“How to Know Things with Works: On Practical Enquiry” – Mick Wilson (University of Gothenburg)
This session explores concrete instances of practical research through an encounter with a series of research processes that: (i) centre on activities such as making, doing, and showing; (ii) utilize varying degrees and different modes of inscription; and (iii) are engaged in different forms of care. The goal is to circumnavigate any simple dichotomy of word/work, theory/practice, or saying/doing, while trying to attend to the specificity of practical enquiries in various creative traditions. The materials that are considered by participants in advance of the seminar are organized according to five cases:
- A set of woven textile wrapping sheets
- A video recording of a performance work
- A set of blog entries including audio-visual, photographic and textual elements
- A set of images documenting an exhibition
- An online resource detailing a publishing strategy
Each of these five material sources comes with a short informational text, providing a minimal specification of the research project (who, what, when, why, how). In the seminar, we begin by establishing a simple framework for group work. We then work in smaller break-out groups to re-construct the material and practices in each case by: (i) identifying the specific relations and modes of care at stake in each; and (ii) considering what the specific agency of the practices and materials is within each process of enquiry. We then return to the full group to share insights and on this basis consider what are the discursive and rhetorical resources that seem to be required or proposed by the different cases. The enquiries under consideration are:
- Birgitta Nordström’s making of wrapping blankets in a practice of mortuary care in respect of perinatal loss.
- Jason E. Bowman’s STRETCHED: Expanded Notions of Artistic Practice via Artist-led Cultures project and specifically the reconstruction of the Theatre of Mistakes performance practice and aesthetico-organisational ethos.
- Maddie Leach’s The fountain: An art-technological-social drama and the question of aftercare for a ‘failed’ public art work.
- Nick Aiken’s Rewinding Internationalism and the exhibitionary practice of historical re-imagining.
- Eva Weinmayr & Femke Snelting’s Ecologies of Dissemination that explores potential strategies of dissemination that acknowledge the tensions and overlaps between feminist methodologies, decolonial knowledge practices and principles of Open Access.
Mick Wilson is a professor of art and the director of doctoral studies at HDK-Valand Academy of Art and Design, University of Gothenburg. He is a visiting professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York and at the Art Academy of Latvia. His research focuses on questions of political community with the dead and other aspects of contemporary social and political imaginaries. He is currently co-researcher on a range of research projects including The Museum of the Commons (EACEA 2023-2027), and Fontänen: Ett konst-teknologiskt socialt drama (FORMAS 2020-2024). Recent publications include Kathrin Böhm: Art on the Scale of Life co-edited with G. van Noord and P. O’Neill (2023, Sternberg/MIT), Expo-Facto: Into the Algorithm of Exhibition co-edited with H. Slager (2022, MetropolisM Books), and Exhibitionary Acts of Political Imagination co-edited with Cătălin Gheorghe (2021, Artes Publishing House/ArtMonitor).
Suggested Reading/Viewing Materials
- A set of woven textile wrapping sheets (will be presented at the seminar itself) https://birgittanordstrom.se/phd-projects
- A video recording of a performance work : see https://ravenrow.org/texts/the-theatre-of-mistakes-going-1977 and https://ravenrow.org/events/going-1977 (scroll down for video)
- A set of blog entries including audio-visual, photographic and textual elements https://fountain.ghost.io/
- A set of images documenting an exhibition- https://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/78835 See the video work link – Rewinding Internationalism Walk Through – Van Abbemuseum 2022-23 (541.5Mb)
- An online resource detailing a publishing strategy – https://parsejournal.com/research-themes/#ecologiesofdissemination and http://evaweinmayr.com/work/hdk-valand-goteborg-opening-keynote-sensing-dissensus/
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