About the Project

The project seeks to examine relationships between investigative procedures in sciences of conservation, archaeology and medicine and the experimental tools and ideas of Art. It centres on the exploratory and analytical activity of drawing, where overlapping concerns can be found, specifically in the researcher’s shared engagement with fugitive or delicate material. The project responds to recent concerns voiced over the introspective character of much contemporary drawing research (Garner 2008) and its interdisciplinary approach falls in stark opposition to the conventional understanding of drawing as a secretive, private, studio-centred dialogue between artist and page. Rather than simply asking that increasingly hackneyed question: “what is drawing?”, it interrogates the activities of researchers who share values with a particular form of studio practice (one concerned with damage, contact, delicacy, sensitivity, traces) to ask “what might drawing share?”. The development of forms of documentation which are rare, yet necessary, to enable critical debate (through raising awareness of studio decision-making in relation to the processes of other fields), aims to test a transferable model for cross-discipline knowledge exchange.

Garner, S. 'Towards a Critical Discourse in Drawing Research' in S. Garner (ed.) Writing On Drawing: Essays on Drawing Practice and Research, Bristol: Intellect, 2008, pp 15- 26.

Research Questions:

How might technologies, protocol, methods of handling borrowed from these scientific disciplines be translated into studio processes to result in new and innovative methods of drawing to articulate ideas of the delicate?

Can these methods and resultant images make visible otherwise hidden interdisciplinary connections?

Can this approach to studio practice be documented in such a way to develop and communicate a transferable model for interdisciplinary studio practice?

Friday, 26 June 2009

Making Visible Invisible Making

Making visible invisible making
Creativity and Change Conference, Lancaster, 25th June, 2009

These images and excerpt are part of a presentation given at this potsgraduate conference.

Because approaches of studio enquiry often contradict what is accepted as research and are not sufficiently fore-grounded or elaborated by artistic researcher themselves, the impact of practice as research is still not to be fully understood and realised.” (Barrett 2007)

“Rather than advocating an integration of theory and practice... by privileging text in relation to research actually reinforces the distinction between them...its overall effect is to reinforce the illegitimacy of art practice as research.” (Candlin 2000)

This exhibition seeks to address these problems by valuing the visual material generated in studio research as an important form of embodied knowledge (Bolt 2007)and also as a significant communicative strategy. This creative format tests an approach to maintaining the integrity of visual research when it enters interdisciplinary dialogue.
Studio making is typically a hidden and private affair between artist and materials and perhaps nowhere is this given more credence than in the act of drawing. As a researcher whose practice is predominantly drawing-oriented, such accounts are problematic within the context of debates surrounding the legitimacy of art practice as research. If creative methodologies are to be valued and contribute to interdisciplinary knowledge, how knowledge is made in the studio requires wider understanding (Barrett 2007, Bolt 2007, Sullivan 2005, Defreitas 2001). The development , and use, and dissemination of this necessary studio documentation aims to make visible a studio methodology in order for it to be opened to critical debate at forums such as this.

reflections on the event
A useful opportunity to share my research and its methods in an interdisciplinary forum, receiving feedback from diverse fileds of expertise. While all was extermely positive, the presenation generated considerable interest and debate, I realised that in terms of making visble my proceses, text was still of primary importance for communication. How might my method of documentation be adapted so that they were more readily avalaible for public viewing, a clearer visual explanation rather than the donminant textual form? Ideas: folded notebooks rather than individual pages - this way multiple pages can be viewed at once; scan in documentation and provide acomputer terminal for images to be browsed, cross referenced with written notes? Perhaps such forms will provide a more effective was of prioritising and maintaining the primacy of the visual in my research?

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