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Inconsistent Transduction: Not-knowing Through Sounding Art in Artistic Research

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The growing integration of sounding art as research practice in academia is a part of the “practice turn” in humanities and social sciences, where artistic practices and artefacts themselves become a form of academic inquiry. As the process of creating art represents a valid research method for gaining new knowledge, sounding art pieces thus become more than mere objects for analysis: because the research unfolds in and through the acts of creating and performing art, practice is not only a methodological vehicle but also a site of knowledge production. Scholars in this
new strand of literature argue that, to manifest the conditions hidden in knowledge and the unconscious transferences that accompany the need to be scientific, one must be critical of traditional understandings of knowledge production. Therefore, it is crucial to explore understandings of knowledge production that are directed at “not-knowing” or “not-yet-knowing” within artistic research encompassing the unexpected, the spontaneous and involuntary.

We argue that the implicit human-centred perspective present in these alternative understandings of knowledge production in artistic research prevents us from
fully engaging with the objects in question on their own premises. Therefore, tuning into the “not-knowing” requires expanding the perspective to encompass non-human forms of knowledge incorporated through an object-oriented ontological
line of thinking. By switching the focus from the human perspective to that of the objects themselves we suggest that knowledge production through practice and theory is substituted with causality exploration (tuning) through “carpentry”, this being the practice of asking and exploring philosophical questions through artistic practice and performance. Through this lens art and other objects that we judge as belonging to the aesthetic dimension, offer a glimpse into the ways in which causality operates. This world of objects makes clear that any exhaustive knowledge about the world and the things or human beings that occupy it is an illusion that simply offers a focus on how the materiality behaves, interacts, develops, manifests and translates through other objects (both human and non-human). This perspective points towards the challenge faced by existing understandings of knowledge production in artistic research to recognize the importance of the inconsistency and fragility of translations within and between objects. As a consequence, the aesthetic dimension and the knowledge derived from artistic research struggle to position themselves as more than candy on the surface of the scientific field unless considered within alternative knowledge paradigms that acknowledge the conceptualization invested in exploring these inconsistent tuning relationships.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQuadratura - Skrifter i dansk kunsthistorie
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2017

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