Exhibition text for the research student exhibition at University of Brighton, 27 February–18 March 2017 which featured the work of 18 doctorial students with practice-based/practice-led approaches:
Imaginative investigators are working beyond the restriction of defined discipline parameters and are guided by questions, issues, and abstractions where new knowledge is seen as a function of creation and critiquing human experience (Sullivan, 2005:181).
In the groundbreaking book, Art Practice as Research: Inquiry in the Visual Arts, the artist, educator and writer Graham Sullivan provides strong evidence on the transformative potential of practice-based research (2005).
These include approaches from empiricist, interpretative and critical traditions. Key to making in systems is the exploration of interactions and intersections; making in communities is about communication, connection and interpretation. Making in cultures acknowledges dissonance, collaboration, criticality and the visual. Images and artefacts are interrogated as ‘visual sources of knowledge’ (2005:158) or activated to challenge ‘perceptions through visual encounters’ (2005:150). Questioning, self-reflexivity, dialogue and critical engagement are part of these processes (Haysom,2005).
Sullivan explores the communicative capacity of artists and practitioners as theorists and relates transformative, reflexive, relational, site-based research practices. He considers art and creative practices as research that are ‘grounded in traditions of making [and] can be seen as a viable way to reveal the kind of artistic knowledge that [has] the capacity to change us’ (2005:180).
Title: Fabricating Lureland: a history of memory of place
“The images selected for the Imaginative Investigations exhibition are from my PhD thesis, which explores the history of memory of place (Gedächtnisgeschichte). In chapter 8, I propose to read the town of Peacehaven itself as archive. Two distinct photographic strategies are mobilized; each explores the intersections of place, memory and archive. Firstly, I show how surviving traces of the town’s original vision are mapped and recorded through documentary photographs. Photography is used here in a forensic or detective mode to create a photographic record for the future. This methodology of site-marking is informed by the technique of site-writing, a term coined by architectural historian Jane Rendell, who has used the process of writing as a form of spatial construction. This is complemented by a second visual approach that takes the shape of a commemorative site-specific intervention performed as a public outdoor event. As part of this intervention, lost landmarks were temporarily conjured through the projection of archival photographs onto bare chalk cliffs below Peacehaven’s iconic Meridian Monument.
Through this intervention, new, layered images emerged and were recorded. Whilst representing what has been lost, the photographs also seek to reinterpret the archival images in a new context. A space emerged within which lost landmarks of Peacehaven are made visible in the present. Three of the images shown here are records of this intervention; the fourth is a photograph of an archival blueprint of the Peacehaven Estate (1921).”
Click here to read about Julia’s community project: Lureland Peacehaven