An abstract is a very important element of a journal article. Next to the title and author name(s) it is among the first items of information a prospective reader encounters. It primes readers for what is to come. However, it also functions as a gateway, since many readers will not proceed to the article if the abstract fails to raise sufficient interest. In particular, this includes potential peer reviewers: as the full article remains inaccessible at this stage of decision-making, the abstract needs to convince them to take on the work.
Including media and, more generally, non-propositional content in a journal article undoubtedly increases its complexity allowing more demanding things to be communicated. The labour involved in understanding media-rich, multimodal, and often non-linear articles can be either rewarding or frustrating depending on how, on reflection, we evaluate this encounter. As a reviewer recently commented: ‘I really enjoyed working on this article and want to thank you for the opportunity.
This is JAR’s tenth peer-reviewed issue. We are massively proud of having made it this far, but also grateful to the many artists and researchers across the globe who have been supporting the project by submitting their expositions of practice as research, by acting as peer-reviewers or – as members of the Society for Artistic Research – by supporting us in general. A big Thank You to all of you.
Would JAR consider a submission that engages with the precarious material status of objects? What about research carried out during a residency in Mozambique? What about in Tokyo? Or during a trip across Australia? Might we be interested in live-performance sampling? What about the staging of scientific texts? Would we exclude architecture research? Literature? Graphic design? Can a text be poetic, interactive, multilayered, or even missing? Can documentation be problematised? May a submission travel from art to philosophy and back?
From the very beginning, the notion of practice that JAR has employed has included its own communication – or exposition, as we call it – as research. This implies that key concepts relevant to contemporary art can be engaged with even in the context of something as scholarly – and for some boring – as a journal article. In this editorial, I would like to sketch the relevance of appropriation to expose the point at which stable notions of ‘research’ are jeopardised. Such instability is perhaps difficult to evaluate but, we believe, exciting to engage with.