The Thought Experiment: Developing Research as Practice for Masters Students in Art & Design


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Presentation by Professor Howard Riley (University of Wales: Trinity Saint David, Swansea) at the Research-Teaching Practice in Wales Conference, 10th September 2013, at the University of Wales, Gregynog Hall. Slidecast edited by Professor Simon Haslett.

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The Thought Experiment: Developing Research as Practice for Masters Students in Art & Design

  1. 1. Howard Riley Paul Jeff
  2. 2. The Thought Experiment: Developing Research as Practice for Masters Students in Art & Design
  3. 3. • The Thought Experiment is conducted over an eight-week workshop session at the beginning of the first year of the MA, designed to explore and test the possibility of visual research methods becoming visual arts practice.
  4. 4. Method The Experiment begins with a table full of sealed envelopes, each containing a printed phrase culled from several sources, most notably Roger Pol Droit’s 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life. Short, esoteric, intriguing experiments such as Rediscover Your Room after a Journey; Tell a Stranger He/She is Beautiful and Dread the Arrival of the Bus. Students pick their envelope at random, and then research directions and strategies for each experiment are discussed in small seminar groups.
  5. 5. Helen Walkington 2011 Presentation to R-T Nexus conference, Gregynog
  6. 6. HEALEY, M. 2005 Linking Research and Teaching: Exploring Disciplinary Spaces and the Role of Inquiry-based Learning. In Barnett, R. (ed.) Reshaping the University: New Relationships between Research, Scholarship and Teachung. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press. 30-42.
  7. 7. Christine Shaw • THE EXPERIMENT – VANISH AT A PAVEMENT CAFÉ • “Sat alone at a pavement café for 30-40 minutes speaking to no one except the waiter. Made notes about my reaction to other people’s conversations, actions and the general atmosphere. Sitting alone makes you feel invisible to others”. “Researched the cafes of Swansea and discovered the history of the Kardomah Café. In the 1930s it was a frequent meeting place of a group of writers and artists, including Dylan Thomas. The group became known as the Kardomah Gang”. • The Kardomah was blitzed in WW2, a metonym for cultural loss. What else has been lost over the years?
  8. 8. Concept to Percept CONCEPT Past and present elements of time mixed up in the melting pot. Who vanished? When ? How? Influences? External forces? FORMULATION Mixture of sounds that could be audible when sitting in the café. Sounds from the past mixed with those of the present day. The main theme centred around the bombing and destruction of the surrounding area with sounds from the present day breaking through.
  9. 9. Sarah Dunstan • The Experiment, Follow the Movements of Ants prompted Sarah to research the dialectic social group needs/individual needs. “Billions of faces pass each other, some meaningless, some meaningful. But as technology allows us to inhabit our individual virtual worlds, we become more introverted and anaesthetised to our social relationships.”
  10. 10. • The multiplicity of faces at large in the social context is opposed by the multiplicity of selves we all harbour. • Sarah’s practice explores and visualises some of her ‘selves’ in the privacy of her room.
  11. 11. Daniel Ladner’s experiment Materialise Your Insights led him to research examples in the field of contemporary installation art… Richard Wentworth 2009 False Ceiling Venice Biennale Books as synecdoche for all knowledge, metaphorically out of reach unless an effort is made.
  12. 12. Daniel Ladner The basic, traditional research method of gathering and collating information is here made the subject of a performance. Daniel’s constant restructuring of the material is metaphoric of the ways we constantly restructure our realities from research experiences.
  13. 13.