The transdisciplinary and transnational nature of Encounters through Art, Ethnography and Pedagogy makes it difficult to predict where and under what circumstances activities are located, forging instead a multi-directional optic into the project, combined with multi-layered approaches, institutional openness within the academy and between academic and non-academic sectors.
It seems important therefore to consider the intersection between artistic research, ethnography and pedagogy as an open and changing space, as a matter never to be solved, as a space that needs to be reconfigured each time round, or an issue that will requires a fresh approach each time it engages in a new activity.
This is a tricky issue as we consider how to publish the content emanating from this project, both in terms of research, experimentation, art work (finished and unfinished), in addition to work-in-progress. Even though artists’ publications have long experimented with forms and formats of publication, it is yet another challenge to explicitly focus on a publication of artistic research and knowledge production, at the crossroads of a number of fields.
The point would not only be to collect knowledge, but also to create alternative spaces through which the collected knowledge can be interpreted at various levels, at different times. Any publication would therefore need to be long-durational, recognising the hybrid nature of the collaboration, be able to establish dialogue with a number of research fields, artists, non-artists, and researchers, as well as non-researchers!
The character of the project, simultaneously open and complex, has an impact on the choice of publication format that is appropriate, relevant and supporting.
I, for Arts Cabinet’s part, have presented a proposal that distinguishes between a three-fold approach:
- A repository whose primary function is to document, archive and keep track of the process of the project. This is a relatively simple backup operation that has little or no impact on the content itself, but functions on its preservation and dissemination. In this context, the choice of format or medium of the repository will be based on secondary considerations (type of audience, need to facilitate consultation, impact of the dissemination);
- An online Editorial, which functions as a space for experimenting with different forms of knowledge production, as well as on the exchanges and collaborations between fields. This publication space would act as a tool to support the research in the making. In this context, the question of the publishing format is relevant to research and works in parallel with its making.
- A final critical publication (printed and online) with the aim to provide definitive pedagogical, artistic, ethnographic content – also in a variety of formats – which will work retrospectively on the overall project, differentiating it from the online Editorial which works slowly, through time.
Perhaps one question to reflect on in the post-project phase will be the extent to which the publication process itself (in its 3 forms) can/should affect the practices. It will be interesting to explore the extent through which the choice of formats (exhibition, for example) can constrain or encourage practices, strengthen productivity, as well as enhance or reduce the place that research occupies in the project.
In addition, how can a publication ultimately become a source of stimulation for a network of exchange and trans-disciplinarity, going forward?