Presentation of the issue on the artist researcher
Ivan Magrin-Chagnolleau : Ludivine, I am delighted to start the adventure of the journal p-e-r-f-o-r-m-a-n-c-e with an issue co-edited with you on one hand, and on the theme of the artist researcher on the other hand. Can you tell me why this theme of the artist researcher is so important to you?
Ludivine Allegue: I had the opportunity to work on the Practice as Research in Performance project in UK. This was a fascinating phase in my research: finally the essential role of artistic practice was taken into consideration in the Art research context, with the avowed aim of unlocking the necessary funding for its implementation within research organizations. And all this work has paid off across the Channel.
But the concept unfortunately confined the creative process to methodology and it is still extremely difficult to integrate the artist’s discourse in the research because the notion of methodology tends to exclude the speculative and purely poetic nature of artistic creation. The artist thus remains relatively excluded.
I think that if we manage to define and establish the status of the artist-researcher, Art research may no longer consist of a theoretical approach that would “inject” artistic practices in the methodology: this status would allow the space that art ought to occupy within universities and research organizations.
Professor Geneviève Clancy used to say that doing a PhD is a substantial contribution to the foundation of the temple of knowledge. I wish the artist might have the opportunity to break free of systematic theorization to enter the temple.
Beyond what you’ve probably seen yourself as an artist within the microcosm of research, I am curious to know more about your will to dedicate this first issue to the artist-researcher: A manifesto? Is this part of long-term objective?
Ivan Magrin-Chagnolleau : In fact, the question arises for me in somewhat different terms. I have long practiced side by side research and artistic creation. Indeed, my artwork preceded by several years my research work. And when I started to do research, it was following a training based on mathematics and physics, and on scientific topics such as voice technologies or signal and image processing, themes which had a priori little to do with art.
The first step was for me to realize that art was becoming more and more important in my life. Then I realized that I could perhaps do research in disciplines having a closer relationship with art like aesthetics and philosophy of art. So I started a thematic reconversion within the CNRS, which took me a few years. This reconversion led me to create and lead a research team in aesthetics of performing and visual arts (EsPAS) within the ACTE Institute (a joint research unit between the Sorbonne Paris 1 University and CNRS).
It was at that point that I started to wonder if there was a big difference between my artistic activities and my research activities. By asking this question, I simultaneously tried to reduce the distance between these two types of activities. I tried to multiply the links between my research and my artistic activities.
I then realized that I drew interchangeably from articles and research books, artists’ writings, artistic works, seminars, etc. I made in fact no difference between research and artistic practice when it came to tap knowledge to advance my own research (scientific, artistic, personal).
That’s when I had the idea, after several discussions with several people from the EsPAS team, to found a journal that could accommodate both researchers and artists, each of them expressing themselves in a format of their own. The theme of the artist researcher was therefore so meaningful for this first issue, as a way to immediately ask the question of the border between research and artistic practice. Or rather, in my opinion, the question of non-border.
So you’re right to talk about a manifest and a long-term project. A manifest, very clearly, since I do not really believe in this border, this separation, even if the fact to precisely question that border is a very interesting research/practice topic. Also a long-term project since my ambition is to perpetuate this journal and make it a long-term permanent meeting place between artists, researchers, and artists researchers.
Hence my question: How, in your opinion, can we succeed in gathering around a same project (artistic, research, editorial) researchers, artists, artists researchers, so that they can move forward and share together and find a common language?
Ludivine Allegue: I am convinced that a common language exists because of the speculative and experimental nature of both the creative process and scientific research. But the assessment criteria of our institutions need to be adjusted.
I mean that the expertise and knowledge the artist gains throughout the creative process must be evaluated in order to be integrated into the institutional corpus, not by theorizing the acclaimed work of an artist but by acknowledging and integrating artistic experimentation as a research process itself.
It is an absolute necessity in order to allow the collaboration of researchers, artists and artists-researchers. Otherwise, a flagrant inequality takes place between artists and researchers; indeed the artist whose creative process is not acknowledged as knowledge producing during scientific assessment sees how the very substance of his/her research is ignored.
I notice that you write “artists researchers” without a hyphen whereas the hyphen is essential for me. I think it materializes the inseparability of the processes within this specific status, and the fact that they are intertwined. But it seems that it was not always the case and you also used the hyphen at some point. Why ultimately chose not to include it?
Ivan Magrin-Chagnolleau : I refer of course the reader to your article for a discussion of what you call “The unavoidable hyphen”. As for me, I used to employ the hyphen at first, without really asking myself, and probably because it was more the use at that time. Then I started thinking about what it meant for me to put it or not. I thought the hyphen first acted as an element of visual juxtaposition, and I can not conceive for myself the association fo the words artist and researcher as a juxtaposition (in the same way as the conjunction ‘and’ just did it).
I also thought that the hyphen acted as an element of visual separation. But for me, it is not a matter of being an artist and a researcher (or a researcher and an artist). It is a matter of another reality, a reactive reality, that is to say that there is a permanent back and forth movement between the two. By not putting the hyphen, it seems that paradoxically it makes the semantic chain “artist researcher” a new whole. This is certainly how I would like the loss of the hyphen to be interpreted in my case. It seemed to me that we could now convey the idea of the whole without the hyphen and without the quotes around, as I just did, probably also because we have been talking about the artist researcher for a while now, and the term begins to pass into the language. This is also the ambition of this issue.
But it’s time now for the artist researcher, declined through the contributions and plural points of view of all the contributors to this issue. Enjoy! And do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions, comments, or just want to share your enthusiasm. We took great pleasure in assembling this issue for you and hope you take as much pleasure in reading it, watching it, tasting it!