When JAR started out, we specifically wanted to bracket the question of what artistic research was, to allow for a more experimental space for articulations of practice as research, or expositions, as we call them. By now, some might argue, we have had time enough to conclude what counts and doesn’t count as artistic research, but still we stress that such definitions are not part of JAR’s remit or purpose.
The last few months saw a striking degree of debate around ruangrupa’s Documenta 15. While the public arguments mostly focussed on issues of anti-Semitism, curatorial responsibility and Documenta’s political and historical context, the outline of a problem very familiar to us here at Journal for Artistic Research has also emerged; how can the treacherous waters between artistic freedom and collective responsibility be navigated under conditions of increased specificity and multiplicity?
On the surface, this issue of JAR may much look like the previous issues we published, but under the hood, you can witness a silent revolution. With JAR26, for the first time, we have started to embrace a shift from the fixed-position layout of expositions that the Research Catalogue has pioneered to a responsive design approach that it now also supports.
JAR25 represents JAR’s silver anniversary in terms of issues. With our inaugural issue 0 in 2011, it also closes JAR’s first ten years of publishing artistic research. We have the sense that during this time, media rich academic publications have become more acceptable and that the role of text can be much more openly negotiated, leading to flat media hierarchies.
Here at JAR we are somewhat obsessed with the importance of articulation. Rather than asking what art is and what knowledge is, we are concerned with the processes through which ‘art’ and ‘knowledge’ become qualified. Although it might well be true that discourse has been developing in large historical cycles, we are acutely aware that those cycles have never properly represented what has been happening on the ground – neither in terms of art history, nor criticism, nor epistemology.