Incidental moments, happenchance, and the role of the anecdote within artistic research

Dean Hughes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


How is an artistic practice re-presented through speech and conversation? What role does this mode of articulation impart on the artistic research process? How might insights discovered through this method help to re-write artistic research? Artists can have a problematic relationship to written words when used to describe artistic methods and contexts. The writerly strategies employed by the humanities scholar can appear remote and lacking an immediacy that a visual language might covet. Furthermore the immediacy of content within the artistic project, which American writer Donald Barthelme aptly describes as akin to the strike of a match, can be both thin, and quick to dissipate. At its most protracted written accounts of artistic research appear caught in an endless mise-en-abyme of inaccurate attempts at equivalence and reflection. This situation occludes what writing can offer the visual artwork and thwarts the potentially transformative power of the written and re-staged artistic work. This paper would like to contribute the idea that incidental and anecdotal accounts of an artistic practice can provide valuable insights into how artistic research can be thought about and progressed. In describing and writing about incidental and happenchance moments within creative work I hope to present a more sympathetic vernacular than what is often employed in delineating artistic research. One of the issues of writing from within an artistic practice is that creating and encountering meaning, at least for artists, is often dissipated and decentered. The artistic activity always somehow falls outside of the perceptual focus that writing engenders within a research process. The aim of this short paper and presentation is to show a more artistic research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventInternational Conference on Artistic Research 2016 - Royal Conservatoire and Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, Netherlands
Duration: 28 Apr 201629 Apr 2016


ConferenceInternational Conference on Artistic Research 2016
CityThe Hague
Internet address

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