May 20, 2017

The Custodian and me

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ME: Being frail is a human state I find crucial to my artistic project. At the same time I feel quite frail attempting to translate the research to academia. While shifting positions during this process, arriving at the first possible answer, the new question formulated it self.

 

THE CUSTODIAN: What does it mean to be frail?

 

ME: Exactly! What does it mean? When do we allow ourselves to be frail? Metaphors, art, is a powerfull tool in this context. This new question opens up a completely new field of research. At the same time it can be a way for you as a researcher to investigate how the new ways of togetherness can be created.

 

THE CUSTODIAN: For me?

 

ME: It is in the narrative of the artistic metaphor that you are a part of, the audience, responding, can allow themselves to be frail. You are there to take care of them and their experience.

 

THE CUSTODIAN: I am a metaphor. Why do you need me?

 

ME: You are my embodiment, acquiring new knowlege through an interactive process. Without you there is no research, only interobjectivity between the installation and the audience, no interweaving would find place. And what more important, I, through you, can be in the state of experiencing the making of the performance, embodied, what will give an unique perspective on the research.

 

THE CUSTODIAN: Why do you need to interweave? Is the metaphor of me and of the Ruins not enough?

 

ME: I, as an artist, my story, on its own, are not relevant in the process of acquiring new knowlege. It is in the context, in the interweaving I can be able to both examine the frail state of the post-postmodern being, ant to make my research relevant not only to me. Metaphors evoke strong inner sensations, associations as well as a wish to share ones experience. This sharing, interweaved, can help both me and hopefully others to see what we have in common, in stead of differentiating between us.

 

THE CUSTODIAN: Am I as a metaphor not enough?

 

ME: Yes, you are. And you would always be relevant to some of the spectators. What an academic research does is validate what you and me experience through art along with the audience.

 

THE CUSTODIAN: Do art really have to be validated academically? What is the point of that?

 

ME: It does not. Art as qualitative research has to. At the same time I have always, in-between art and academia, seen the potential of validating the data collected through the process of creating, interacting and interweaving. The way I as a human being, researcher and teacher evolve through the creative process has been always surprising, pushing me foreward, changing my perspective, making me reexamine my assumptions. Qualitative research or arts based research examines the meaning of what is happening in some field of human action. Making sense of what seems to lack coherence. Understanding rather that explaining.

 

In my work with children, young adults and students the intersubjective process through art has always been the most powerfull learning tool. The combination of relational interaction, the resistance of the material, the affordance og the aesthetic framing and the theoretical building stones have an impact on learning not similar to any other formats. Understanding will help me apply this knowlege to aesthetic learning processes.

 

My assumption and hope is that in this way I can give the students and their pupils the possibility of shared Story within a learning process. Before I can move from art, through theory to the educational system, the methods, tools and expressions have to be researched and developed. This essay may be the first step, towards an integrated, arts based research, using an embodied narrative of both an installation and a performative persona. A research conducted through an intersubjective process, looking into shared Story as the space in-between, where we can redescover new ways of togetherness.

 

(extractions from an essay writen as final excercise for a Phd. course in Arts Based Research, University College of South-Easth Norway, april 2017)

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