Knowledge Claims and Research

In Creative Arts Research (CAR), which should not be about how artist’s do research (everyone does research, including my eight year old daughter into her Smiggle purchases), but about how creative practice becomes academic research, that is research recognised as research within universities. There are a couple of things to get your head around here.

The debate is not whether art is research, or not, or whether I can write ‘differently’ or not (you can), but whether and how it constitutes academic research. Academic research is instrumentalised knowledge that contributes to an identifiable academic community of practice (yes, that is tautological, as all academic fields are, the field does define itself). The question or problem then becomes one of how to instrumentalise what I am claiming as knowledge in my creative practice or artefact. It is instrumentalised knowledge because, in the context of CAR, knowledge needs to be extracted/contextualised/made explicit from the implicitness of material thinking and making so that its specific knowledge claims can be recognised and used by others. This lets CAR then move from an argument or discussion about aesthetic merit of the work (which is not and can’t be an academic research claim in itself) to one about knowledge claims. Research knowledge claims need to be evidenced, contestable, and to be propositional (they make claims about something else, not just themselves) to be a research knowledge claim. Art does not need to do any of these things to be art (in can do these things, but it doesn’t have to), whereas academic research has to do each of these three things, every time, to be research.

The problem of how knowledge becomes visible so that it can be used by others in academic contexts is a different problem than whether or not something contains knowledge.

Bogost’s carpenty meets strange ontography

(I like Dominic Wilcox’s comment about quiet kids and what goes on in their heads). These are a form of ontography where you make machines that are lists because you bring together things in odd ways and reveal other connections and relations between them. (And around 4 minutes where he wants to be able to talk/hear animals, that’s just beautiful.)