Title: Knowing: Through the lens of art

The concept:

This module aims to explore methodology and the role of artistic research within higher education, focusing on how art contributes to knowledge and what unique forms of understanding it can provide. 

Module material:

In her introductory chapter, “Artistic Research in a World of Fire,” Lucy Cotter unveils the concept behind “Reclaiming Artistic Research”. This book explores diverse research methods through art and various ways of knowing—or, as Cotter terms it, unknowing. Later in the book, the notion of art as non-knowledge is introduced (Cotter in a dialogue with Sarat Maharaj, p. 188). Similarly, in his 1965 performance, “How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare”, Beuys seeks to elevate the idea of art, frequently revisiting the interplay between sensing and knowing: how to gain new insights that traditional academic approaches might miss? Beuys posits that art’s purpose is to sustain and enhance human sensory perceptions, which have evolved. The interview about “How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare” is available on YouTube and as a transcript.

In this module, I would also like to include a chapter that may already be familiar to some of you: Roland Barthes’ chapter “Listening” (1985), which explores alternative approaches to observing, listening, understanding, and ultimately positioning oneself in the world (of senses). The chapter is rooted in the context of postmodernism, much like his 1967 essay “The Death of the Author.”

The Task:

After engaging with the provided material, I invite the students to identify five critical moments: key points, curiosities, or questions that emerge from the material. I encourage you to work in pairs and discuss how these moments could inspire or simply trigger your research or practice, leading to exploring new methods of doing, making, and learning.

The outcome: Individually written text of 400-500 words.


Video links:

Joseph Beuys – English Subtitles – How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare 1/2 

Joseph Beuys – English Subtitles – How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare 2/2 

Written material:

Cotter, L. (2024). Artistic Research in a World of Fire. In Cotter, L (Ed.), Reclaiming artistic research (Expanded Second, pp.10-42). Hatje Cantz Verlag. June 21, 2024.


Barthes, R.  (1985). Listening. In Responsibility of Forms: Critical Essays on Music, Art, and Representation, 245–60. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.



Submit a Comment