Spent afternoon at studio reading final submitted chapter of the 2nd edition of James Elkins’ ‘Artists with PhDs’. The article was Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield’s ‘Writing as practice: Notes on materiality of theory for practice-based PhDs’. This is a very fitting coda to my never-ending M.A. by research project which I started way back in September 2010 and which will finally end at end of January. It especially pertinant as Dronsfield has supervised at least two ‘challenging’ practice as research PhDs at Reading University and his analysis of art practice as ‘knowledge’ from Ranciere and Nancy points of view is superb in its pinning down of the fundamental fault-line in all art practice as research in terms of the academy.
He goes back to Kant’s third critique to mine into the basis of the ‘compromise’ all fine artists feel when confronting then toppling into the Cartesian well of rules that is the university. Most drown in the essential contradiction of ‘freedom of the artist’ V ‘the academy’ rules. Dronsfield brilliantly excavates the reason for this which present right back in Kant ( written 30 years before the first scientific ‘rational’ PhDs awarded in Berlin in early 1800s).
I will be illustrating the argument next week but essentially the ground was set early in the following paradox and leads the art practice as researcher to always be left in a APORETIC SPACE.
The humanities are in an important sense opposed to the aesthetic. The humanities draw the artist back from the truth of art, mind which is freedom, ailment from the way in which art threatens to present or show its freedom unconditionally, back to the social, to the way in which art might communicate the ideas it seeks freely to express. (Jonathan Laney Dronsfield – forthcoming article in Elkins book).
Never thought I’d end up here..started out with a locative media project end up deep in continental philosophy…
Problem is I actually enjoying it…a PhD prison cell beckons …..