Exhibition Concepts Homepage

Subject: EXC - Exhibition Concepts - 2013

Course: Diploma of Visual Art (21885VIC_13)

College of Arts, Victoria University

Teacher Name: Lisa Cianci | email: lisa.cianci@vu.edu.au
Course Coordinator & Education Manager: Alan Morgans | email: alan.morgans@vu.edu.au
College of Arts Office: City Flinders - Tel: 9919 1517

Class Website - http://lisacianci.vucreativeindustries.com/2013/EXC

Class 03 - Creative Research continued...

Class Activities

1. More on Creative Research

“Practice-based Research”(Candy 2006) methodology is where research is carried out through a project. Practice-based Research is an original investigation undertaken in order to gain new knowledge partly by means of practice and the outcomes of that practice. This may be demonstrated through creative outcomes in the form of designs, music, digital media, performances and exhibitions.

…in creative work, exploratory ideas and acts arise during the process and sometimes as side effects rather than from the explicit objectives being pursued at the time. By their very nature, creative acts cannot be described in advance and this makes the modelling task somewhat challenging. In particular, the application of knowledge that is highly expert, distinctive in character and constantly evolving is a feature of the way creative people work. (Edmonds et al. 2005 p.456)

Smith and Dean’s text “Practice-led Research, Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts” (2010) is a useful guide to this subject. On emergence in artistic research:

currently there is an increasing trend towards documentation and self-description of creative work - as well as growing recognition of the self-critical awareness which is always a part of creating an artwork - whether or not it is externalised. (Smith & Dean 2010 p. 25)

Practice-based research allows for the research to embark on a journey in a way that artist and academic Curt Cloninger describes as a “rigorously structured accident”. The research project becomes a framework for events and incidents.

Deleuze and Guattari propose a speculative/experimental practice of deterritorialization. You intend to head somewhere, but by definition you can't know where it will lead or how things will emerge at the end of your line. It is a kind of rigorously structured accident. Such speculative practices presume the possibility of something between intention and accident, a yet to have emerged space, an event of emergent becoming (to tap Whitehead). To tap Bergson, an actualization of the virtual. (Cloninger 2011) 

This comes back to the idea of "not knowing" in creative practice - often the accidents and contingencies may give us our most successful creative outcomes. Rebecca Fortnum's symposium introduction describes this quite well:

As artists we learn to live with this precarious sense not knowing what it is we are making, and though it is rarely discussed within the institutions and markets of art sometimes, amongst artists, an admission of this lack surfaces. Indeed the academy and institutions of art are complicit in this very necessary fiction of resolution. As teachers we urge our students to ‘step back’, to become the first ‘audience’ of their own work. We know that this attempt to understand what we have done should not be shirked, because the tension it creates is most often productive. As artist-educators we try to demonstrate to artist students how they might evaluate the difference between ‘intention’ and ‘outcome’. As artists we collude to make ourselves accountable for our creative practices; on research and other grant applications, on exhibition press releases, in the critical discourse that emerges from our practice. (Fortnum 2009)

It seems that there is a constant tension between exploration and "not knowing" and having to explain and justify our methods and processes to others.

research cycle

Image: Iterative Cyclic Web of Practice-led Research and Research-led Practice, (Smith & Dean 2010, p. 20) 


To sum it all up

The content provided in the subject thus far has centred around the following topics:

    1. where creativity and ideas come from, and the ownership of this creativity;
    2. creative practice and methods - how we justify what we do as artists within the "community of practice";
    3. What tools and methods can we as artists make use of to enhance our creative practices;
    4. how does exhibition fit into the cyclical web of research and practice; and
    5. how can technology help us to work creatively and effectively?

These themes are interrelated - we don't create art in a vacuum there is a continuum of creative practice that we are part of. It's of value to your own practice to think about your part in the continuum.


2. Watch: Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

We will be viewing this video in class today. It is about 107 minutes long, and is a compelling documentary about a significant performance artist's most ambitious performance and retrospective at MoMA in New York: and the work, resources and logistics involved in staging this work.

More information about Marina Abramovic can be found at these links, although the documentary does give a good brief history of her work and reoccurring themes such as limits of endurance and what the body (mentally and physically) can tolerate using the medium of performance.


MoMA exhibition: http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/965

About Marina Abramovic: http://marinafilm.com/about-marina-abramovic

The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic - video clip:s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDqNpa-GU4Y

Trailer for The Artist is Present: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GD5PBK_Bto

As I mentioned in last week's class in relation to the work of Joseph Beuys and the litigious nature of rights holders of artworks, Marina did perform a work created by Beuys in a series titled Seven Easy Pieces where she re-enacted five seminal performance works by her peers, dating from the 1960s and 70s, and two of her own, interpreting them as one would a musical score. She re-enacted Beuys' work "Explaining Pictures to a Dead Hare" and did so with the permission of Eva Beuys. More information can be found here:


Questions to respond to in your blogs

Did you have a particular response to this film? Was it an emotional reaction? What did it make you think about?

Consider the logistics of such a large scale exhibition - the performance itself and the performance retrospective. What impressed you the most about the staging of this at MoMA?

There was a bit of celebrity spotting in the audience of this event - mainly by actors or other types of performers. One could see why they would want to experience a performance like this. Would you agree that Performance Art can perhaps go further than other types of performance such as traditional theatre or film/television production in pushing boundaries and involving participants because there are less constraints?


3. Wordpress Blog - Refining the Interface: adding widgets and making the most of your media

Today we will continue setting up the Wordpress.com blog. Remember to refer to the Wordpress user guide at:


Some handy notes to help you remember how to get around your blog:

To Log In

Go to http://wordpress.com to log in to your blog or go directly to http://yourblogname.wordpress.com and find the Meta/Admin Login link on your blog homepage. Hopefully you have remembered your username and password. If you forget, you can get a password reset sent to your email address.

To Find the Dashboard (Admin Area)

If you don't go directly to your blog Dashboard - which is the place where you manage your blog (add/edit/delete content), go to your username at the top-right corner of the black Wordpress menu bar at the very top of your browser window. Roll over your username and you should see a list of your blogs appear in a drop-down list. Roll over the blog and another drop-down menu should appear with a link to the "Dashboard". Select this link and you should be there.

To View your Blog

If you want to view how your blog will look to other users visiting your site, then you can just click on the name of your blog at the top-left corner of the black Wordpress menu bar at the very top of your browser window.

These options should always be accessible to you if you are logged into Wordpress. Sometimes it can happen that you lose where you are and need to go back to the Dashboard or the Blog public view.


To Add a New Post

There are many ways to reach the Add New Post interface:

    1. Roll over the blog name at the top-left corner and select New -> Post

    2. Roll over your username at the top-right corner and select yourblogname -> New Post

    3. If you are in the dashboard area, just select Posts / New Post from the menu at the left-hand side of the page


To Add Images to your Blog Post

When you are at the interface to add a new post, you will see a small button under the "Add Title" field which is labelled "Add Media". This button will open a new overlayed interface that will allow you to upload one or more images at once. You may also select one as the "Featured Image" which appears in the summary view of blogs. If you have trouble adding media, get some help from me, and try the step-by-step guide on this page:


Ignore the first part of this page about a widget called Zemanta (unless you want to try it), and scroll down to the part titled Add your own images. This section will show you how to do it. The interface in their guide is the old interface - they obviously haven't updated the images yet, but the principal is the same. You need to have your images ready on a USB stick, hard disk or on the computer itself. You then select the ones you want to add and Wordpress will upload them.

Once uploaded, you can add titles, captions etc, and tweak how they will appear in your blog post. This is often one of the trickiest parts of Wordpress, so you may need to practice doing it a few times to really feel comfortable with it. Just ask for assistance with anything that's not working for you.

Don't be afraid to experiment!

if something doesn't work you can always edit it or delete it and try again.


Further Customisation


You can access the Widget section of Wordpress from the Dashboard left-hand menu. Depending on your Theme, you can customise which widgets appear on your blog. Some good ones to implement (which may be there already by default) are Tag Cloud, Categories, Archive, Blogroll/Links.

I can come and help people individually with their widgets as your theme may limit what you can do and where you can place your widgets.




Galleries and Slideshows

You can implement galleries and slideshows in Posts and Pages. this allows you a more interactive way of displaying a number of images. I will demonstrate this in class, and you can refer to the link here to remind you how to do it. Once again, your theme design will determine how your gallery or slideshow will look. If you don't like the way media is displayed, perhaps you need to find a different theme.



Embedding Video Content

You cannot upload video to a Wordpress.com blog, but you can embed video content that you upload to Youtube or Vimeo. You can also embed other people's content in your own blog.

Once you have uploaded your video to Youtube or Vimeo, you should see an option somewhere in the web page to "share" the video. You need to find the Embed code which will look something like this:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/2GD5PBK_Bto" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

For example, in Youtube, the code can be found by clicking on Share, then Embed to reveal the box with the embed code.

On Vimeo, there is a Share link at the top-left corner of the video if you roll over it (and the user has allowed sharing)

Copy and paste this Embed code into your Post or Page editor - but you MUST paste it in the Text view NOT the Visual view of your editor because this is HTML code not normal text.

You can choose a Post format such as "Video" if you want to format the post to highlight the video. Check how this looks in your Theme, you can always edit the Post and change the format.


4. Show me your blog

I will come around and review everyone's blogs towards the end of class today. I want to see your interface layout, and the content you have started to enter such as responses to the videos shown in class, and examples of your own work.


Homework / Readings

Your homework will be to add more content to you blog - try creating a gallery or slideshow, and keep making responses to the questions relating to the videos we have watched in class thus far.



Some interesting websites and blogs by artists and designers







Some interesting image gallery sites
(not blogs, but interesting ways of presenting visual content using web technologies)










Creative Research related references:

Borgdorff, Henk 2010, “The Production of Knowledge in Artistic Research” in The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts, Routledge

Candy, Linda 2006, Practice Based Research: A Guide, Creativity & Cognition Studios, http://www.creativityandcognition.com University of Technology, Sydney, CCS Report: 2006-V1.0 November, viewed 22/11/2010 <http://www.creativityandcognition.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/PBR-Guide-1.1-2006.pdf >

Cloninger, Curt 2011,  “Re: [-empyre-] glitch device/divide (slight return)”, Empyre Email list, Empyre, posted 9/12/2011, <http://lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/2011-December/004594.html>

Fortnum, Rebecca 2009, "On Not Knowing; how artists think – Symposium Introduction", Symposium: On not knowing: how artists think, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, <www.kettlesyard.co.uk/exhibitions/mi/papers/onn_fortnum.pdf >

Johnson, S. (2010) Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, Riverhead Hardcover

Schön, D. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner, How Professionals Think In Action, Basic Books

Smith, Hazel & Dean, Roger T. (Editors) 2010, Practice-led Research, Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts, Edinburgh University Press


Other Notices

ghost signs