Materiality of practice in Fine Art research

This is a discussion thread meant to host a follow-up discussion to the one day workshop "Theorie cum praxi, a workshop on the materiality of AV theory-practice in Fine Art PhD research", organized by The Slade School of Fine Art of the UCL and funded by AHRC.

I would like to invite Nancy Mauro-Flude, honorary Research Assistant in Electronic Media Slade School of Fine Art, to contribute to this thread with her thoughts about the subject, and possibly a summing-up of the discussion.

radical art practice, where are advancements made?

Hi Marina thanks for the invite.

Its hard to sum up the event since there were so many levels of research and artistic work presented in different stages. Although this may be quite telling. I will recount some thoughts that I didn't really have time to articulate during the day since I was producing the event and dealing with all that it takes to host such a meeting on a practical level.

My main concern is about meaningful or radical art practice, whose locus or site, is always changing. These days advancements are even made within the institutions and as history has shown us outside of it, or of course in reaction to it. To talk more specifically about artistic research in relation to a PhD. The conversation again rounded up with someone wondering about the written requirements, if in fact they are talking about something artistic and visual.

I believe at the moment a crucial and political issue is at stake when Higher Arts institutions all over the world are wiping out the guest-artist as teacher or mentor or 'artist-in-residence' programmes, where academic institutes formerly worked in collaboration with radical artists across many artistic genres. Now a play it safe attitude is abundant with artists in more regular positions, and who possess pseudo-institutionalised vernaculars. I believe this trend has serious consequences because it is creating an opposition to new forms of artistic practice. The most radical artists are mostly always ingenious people who have had different pathways to knowledge.

However, its my view that a PhD is not only a text (even if text is taken in a wide sense). It is not only a contribution and advancement of its academia, indeed it is this too but a PhD must be a detailed, scholarly exposition, a new contribution to the field. Higher Arts Education is a part of the field of humanities. When there is no incompatibility between artistic refinement and extreme views, you will have to admit that this raises many questions about the doctorate's validity. Therefore it must be objective and less personal than other texts you might write later on. This counters the dehumanisation, in all its forms, that is characteristic of so much art and that has made my cultural access to my own humanity more difficult to obtain. On the other hand, the role of the artist, fortunately, does not have to answer to everything...

I discuss this further this a text
http://www.networkcultures.org/weblog/archives/2008/01/theor... (Theoria Cum Praxi: Some Thoughts About Practice-based PhDs) by Nancy Mauro-Flude

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