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VIS # 1 – RISK IN ARTISTIC RESEARCH

Contributed the essay “A Few Notes about Getting Lost (Again) to the inaugural issue of VIS – Nordic Journal for Artistic Research

https://www.en.visjournal.nu/tag/issue-1/

VIS – Nordic Journal for Artistic Research is a new digital journal about Artistic Research in the Nordic region. The journal is the result of a cooperation between Stockholm University of the Arts and Norwegian Artistic Research Programme. The purpose of the journal is to serve as a basic source of knowledge for anyone who wants to learn and immerse themselves in artistic research in the Nordic region. VIS website was released 9 April 2018 together with the first Issue – 0. Issue 1 was released 24 January 2019.

VIS # 1 – Risk in Artistic Research – jeopardy or validation? moves through more artistically-stylised accounts of ‘danger’ towards the more hopeful linkage of risk with discovery and the reconfiguring of the imagination.

ART, RESEARCH AND RISK

The relationship between art and risk is both complex and important. At the extreme, it could be argued that an art that is devoid of risk can never be more than trivially decorative. There is risk in any speculative act and, to have meaning for us, art must speculate, must take steps whose consequences cannot be fully determined beforehand – and must accept the possibility of failure.

Research is also a speculative activity, always seeking to push further the boundaries of certainty. However, the apparatus of research method is largely concerned with mitigating the risk surrounding speculation – or, at least, with circumscribing a precisely defined area in which risk may occur, eliminating all the other possible variables that might contaminate the research results.

What, then, of artistic research? Should it be risk-taking in its art and cautious in its research? Should it seek for some middle ground between daring and prudence? Or should we be seeking methodologies for artistic research which are more accepting of risk than their scientific counterparts – and might doing so bring its own risks of delegitimising in the eyes of some the outcomes of artistic research?