artistic research: the artist as an instrument


Do we need art? Is art still relevant? Does art-education still have a place in our post-modern society?

Most of you reading this blog will answer these questions with an unequivocal YES!
Of course, so do I: to me art is a corner stone of human civilisation; to me art will always be connected to other things in this world and therefore relevant. Nevertheless it’s an intuitive answer that is in want of a justification, or rather a foundation.

How to build a foundation?
Over the last decades this topic has been hotly debated and research has been done on how the artist is relevant to society, how his artistic practises relate to societal issues and how we can re-evaluate or even re-instate art’s importance.

Thus emerged the academic field of artistic research, focussing on knowledge building through art. It makes sense. Research means any creative systematic activity undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this knowledge to devise new applications. From this perspective artists are contemporary explorers and inventors.

I like this idea of the artist as an explorer or an inventor. An inventor of instruments, maybe even becoming an instrument himself, registering what is happening, on the outside as well as on the inside.

To me, this is what The School is about: it challenges the concept of our educational system; it provides time and space for experimentation; it functions as a multi-/anti-/trans-/inter-disciplinary interface between creative individuals and society; it learns by doing, not just by teaching; it sees the creative individual as an explorer, inventor and as an instrument.

So what about the foundation?
Alongside developing a theoretical base to reinstall art’s educational value, artistic research and creative experimentation in urban labs (The School) will provide the necessary material for building that strong foundation. Or to use Pablo Hannon’s metaphor: they will be the material that organically grows into a strong foundation and becomes a fertile breeding ground.

I am looking forward to seeing how this eclectic mix of 16 creative individuals will function as an organic interface between the city and its citizens, how they will become explorers, inventors and instruments. I am looking forward to seeing the fruits of their labour. And I am interested in how the outcome of this self proclaimed festival can be translated into practical research for the arts.