Amphibious Trilogies

Mediation and documentation

The transitory, contingent, unfolding and process oriented character of much of the artistic and related transdisciplinary research in Amphibious Trilogies has needed to be communicated and critiqued as ‘a discourse of becoming’. The working and insights of the project have been neither declarative nor confirmatory, but exploratory and anticipatory in character and activity.

In recent years, such as in the European Artistic Research Network (EARN), a burgeoning set of publications and through and journals such as PARSE, artistic researchers have sought to highlight what makes such a mode of inquiry quite what it is and is becoming and might be. Central to these endeavours has been to elaborate on and secure further agreement as to what constitutes artistic research and how modes and means of its mediation and documentation might also be more formally and institutionally framed, recorded, communicated and indeed studied.

One key text had been the edited collection (Schwab & Borgdorff, 2014) entitled The Exposition of Artistic Research: Publishing art in academia. Central to its concerns and to the various seminars, publications and networks, exhibitions and doctoral studies centring on practice based artistic research, has been attention to what in Amphibious Trilogies we see as matters of mediation and documentation. 

In ‘Counter-archival dissemination’, Slager (2013) discusses the changing nature and conceptualisations of archiving, evolving from traditions of capture, power, site, gaze and record to ones of process, assemblage and incongruity on content, work and matter and their fluid  relations. He lists this change as a shift from a controlling will to a ‘frivolous’ one: a move from powerful possession and control, to probing, connecting and assembling (Slager, 2014: 239). In such a networking view, as it were, archiving is also altered by the mode of inquiry and its content that emerges in and through practice via creative making, together with its embedded and extra-artifactual critique.

Here Slager (2014: 239) sees a shift from Foucault’s important work on the archive as a site of locating and positioning power in and as discourse to a realm of desirology’. For Slager (ibid) this is ‘a thinking in terms of new order of affective associations, of fluid taxonomies, and above all, oa thinking terms of intellectual and artistic pleasure, linked to derange the symbolic order’.

While this makes sense to us in our pursuits in artistic research by movement and by a transductive means of mixed methods and transdisciplinarity, In our work we have not sought to explicitly derange or upend symbolic order. To challenge conventions and expectations may well be central to the reasons and functions of art in the world, as part of public and intra-subjective experience, we have needed to experience and consider movement in motion in the world, as kinetic plurality and as emergent material and means to mediating, via talks, words, drawing, photos, videos, relation web design, and shared, differential meaning making as experience. engagement, access, viewing and reconfiguring.

We have done this together in a variety of settings, together and with others who have shown and shared their experiences and views. As a whole or moving parts, metaphorically and literally, this website then offers traces and tellings of how our work moved and changed and challenged us to shift the choreographic into the three selected thematics.

Here we have sought to address through looking at and being in motions, and its connections with time, agency, system and transformation (see e.g. Morrison et al., 2015). In retrospect we agree with Slager (2014: 244) when he says that:

… the most categorical imperative for an artistic research practice seems to be an awareness of the urgency to draw attention to novel models for imaging otherness or to generate other forms of imagination through the potentiality and multiplicity of the artist image.

Let’s substitute ‘artistic movement’ though. This is critically important in a world where ice melts faster than policy makes changes to meet the climate emergency and where in the closing year of the project the Covid-19 global pandemic has ushered in whole new personal, societal and global awareness of movement as we elaborate in Movement in a pandemic.

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Morrison, A., Nordby, K., Arnall, T. & Westvang, E. (2015). ‘Breathing life into research mediation’. In Carlin, D. & Vaughan, L. (Eds). Performing Digital: multiple perspectives on a living archive. London: Ashgate. 161-184.

Schwab, M. & Borgdorff, H. (Eds.). The Exposition of Artistic Research: Publishing art in academia. Leiden: Leiden University Press.

Slager H. (2013) ‘Counter-archival dissemination’. In Schwab. M. (Ed.). Experimental Systems and Future Knowledge in Artistic Research. Leuven: Leuven University Press. 237-244.

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