On an unmethodological method (version 1) – From the scenic essay to the essay-exhibition

International conference from April 27th – April 29th 2022

Ghent University, KASK & Conservatorium – School of Arts Ghent, University of Antwerp, KU Leuven, Research Centre S:PAM


Lecture performance 20.03 min (starts at 00.05 min.)

As artistic researcher my work revolves around theorizing and practicing the essay as form1. In the relatively new institutionalized field of artistic research, science and art are integrated. The essay inherently embraces both the artistic and the scientific. In the academic article Essaying Art2, an Un-methodological Method3 for Artistic Research4 I centralize the act of essaying as an approach for the artistic researcher to investigate any topic of investigation. The form of expression can encompass all possible artistic media, and all possible combinations of media.
As an artist I work with performance and video, these media are incorporated into my lecture performances. They are iteratively performed at conferences and events, incorporating new insights and feedback from public and peers, until the topic saturated or split onto other topics. This lecture performance will be on the essay as verb5, the essay as inherently performative6 and as unmethodological method in relation to artistic research. In the lecture performance many different references and perspectives are used, among which; an etymological perspective, a non-human perspective, a historical perspective, a societal perspective and an personal perspective. The performer interacts with three parallel videos; one with video/image references, one with artistic videos, and one with footnotes references. Both theory and practice are utilized as equal partners, incorporating the subjective and objective, the experiential and the intellectual.

1 Reference to The Essay as Form by T.W. Adorno 1958 (translation 1984)
2 Reference to ‘essaying science’ (Burgard, 1992) and ‘essayistic science’ (Erickson, 2004).
3 Reference to Obaldia (1996) and Kauffmann (1988) and ‘methodically unmethodically’ (Adorno, 1984).
4 Huurdeman, E.G.A, : Essaying art, an unmethodological method for artistic research, Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication, Volume 11, Number 1, 1 September 2020, pp. 25-42
5 Assay was translated into ‘to put to the test […] to put to the proof’ (OED 2020). The verb essay was first included in the English dictionaries in 1483, but the noun essay only entered the dictionary in 1597.
6 In reference to reflections on Adorno’s text The Essay as Form as: ‘performance of paradox’ (Burgard, 1992) ‘performing (…) gestures’ (Hohendahl, 1997) and ‘a performative salto mortale’ (Pourciau, 2007)