MaHKUzine #8, Winter 2010For four years now, MaHKUzine has been a platform for reflection and discussion in the context of the (international) situation of graduate art education. The MaHKUzine platform always interacts with debates and programs of the Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design (MaHKU) where the school is a Test Department investigating, generating, and testing research-based curricula for its Master of Arts programs. However, testing in this sense is not a traditional, immanent, academic ceremony, but rather an effect of a research environment and its collaborations with professional partners in the field. How to deal with the implications of research-based art education is always a core issue in those collaborations.
The Becoming Bologna Project, a satellite program of the Venice Biennale 2009, is an example of testing in a research-based professional collaboration project. In Tolentini - the entrance to the University of Venice (IUAV) - sixteen wall posters were presented as interventions in public space connected with topical PhD research projects. During the Biennale opening week, the presented projects were discussed in a two-day symposium where also the situation and position of graduate art education and its connection with research-based projects were part of the debates.
In addition to MaHKU, the Becoming Bologna Project included partners of the European Artistic Research Network(EARN): Gradcam, Dublin; Finnish Academy of Fine Art, Helsinki; IUAV, Venice; Malmö Art Academy; Sint-Lukas, Brussels; Slade School of Fine Art, London; and Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. Daniel Birnbaum, artistic director of the 2009 edition of the Venice Biennale, opened the symposium with a keynote statement. Birnbaum stressed the necessity of the art academy as experimental platform for production; an environment where artists are at work and think about models of presentation.
In the context of the Utrecht Consortium, MaHKU and local partners engaged in 2009 in various research activities where DARE (Dutch Artistic Research Event) was again the yearly point of culmination. Urban Knowledge was the theme of DARE 4,referring to an investigation of the specific perspectives Fine Art and Design deploy in order to understand and rethink our current urban environments and their complexities. Does a research-based attitude play a decisive role in such context-responsive practices? What does Urban Knowledge mean for the current position of curatorial practice? And how could knowledge generated in this perspective be further specified? These questions were explored further in four Utrecht-based exhibitions - Dutch Design Center/Utrecht Manifest Biennale for Social Design; Aorta, Center for Architecture; Academie Galerie; and the temporary exhibition space Studio Hoograven - as well as at an international symposium in the Utrecht Centraal Museum. DARE 4 underscored how context-responsive projects are a novel and prolific perspective for the Utrecht Consortium and its intended research focusing on the interconnection between experimental exhibition models and artistic knowledge production.
The issue of the specificity of artistic knowledge production continues to be of major importance in recent MaHKU activities. In a Hoograven project-related research essay, Natalia Calderon explores public space from a Mouffian agonist point of view while deploying a process of mapping. Calderon's space of confrontations and encounters ultimately leads to knowledge of the "terra infirma", the difference, the unknown. In MaHKU's Utrecht Research Lectures, James Elkins inquires how the concept of artistic knowledge is understood in various ways by artists and philosophers and how that affects art education. A major issue we should deal with refers to "what artists are taught, how they are taught, and why they are taught the things we teach them", says Elkins.
The questions posed underscore time and again the urgency of a further reflection on the phenomenon of artistic knowledge. Thus, in collaboration with the Artistic Research professorship, MaHKU organized the expert meeting Epistemic Encounters, where the characteristics of artistic knowledge and its role in graduate art education has been tackled from three different perspectives. First, the artist perspective. Hito Steyerl deals with the disciplining character of a discipline in artistic research. Does the danger lurk that we will ultimately have an aesthetics of administration and a cognitive capitalism? Second, the institutional perspective. Tom Holert notices that the concept of "knowledge production" turned art academies into reliable partners in dialogue with academic knowledge networks. However, at the same time art academies search for a form of agency enabling to continuously withdraw from commodification processes. Third, the perspective of knowledge networks. Chris Wainwright delves into collaboration networks such as the European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA) and investigates how they contribute, initiate, and incite a dialogue creating opportunities for artistic research across Europe. Thus, they engage in shaping the development, production, and application of creative "new knowledge" within a variety of institutional and public contexts.
Read or download maHKUzine #8 at ISSUU
MaHKUzine, Journal of Artistic Research
Henk Slager/General Editor
Annette W. Balkema
Final editing Annette W. Balkema
Translations Global Vernunft
Design Kate Snow, MaHKU, MA Editorial Design
MaHKU is part of the European Artistic Research Network, together with the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Malmo Art Academy, GradCam (Dublin), Slade School of Fine Art (London), Sint-Lukas Academy Brussels and the Academy of Fine Arts (Vienna).