thinking through practice

Frans Jacobi's performances and installations are often large scale scenarios with multiple participants addressing a range of political and societal issues. Using a kind of urgent aesthetics the temporality and presence becomes a point in itself. Jacobi is professor in timebased media / performance at KHiB, Bergen Academy of Art & Design since 2012. He completed his phd ‘Aesthetics of Resitance’ at Malmö Art Academy/Lunds University in 2012.

In 2014 Jacobi established the artist-group Synsmaskinen, an artistic research conglomerate based at the Institute of Art at the University of Bergen. Synsmaskinen proposes a multifaceted inquiry into contemporary crises. Through a variety of interrelated artistic projects, a politically-charged horizon comes into focus: apocalyptic abysses, systemic entanglements, and hyper-complex realities. The name Synsmaskinen is taken from the Danish and Norwegian translations of Paul Virilio’s seminal book on the techniques of perception, La Machine De Vision. This title has inspired the overall structure and methodology of the project. SYN=vision / MASKIN=machine.

THINKING THROUGH PRACTICE is a seminar series at Trondheim Academy of Fine Art around the question of what constitutes an artistic research, or research through art. Every practice concerns a mode of thought (Massumi, 2014), however a mode of thinking defined by the singularity of each research-creation. The development of each artistic investigation is an individual – and perhaps non-replicable – process-oriented way of working, which involves a distinct, and hybrid assemblage of methodologies and critical tools for thinking through making. It is a push-and-pull, give-and-take activity of creating, articulating, revising, reflecting, and sharing. (Hannula, 2013) Scribbles, sketches, drawings, failed work, models, studies, thoughts, and conversations – as proposed by Sol LeWitt's list – while common attributes related to artistic activity can also be useful tools for placing a work within a context, by providing insight and a roadmap to the artist’s intentions, reasons, and processes. (Bärtås, 2013)

Yet much of the research coming out of an artistic practice challenges the language of research and its expectations implied by such a term. A question arises: How can art, as a tool for thinking with, be used to generate new knowledge, while at the same time not promising easily predictable and quantifiable results?

Rather than abridge or simplify, the THINKING THROUGH PRACTICE seminar series shifts towards complexity. Through the introduction of critical and innovative approaches to artistic research, the seminar series looks at art as a thinking, theorizing process.

The Thinking through Practice seminar series is conceived and organized by Associate Professor Michelle Teran.