Cognitive progress in artistic research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

© 2017, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. All rights reserved. Traditionally, it has been understood that art is not a form of knowledge of the same kind as empirical, scientific or technological knowledge. For this reason, one cannot speak of the progress of art in any sense except in the progress of certain techniques. Nonetheless, artists who defend the idea of “artistic research” are dismantling these traditional ideas since they understand that at least some types of art projects do produce knowledge in a strong sense. So, at least of some art research projects it is possible to affirm that they represent a cognitive progress of the same sort as we find in the sciences. I propose three examples: Duty-free Art, by the German artist Hito Steyerl; a research on the chekas of Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 by the Spanish artist Pedro G. Romero; and finally, in his participatory work El Camp de la Bota by the Catalan artist Francesc Abad. These projects result in contributions to knowledge in a very literal sense. They are works of art that generate propositional knowledge susceptible to being debated and refuted, like that of the social sciences or the humanities, and experiencing similar cognitive progresses. But this type of progress of art is, in any case, a minority. Progress in artistic research practices in general, excepting those stronger, resembles, from the cognitive point of view, the cognitive progress of philosophy. My thesis is that the concept of cognitive progress that we use in philosophy as an endless reflection and proliferation of perspectives and new concepts can be applied, therefore, to the practices of artistic research in general. Such progress cannot be visualized by a linear metaphor, but by a succession of concentric circles expanding in every direction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-14
JournalArtnodes
Volume2017
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Artistic knowledge
  • Artistic research
  • Knowledge in constellations
  • Philosophical knowledge
  • Progress

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