When Does Artistic Practice Become Research?

Doing research – in the terms of doing artistic research – is not something that has a direct and visible impact in the quality of an artist’s work. Neither others, as spectators and as audience, are able to notice the research inputs the art piece has received during its conception. In other words, one cannot tell, not solely by looking at or by attending a performance, when a work being displayed is integrated in an artistic research context or is a pure and honest artistic gesture.
Not out of chance, I report a dichotomy above: in the one side, there is research to (dis)qualify art; on the other, artistic activity is kept “pure and honest”, that is, safe from the pejorative influence of research. To a certain extent, this dicothomous approach to artistic research is shaping the current conviviality and environement with art universities.
Where do both visions come from? What do they look forward to?
While artist researchers – and other researchers along – are readily thrown into the corner of uninspired theoreticians and of neoliberal trash, an historically informed view into the arena of discussion seeks to understand the background and expectations of those artists who, within the academic institution, refuse to pursue research or to be called researchers. The conclusion is that this refusal lies mostly in matters of identity and nostalgia. It might well become a matter of territory when the idea of Art School is said to be endangered by the presence of research. The “pure and honest” stance is, in short, figuring as the herald who foretells the Art School – his own art school – disgrace in two ways, either as a silent implosion, or resulting from a demagogic and flashy explosion. The latter relates to the domination of neoliberal poitics (from which derive research and researchers), while the former encompasses the invasion of non-artist teachers within the art school (commonly named researchers).
The question that I posed as a title of this presentation suggests that something is to be done to artistic practice in order for it to become artistic research. It suggests an ordination, where research appears to be the undoubtedly step forward. It is as if making research with their art is the aspiration of any practicing artist. But it really is not something that one should take so naturally. Not every artist is interested in research; some are not even interested in struggling against any paradigm or ‘research turn’. Artists committed with an institution of the knowledge community (e.g. arts academy or university) are the ones who ought to take a stance about their inscription. Therefore this is my background territory of inquiry: the relationship these artists establish with their research activity, knowing in advance that it is not the look of their objects/productions that reveal or hide the accomplishment of research or its absence.
Formerly trained as an artist, currently inscribed within the university teaching artistic research and methodology, and keeping an interest in artistic practice, I find myself part of the territory I am interested in. I will bring to this session an example of my current personal research, one laying precisely in the defiance of setting up a particular musical performance as an artistic research outcome. The video results from this very concern: how can I document a practice in art so that it becomes research (and remains being art)? From here some questions might be posed:
Why is this research? What do you intend to investigate? What is the relationship between your method, your research and you documental outcome? How does it interfere with your artistic practice?

Event Title European Conference on Educational Research - ECER2017
Comunication Title When Does Artistic Practice Become Research?
Date 22 of August of 2017