One of the main debates ever since the introduction of artistic research, or practice based research, is how the results should be communicated. I.e. in what form should they be presented. One important position is that artistic research should result in an artwork only. A self contained artwork through which the viewer/listener is able to extrapolate the art as well as the research component (which may be the same thing). Although I am thrilled by that possibility I think that the model holds a number of potential problems.

  1. The needs and conditions for the production of a succesful artwork may interfere with the prerequisites for the communication of the research component. The last thing we want as the outcome of artistic research is bad art.

  2. Whereas the visual arts may be well suited for art as research, the time based arts are not. Being contained in the flow of time it is very difficult to portray art research through music. Well, can’t we use recordings? No, because a recording is not the same as a performance and using a recording as a product to communicate the result can never result in art as research as the recording is not the artwork, but a representation of the artwork.

  3. One of the main reasons that I am interested in artistic research is the way in which it can contribute to dismantle the myth of the artwork as the result of a solitary act of inspiration. This ambition should make obvious the importance of sharing material between peers and between different generations. Making one’s process accessible to others is a goal in itself. Secondly, to show how many artistic processes are often the result of several people collaborating, enrolled in the production of the event is another important aspect. However, the activities that have to do with the process is not easily captured in the artwork as a final result. Artistic research unable to communicate anything but the result is not going to be able to display the full potential of the discipline.

Hence, artistic research should be able to engage in many different means of communication of which writing can be one, documentation (of the process) another, both as a complement to the (documentation of) the artistic artefact.

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