The ‘little r’ in Artistic Research

Prof Paul Draper & Dr Kim Cunio, Griffith University Part of CW12

This presentation is proposed as both ‘presentation’ and ‘performance, comprising a scholarly paper and exemplification though short performances and recorded excerpts:

‘Artistic research’ (AR) is increasingly expanding in the academy, most recently exemplified in the establishment of the EU-funded Journal for Artistic Research. One of the characteristics of AR is that it accepts subjectivity (aka ‘little r’ research) as opposed to traditional scientific methods (or ‘big R’ research). As such, it is similar to the social sciences in using qualitative research and intersubjectivity as tools to apply measurement and critical analysis. AR investigates and tests with the purpose of gaining knowledge within and for artistic disciplines, and through presented documentation and artworks, the insights gained are placed in a context where the research aims to enhance knowledge and understanding in that discipline.

This presentation will present two interwoven components: i) a scholarly research paper complete with artistic research questions, method, analysis and conclusions; and ii) live music performance components that will feature the voice, acoustic instruments and digital arts technologies. This juxtaposition aims to present both highly familiar and unfamiliar thinking about musical practices to answer the following questions: How may musical thinking and preparation be considered ‘research’? In what ways can both the music and the text best serve to answer these questions? In particular, the presentation and performance components will focus on three aspects of this process: in relation to musical improvisation (the beginning of a new work); the formalization of structure, form and repetition (in the composition of the piece); and finally, in the technical production, capture and representation of a ‘final’ work as audio-visual recording.

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