How did your own artistic practice bring you to artistic research?
Barbara Lüneburg (BL): The first time I engaged in artistic research as such was for my dissertation at Brunel University London. My topic back then was the creative potential of contemporary music performers—from the moment when we commission new works up to our presentation of these works to the public onstage. In that context, I devoted quite a bit of research to “collaboration” between performers and composers as well as to the relationship between performers and the audience. In connection with that, also I dealt with questions on the essence and development of “charisma” and “concert aura”.
What can you tell us about the processes and methods involved in this interlocking of art and research?
BL: It’s important that artistic research take place from the inside out, meaning that artists research their own practice, the process of creating art, and also the artwork itself in a manner that involves systematic and methodological reflection. The underlying research philosophy and methodological approach need to be carefully chosen and tailored to suit each individual artistic research project. In my own research, an interdisciplinary approach has always been important alongside the actual art creation process itself. I see interdisciplinary research going on in many other artistic research projects, as well, and I think that makes a lot of sense. The use of tried-and-true methodologies from other disciplines and the practice of working across disciplinary boundaries serve to expand our perspective on our own work and on the processes in which we’re involved, also helping us to critically reflect upon and question our research. Essential in artistic research, however, is that it have its own artistic practice as the central focus. Research questions arise from art and lead back to it again. It’s research for art, through art, and using the means of art.
What sources of financial support have been helpful in realising this approach?
BL: One fantastic source of funding is PEEK, the “Programme for Arts-Based Research” run by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). Over a period of four years, I headed up TransCoding – From “Highbrow Art” to Participatory Culture, an artistic research effort that we conducted as a PEEK project. In the process, my team and I built up a community that worked together via its social media contributions to create several artworks. The question there was not only how one can interest and involve an audience that doesn’t originally come from the contemporary music or art worlds, but also what effect facilitating community access and conceding a measure of authority to participating community members has on art, the artists, and of course the community members themselves.
What are you planning to focus on in your new artistic research professorship at the Anton Bruckner University in Linz?
BL: One emphasis of my own research as part of the professorship will certainly remain the performance field as such. And as far as that’s concerned, I already have some ideas for a new PEEK project. Furthermore, I’m hoping that it will be possible—together with my colleagues at the Anton Bruckner University in Linz as well as with and in proximity to the new research-oriented and artistic-academic doctoral schools at Austrian arts universities—to succeed in building up a lively research environment for the advancement and appreciation of the arts that will be of widespread influence. I’m curious to see what internal, Austria-wide, and international cooperative activities we’ll be mounting, and I’m especially looking forward to the fact that the mdw will be one of our cooperating partners.
How do you view the developments surrounding the artistic doctorate in the international context? And what content and methods are, to your mind, pivotal in such artistic doctoral programs
BL: There are widely varied approaches to arts-based research out there. Some people are particularly interested in the generation of knowledge through art (i.e., through the artwork itself), while others want to research their own practices in order to produce knowledge for their own disciplines, while still others are interested in systematically developing and advancing a new artistic field using the tools of arts-based research. And the content and topics of artistic doctoral projects, for their part, are as diverse as art itself.