Had a very interesting day at Konstfack on Friday – presentations of artistic research projects and degree shows. Doing the research course has been a truly great experience, not only have I had the opportunity to find out more about what Artistic Research is – or might be! – I have gotten to know a really interesting and generous group of artists (in which I also include the course tutor). The course has provided me with a framework within which to think about my own practice but it has also opened up possibilities of vast new areas and approaches – things that I want to continue to explore and develop.
I have just received details of the ‘next’ course and will apply for that too.
The course has given me a lot to think about – directly and indirectly. One of the more interesting indirect things has been my resistance to the word ‘project’! I now think my that resistance had to do with a) how the word is sometimes (mis)used, and b) its relevance to my own practice. Partly in preparation for applying for the next course, and partly for my own sake, I have been thinking about what my work is about, what subject, theme or topic I can draw out of it (as opposed to ‘place on it‘). I realised that this subject, theme or topic is the essence of what could be called my ‘project’ – I like the idea that ‘project’ can describe the theme and approach of my practice. In that way I think that the word, and the concept, could be very useful to me and perhaps it is this usefulness that has enabled me to re-access my resistance. Through the course I have begun to think more carefully about the persistent qualities in my practice and it is these that are slowly forming into what I might be happily able to call ‘my project’.
I remain nervous about the relationship between the thinking, reading and writing, and the actual physical visual making. This, I suspect, is an important feeling and one to be embraced rather than avoided, for it is this tension between theory and practice – if I can get it right(!) – that will develop and progress what I achieve.
One of my fellow students and I had a very interesting discussion about one of the research presentations, I was delighted when she called me the following the day to talk a little more about what she and her partner had been discussing over night. Even more delighted that she spoke Swedish with me and that I was almost entirely able to speak Swedish with her! Language is both central and incidental part of my life at the moment, I am so pleased that outside of the course times my class-mates speak Swedish with me, it is an incredible help for improving my ‘art’ Swedish and it the best kind of feedback that I could receive as it is so easy for Swedes to seamlessly, and politely, change to English when they realise that someone does not understand them or is incapable of expressing themselves in Swedish.