SYNSMASKINEN: IMAGINATIVE and PERFORMATIVE research
(fragment of an application)
The research method of SYNSMASKINEN is two-fold; at one level the 7 groups is conjuring up artistic visions of the 7 crisis in question. This level is IMAGINATIVE RESEARCH. At the same time the project is an investigation into how artistic research-groups can develop research collectively. This level is PERFORMATIVE RESEARCH. The project uses and plays with the correlations between imaginative/performative and syn/maskine
Each of the 7 projects is dealing with a crisis. It is NOT the goal of SYNSMASKINEN to ‘solve’ the 7 crisis. Rather, an experimental artistic research into these 7 crisis, is to been seen as a series of collective contemplations on these crisis. The research might provide us with an artistic vision of how such crisis can be seen and can be discussed from an artistic point of view. At this level SYNSMASKINEN is an investigation into the phenomenon of contemporary political crisis, and a series of attempt to envision and contemplate various aspects of crisis with artistic methods. Here research is visionary/imaginative. The critical reflection on this research-process comes in the form of art-works. The 7 research-groups of SYNSMASKINEN each produces an art-work. These can have different formats; an exhibition, a performance, a film, a book, a series of drawings, whatever. It is important that the format of these art-works are NOT given beforehand – each group must have complete freedom to chose the appropriate format as a result of their working process. The art-work is a distillation of the research-process undertaken by the research-group. The art-work has the function of critical reflection, distillation and conclusion of the research-process. The art-work is a vision: Et SYN.
PERFORMATIVE RESEARCH – ONLINE / MONITORING / ARCHIVE
SYNSMASKINEN involves a research surveillance system, where all research procedures – meetings, dialogues, discussion, artistic work-processes, public presentations etc – are monitored and archived simultaniously as it happens´. Using video-camera and online-streaming, every moment of the research-process is archived un-edited in full time. These research-recordings can be seen directly as they happen online and on a stationary screen at the research-portal at KHiB (on a screen outside of Jacobi’s office at KHiB) and they can be accessed as an archive at the server of KHiB. By this constantly monitoring, recording and archiving the research-process is treated as a ready-made. As the ready-made defines a mundane object as art by moving it from one context to another – by recontextualising it – the monitoring-process of SYNSMASKINEN defines whatever is going on as artistic research, by monitoring/recording/archiving the event. The monitoring/archiving is the conceptual tool that contextualises the event at hand – a dialogue, a meeting, a lecture, a performance – as artistic research. When the camera is turned on the research begins, and when the camera is turned off the research ends. On a mechanical level this monitoring device constitutes the machine of SYNSMASKINEN. When its is ‘on’ MASKINEN is working.
As in all research an experimental research process cannot garantee a successfull outcome. The ready-made inspired conceptualisation of the research-proces at the level of Performative Research excludes in a paradoxical manner critical reflection. The monitoring process is in it self critical reflection – but to such a totalizing degree that it becomes objective/technical. To add another layer of reflectivity, another critical distance, would be a denounziation of this research concept.At the level of Imaginative Research a similar, but inverted paradox, exists. If the result of the imaginative research-process, the art-work, is defined as the critical reflection of the imaginative artistic process, the reflection itself is artistic, its an image. This means that it can only be understood on artistic terms, as image. This excludes a traditional rational understanding/critical-reflection. It is in the correlation and dynamic between these two opposed research methods the potential of SYNSMASKINEN is to be found: In the dynamic between the poetic, image-logic of the vision and the absolute, technical monitoring of the machine. SYN versus MASKINE.