Research platform

Knowledge production through practice-based art studies comes in many different guises: it takes place in the production of art, in institutions dedicated to archiving and collecting, in exhibition and curating, in the festivals, biennials, and summits of the art world and the discourses that surround them, in art education, and in the variegated activities dedicated to the dissemination of art. These different instances of knowledge production do nonetheless have one feature in common, namely that they are situated practices. The knowledge they expound and the insights they proffer are inseparable from the institutional logics and social processes of the artworld itself. Practice-based art studies are at the same time dependent on and afforded by the infrastructures and social dynamics that frame and format the practices in question.

Tina Girouard, Carol Goodden, and Gordon Matta-Clark in front of Food, restaurant, New York, 1971. Photograph by Richard Landry, writing by Gordon Matta-Clark

Hence, the scholarly work promoted by the center hinges on the epistemological premise that the assessment and further development of practice-based research is fundamentally premised on its situatedness, and that this situatedness needs to be explicated and reflected as the condition for knowledge production.

The center will provide the practice-based (and in a wider sense practice-related) research projects it sponsors with a thorough and updated awareness of the a priori situatedness of their practices. Individual contexts are strictly local and come in many varieties, but they nonetheless relate to a recurrent set of dimensions or types of contextual framing. The center will depart from four basic (and in practice deeply entangled) dimensions of contextual framing that pertain to the practice-based and situated knowledge production in the arts.

  • Artefacts: the conditions for producing and protocols for handling artistic and cultural phenomena
  • Archives: the institutional valorization, conservation, and indexing of artefacts
  • Assemblages: The exhibitory frameworks that condition the appearance of artistic and cultural artefacts
  • Agency: the mechanisms through which artefacts produce social meaning and reverberation

These research dimensions rely on a range of scholarly inspirations and research traditions. Together they provide a framework for understanding the life of art within the larger life of the society that nurtures it, and for gaining access to the insights embedded in contextual practices.