Revolt and discovery : towards an understanding of practice as research through Kristevan aesthetics

Barrett, Estelle 2009, Revolt and discovery : towards an understanding of practice as research through Kristevan aesthetics, in Proceedings of the 2009 International Colloquium Kristeva in Process, Humboldt -Universitat zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany, pp. 1-26.

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Title Revolt and discovery : towards an understanding of practice as research through Kristevan aesthetics
Author(s) Barrett, EstelleORCID iD for Barrett, Estelle
Conference name International Colloquium Kristeva in Process (2009 : Berlin, Germany)
Conference location Berlin, Germany
Conference dates 30 October - 1 November 2009
Title of proceedings Proceedings of the 2009 International Colloquium Kristeva in Process
Publication date 2009
Start page 1
End page 26
Publisher Humboldt -Universitat zu Berlin
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Summary This paper will examine Kristeva’s conceptions of revolution and revolt to demonstrate the significance of her work for practitioners and researchers working in the emerging field of creative arts practice as research, a field of research that is burgeoning in the UK, Australia, Canada and Scandinavia. I will argue that Kristeva’ thought elaborates the aesthetic underpinnings of discovery and provides a rationale for the methodologies used in artistic research.

In her later work on interpretation, Kristeva places a greater emphasis on the need for analysis or theory, since the art and culture of revolt produce unfamiliar or mutant meanings that are difficult for audiences to grasp in terms of their potency for engendering social change and individual empowerment. However, she places the responsibility for this analysis and interpretation on the art critic. But what if (as is the case with the advent of artistic practice as research), the maker and the “critic” become one and the same? Can this shift in the status of artistic practice within the knowledge economy, be understood in terms of Kristeva account of the sense and nonsense of revolt? I will address these questions by revisiting aspects of Kristeva thinking on experience-in practice and examining her more recent and extended elaboration of revolutionary practice. The paper will explore how her thinking can provide practitioners with a framework for understanding creative arts research as the production of new knowledge. If as Kristeva argues, that art and literature are amongst the few means of revolt and renewal, it seems appropriate to turn to her thinking in order to articulate a rationale and argument for claiming that practice as research can operate as a driver of change and innovation in contemporary culture.

The first part of this task will involve tracing what Kristeva sees as three forms of revolt made possible through aesthetic experience. This will involve a closer examination of the notions of transgression and art as experience. Following on from this discussion, I will discuss how Kristeva’s work constitutes both an implicit and explicit critique of science allowing us to conceive of artistic research as an alternative and performative production of knowledge. Finally in this paper, I will apply and illustrate these ideas through an analysis of a selection of a number of research projects successfully completed by artistic researchers in Australia. I hope to show that artistic practice as a mode of enquiry, reveals the inextricable and necessary relationship between practice and theory, interpretation and making, art and life. I suggest that it is this interrelationship, that underpins what Kristeva describes as creative and revolutionary practice. In the context of creative arts practice as research, Kriteva’s account of experience–in-practice indicates that interpretation and analysis must fall to the practitioner-researcher himself or herself - rather than to another person who has been external to the procedures of making - to trace the significant experiential, subjective and emergent processes involved in the production of the work that allows it to reveal the new. This is necessary if the generative and revolutionary impact of artistic research is to be fully understood in the wider research arena.
Language eng
Field of Research 190103 Art Theory
Socio Economic Objective 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
HERDC Research category E2 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed
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Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
School of Communication and Creative Arts
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