Reasoning through Art. The Articulation of Embodied Knowledge, a talk by Henk Borgdorff (2016)

This was an excellent talk, on the 11th March, about art and research. This person was talking about and which are both well worth checking out. There were a number of things that I thought could be pretty helpful.

One was the idea of an art practice as an outcome – I have heard of this before but I guess hadn’t really considered the possibilities of simply developing a practice as a contribution to knowledge in itself. That could be useful – I’m concerned with finding a way to do a particular thing, so perhaps if all I find for now is a method, that could be one of my answers. He also referred to the agency of not only a thing but also a practice…

According to Borgdorff, an art research epistemology is inherently embodied and enacted – excellent. That’s a great viewpoint and I like it.

He refers to art variously as constituting non-propositional forms of knowing (useful for the Wittgenstein debate!), non-conceptual knowledge (really?), and refers this to Baumgarten’s sensuous knowledge and post-structuralism. I know little about Baumgarten. There’s some stuff about actor network theory.

Our relation to the world as a whole […] is not one of knowing. – Stanley Cavell

The work of art, like that of philosophy, is the reorganisation of ourselves. And this reorganisation, this work, aims at understanding. – Alva Noe


Borgdorff talks about discursivity, practice as writing, as making a claim. There’s a discussion at the end about linear and non-linear forms, about submitting a composition with accompanying ‘sketches’ that make an argument of it. This sounds like what I’m trying to do, in making work in series. Spell it out. But a thing that art can do that’s different to writing is to be non-linear, pluralistic, non-hierarchical (some piece of writing can do this too – start wherever you like, end wherever you like) – that’s why art can be useful to mathematics.

The thing that sets art research apart from art practice is the way that it relates to its context.

These look great:


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