Artistic Research and Aesthetic Thought.

A Meeting Point of Art Philosophy and Design

The progressive diffusion of artistic research practices or practice-based research in contemporary art and design, and especially in training programs in schools of art, design, dance, and others, pose an interesting problem for the epistemology of aesthetics since all these new forms of art understand themselves as ways of generating knowledge, challenging scientific knowledge as the only legitimate form of knowledge. This dispute over what is considered knowledge, which had already been anticipated in discussions of the 80s, has a renewed relevance in the epistemology of contemporary aesthetics. This relevance is not purely theoretical, but also practical given that when evaluating proposals for artistic research projects, final master’s projects, doctoral theses of artistic research, etc., it is necessary to have as clear as possible what is a(n) (artistic) contribution to knowledge. Schools and faculties, foundations, museums, and art centers are now facing big questions about what knowledge and its excellence are. The proposed project continues a research line carried out in recent years in contact with other research teams located in Zürich, Helsinki, Berlin, and Vienna and in connection with the Society for Artistic Research. The project pursues the following theoretical-practical objectives:

1) to establish a typology of the mechanisms by which artistic research practices generate knowledge, paying special attention especially to propositional hard investigations, to counterfactual like transition design which works with fictional prospective, and constellation investigations working simultaneously with multiple, different media;

2) the characterization of what we can call «aesthetic thought» as something different from theoretical thought, focusing especially on the need to distinguish between artistic research and aesthetic research; and

3) to rethink the question of «aesthetic truth» since if there is an artistic or aesthetic knowledge differentiated from theoretical knowledge, what kind of claim of truth and what criteria does it have, and there is cognitive progress? These three major objectives combine a very philosophical dimension about the conditions of possibility of non-propositional forms of knowledge, with another dimension in the field of applied aesthetics. For this we have integrated into the group from the previous project new collaborators, almost all with philosophical training, but who are already working in two specific fields of research: transition design and artistic aural research in architecture. Thanks to this convergence of philosophy, art, and design we hope

1) to be able to come up with a unified and coherent explanation of the problems that the existence of artistic research poses;

2) to anchor more closely the Spanish aesthetic at the forefront of international discussions in this field; and

3) to offer clearer and more manageable tools to all those involved in the development of this new way of doing and understanding aesthetic practices in the 21st century, especially considering all the educational programs related to art and design.

Recent publications of the project are listed here.