Report on the 9 January, 2016 session ~ "Art Research and Knowledge Production"~ with Suhail Malik, Co-Director of the MFA Fine Art, Goldsmiths, London
Guest: Suhail Malik: Co-Director of the MFA Fine Art, Goldsmiths, London, where he holds a Readership in Critical Studies, and was 2012–15 Visiting Faculty at CCS Bard, New York.
In the first part, two members of the APRC, Florian Göttke and Lauren Alexander, presented their respective researches at their current state. Both were linked by their work with images as a means to communicate a specific content. In Florian’s case this could be described as an exploration of writing with images, a semiotic approach that finds ramifications in anthropology, media theory and the visual arts. Florian presented an overview of his PhD research project Burning Images – Performing Effigies as Political Protest (the University of Amsterdam and the Dutch Art Institute/MfA ArtEZ).
Lauren presented her recent project Failed Futures and Extended Borders (with Ghalia Elsrakbi under their collaborative framework Foundland Collective), produced and showed in the context of the Prix de Rome 2015 prize. The presentation focused mainly on the video work, based on a series of interviews carried out with Ghalia’s father, Yassin Elsrakbi, an exiled from Syria in Cairo, which revolved around an analysis of the current situation in the Middle East and imaginary projections for the future of Syria.
The second part was a group discussion that found continuation in the issues raised during the first part, whilst using Mieke Bal’s text Working with Concepts as a point of connection. Suhail Malik took the lead by presenting a broad response to the earlier session, taking up some of the general themes that emerged from it, and by adding some further reflections. These were strongly related to his claim about the necessity of the exit from contemporary art. The following questions were considered:
What is knowledge?
Is it possible to produce knowledge through art practice?
Is PhD research liable to be assimilated to art practice?
Does Art PhD operate as a mechanism of legitimation in the art world?
What role do subjective experiences play in art practice? Do they constitute a valid form of knowledge?
Mieke Bal (2009) Working with concepts. European Journal of English Studies, vol. 1, no. 1 (April), pp. 13–23.