonstrating an awareness of these modes of interaction and how they formally and/or epistemologically compare/contrast with one another.) Forthcoming
Lunch Break conversation: The Problem with Buffets


This discussion (in contrast to the presentations populating the barcamp) takes place over an extraordinary buffet (most unlikely for [un]conferences). Hence the contributors linger over lunch.
(1) Discussion around issues presented in the first half of the barcamp
(2) Revisit the subject of ANT and compare and contrast this sociological approach to the approach of literary theory - What do we lose/gain from engaging from different disciplinary perspectives? The value of ANT: it provides a method for mapping complexity and making visible what might otherwise be hidden; the limitations of this approach: it tells us nothing about the aesthetics/poetics of the dialogic. Also ANT tells us nothing about power--which is why a Foucaultian subjectivity (as two-fold) is so interesting for dialogic practice: It acknowledges the subject as fettered by discursive apparatuses but it also imagines the subject as creative and having some agency to challenge/play with these constraints. (3) Discussion around the siteness of the barcamp - in an artschool - and the significance of this context - reference MA and Malcolm's work on the art school as a particular context for critical engagement.
(1) The buffet provides as obvious metaphor for the omnivorousness of a dialogic approach.
(2) The conversation is more wide-ranging than the focused barcamp discussions and it enacts a greater degree of heteroglossia (a clash of different types of languages and the politics they inscribe [i.e. formal academic speech and polite conversation/small talk])
(3) Emphasis on reported speech and narration as well as anecdote.
(4) Compare and contrast the different types of speech occurring at the two tables (the guests are seated at two round tables of eight). Each of the tables enacts a different approach to dialogue which occurs, in a spirit of reciprocity, at the level of both content and form. For example: The tension between the British and American academic traditions is manifest through the interlocutors demeanors as well as their prose styles (including spelling).
  • This is the most literary aspect of the thesis; the prose style should draw directly from Dostoevsky's model, which emphasises thick, rich texture often animated by sound (emphasis listening). It would be exciting if these contributors/presenters came into their own as characters here and really came to live as Bakhtin believes they do in Dostoevsky's novels.
  • The challenge here will be to manage the excess; much of this chapter could be argued non-essential to the thesis - in a very direct and substantiated way. But I'm hoping it might be a place for exploring the various forms that shape knowledge production in the context of art research. My aim here is to show instead of tell these perceptions...
Authorship(s), Dialogic Literacy and Epic Theatre forthcoming The speaker arrives at the barcamp during lunch - acknowledges this isn't normative barcamp behaviour and apologizes - Coming late, however, means she's in a particular position - she doesn't take for granted the knowledge that's been constituted thus far and this enables her to question certain assumptions forming in the group. forthcoming
Towards a Theory of (Dialogic) Art forthcoming forthcoming forthcoming
Listening and Response: Attention, Influence and Action - A Critique of Collaboration forthcoming forthcoming forthcoming
Being Dialogic: A Theory of Dialogic Art as Practice]] forthcoming forthcoming forthcoming
Plenary forthcoming forthcoming forthcoming
Conclusion: Claims revisited, critique of findings, suggestions for further research forthcoming forthcoming

Approximate word-count breakdown - as the "chapters" are actually the transcripts of the barcamp's proceedings, it seems reasonable to think about them as roughly the same length - approximately fifteen minutes each with five minutes for questions = twenty minutes a pop. And since the rough rule of thumb is 150 words a minute, that means that each presentation shouldn't exceed 2000 words.

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