Research in the Creative and Media Arts: Challenging Practice, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Research in the Creative and Media Arts

Challenging Practice, 1st Edition

By Desmond Bell


360 pages

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Paperback: 9781138589063
pub: 2019-04-17
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Hardback: 9781138589056
pub: 2019-04-17
Available for pre-order

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In Research in the Creative and Media Arts, Desmond Bell looks at contemporary art and design practice, arguing that research activity is now a vital part of the creative dynamic.

Today, creative arts and media students are expected to develop a range of research competencies and critical capacities in their creative project work. This book plots the basis for a research culture in the creative and media arts. It provides an illuminating genealogy of artistic research revealing the intimate connections between art and science over the centuries and identifying some of the founding figures of practice based, artistic research. Bell explores the research that artists undertake through a number of case studies, talking to a range of contemporary artists and media makers about their work and the role research plays in this. He also traces the dialogues between art practice and a range of other humanity disciplines such as history, anthropology and critical theory. His analysis reveals how contemporary art practice is now so locked into a set of interlocutions about process and purpose, that it increasingly resembles a research practice in and of itself.

Research in the Creative and Media Arts is a comprehensive overview of the relationship between research and practice, ideal for undergraduate and postgraduate students, and researchers in the fields of art and design, art history and visual culture.

Table of Contents

Section 1. Critical Parameters

Chapter 1. Creative arts and media research: key terms and perspectives

    1. Defining the key terms
    2. The distinguishing characteristics of artistic research
    3. The main types of artistic research:
    4. 1.3.1 Research into the creative arts 1.3.2 Research through creative arts practice Reflective Practice 1.3.3 Research for creative arts practice

    5. Modelling artistic research

Chapter 2. The research that artists actually do

    1. Re-evaluating background research
    2. Artist reflections and critical dialogues as research sources
    3. The artist interview as a research tool
    4. Case study: found footage film-making

Chapter 3. A research turn in the visual arts?

    1. The dynamics of contemporary art practice
    2. Conceptualism
    3. Curational strategies
    4. Relational aesthetics
    5. Performativity
    6. The Practice Turn in contemporary theory

Chapter 4. The spectre of science

    1. The methodological drive in artistic research
    2. Understanding the logic of scientific discovery
    3. The specificity of artistic research
    4. Against method (and for art)
    5. Artists and science
    6. Case studies of art-science collaboration

Section 2. Antecedents and Foundations


Chapter 5. The historical antecedents of artistic research: the Renaissance

    1. Renaissance vision
    2. Leonardo, science and invention
    3. Assessing the Renaissance contribution to the advancement of artistic research

Chapter 6. A science of art? theory and practice in the modernist avant-garde

    1. A Science of Art?
    2. Founding Fathers (and Mothers) of twentieth century artistic research
    3. Theory and practice in the work of Wassily Kandinsky
    4. Art as expression
    5. Founding texts and axioms of modernist artistic research

Chapter 7. Utopian visions and material realities: artistic research and the revolution

      1. Artistic research for a revolutionary moment
      2. The auspices of non-objective art: from the analysis of style to language and system
      3. Malevich as pedagogue: the UNOVIS experiment
      4. The Constructivist challenge
      5. From Suprematist painting to Constructivist imaging
      6. The eclipse of the avant-garde

Section 3: Interdisciplinary Dialogues

Chapter 8. Art and the sciences of man: reframing history

8.1 Method, craft and science in History

8.2 Material Memory: Exploring a family archive (case study)

8.3 The artwork as historiographical intervention: interpreting the Spanish civil war

8.4 Imaging the past: History film, The Enigma of Frank Ryan (case study)

8.5 Contemporary art and the engagement with history: Hito Steyerl's Der Bau and

Free Fall

Chapter 9. Artistic research and the human sciences: staging anthropology

9.1 An ethnographic turn in the visual arts?

9.2 The tarnished legacy of anthropology

9.3 Lens-based ethnography: documenting Dublin's docklands (case study)

9.4 Susan Hiller: a coming to terms with anthropological method

9.5 Trinh T Minh-ha: speaking nearby

9.6 The auto-ethnographic impulse in artistic research

Chapter 10. Artistic research and critical theory

10.1 Theory in the creative arts and media

10.2 Paradigms of the theory-practice relation

10.2.1. - positivism

10.2.2. - the interpretative paradigm

10.2.3 - critical theory

10.3 Exemplars of contemporary creative arts practice in the critical tradition

10.3.1. - Neil Beloufa’s game playing

10.3.2. - Niels Ackerman and Sebastian Gobert Looking for Lenin

10.3.3. - Mari Bastashevski’s State Business

10.4 Conclusion: Artistic research and critical theory

About the Author

Desmond Bell is a research fellow at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin where he was previously Head of Research. He has held chairs in film, photography and media studies at a number of UK universities, combining his academic work with a career as an award winning documentary film-maker.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies