Arts-Based Research (Mid-semester Reflection)

All semester long I have been thinking about the medium of choice to report the results of an arts-based research project. On the one hand I feel like the traditional academic journal offers a structure that may prove to be too rigid and too focused on definitive conclussions to serve as an adequate alternative for much of the research that results out of art practices. Instead of displaying its possibilities and strengths, in many cases this format ends up showcasing the many ways in which arts-based research does not fulfill the requirements traditionally associated with research stemming largely from expectations created by time-honored  scientific principles. In this respect, a process that by very definition favors ambiguity and subjectivity, as arts-based research is purported to do, might be better served to search for different formats and media that will showcase its strengths and uniqueness. I feel like Andrea Fraser’s Museum Highlights: A Gallery Talk might be a good example of how to take advantage of a specific art practice through the written word: the perfomative aspect of the project is echoed in the active engagement that readers must display in order to switch back and forth between the actual text and the footnotes that at times prove to be more important and of more substance. Of course this is only one case of what it seems to be a case-by-case proposition, a proposition that by its very nature might not permit a general consensus be formed as to what exactly constitutes arts-based research, much less what constitutes innovative arts-based research of relevance; a general consensus that has already been formed and been in place for scientific research… in the form of academic journal articles. The road is an uphill one.

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