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MAHKUzine #10 Summer 2011

July 05 2011

Editorial MaHKUzine #10, Summer 2011 (download)  

The first Artistic Research Conference in the Netherlands took place in Amsterdam in 2003. That meeting assembled the protagonists most prominent in the Artistic Research debate at that time. The conference resulted not only in a fine and often quoted publication  –  Artistic Research, Annette W. Balkema and Henk Slager eds., L&B Series, Amsterdam/New York 2004  –   the event also led to instituting the European Artistic Research Network (EARN). Over the last five years, EARN has made known and manifested itself as one of the most important platforms for discussing and disseminating artistic research. Large-scale manifestations have taken place at various locations in Europe such as Dublin, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Utrecht, Malmo, London, Brussels, and Venice.

Manifesta's invitation to organize a collaborative project in Murcia in 2010 fully matched EARN's philosophy, since EARN believes that the research debate should relate as directly as possible to concrete artistic practices. This perspective was the natural starting point for the project As the Academy Turns, developed for Manifesta 8. As the Academy Turns is a multilayered project exploring the potentials and the tensions in the growth of artistic research and the current academization of art education.

The ‘academicization’ of art is increasingly affected by the strong expectations placed upon research trajectories and how these will continue to be shaped within the changing institutional framework of art education. In that context, the present possibilities of PhD research within the visual arts are the specific focus of our debate. What do the current challenges mean for the art academy itself?

In order to answer that question, an investigation has been made into the practice of artistic PhD research currently being conducted in art academies. During the three-day As the Academy Turns symposium, eight exemplary doctoral research projects from leading European art academies were presented and discussed. Four of these projects have been just recently completed: Magnus Bartas (Gothenburg), Matts Leiderstam (Malmo), Maija Timonen (London) and Denise Ziegler (Helsinki). Four other projects are still in progress: Frans Jacobi (Malmo), Irene Kopelman (Utrecht), Janis Rafailidou (Leeds) and Katja Tukiainen (Helsinki). The presentations were critically reviewed by a number of high-profile authorities such as Juergen Bock (Lisboa), Mika Elo (Helsinki), Tom Holert (Vienna), Jan Kaila (Helsinki), Sarat Maharaj (Malmo), Tuomas Nevanlinna (Helsinki), Marquard Smith (London), Hito Steyerl (Berlin), and Jan Svenungsson (Berlin).

In addition to the symposium, the project As the Academy Turns consisted of two more dissemination trajectories: an infolab presentation in an exhibition space of Centro Parraga with statements from participating researchers and a production of an artwork in the form of a soap opera set in an art academy by Tiong Ang.

MaHKUzine # 10 is based on the As the Academy Turns symposium's lectures and discussions. The editors of MaHKUzine are convinced that this publication, both in the Netherlands and in many other countries, will contribute in a constructive sense to a further debate on the role of artistic PhD research in the position of the art academy and the practice of art.