Jo Ray & Michael Day
This is the second of two publications produced as part of Testing, Testing, a project that aims to explore the process of artistic production as research methodology. Initiated and produced by practice-based Ph.D. researchers in the fine art subject area at Sheffield Hallam University, the project takes the form of an exhibition at SIA Gallery, a symposium event, and two publications.
The first publication introduced a framework of ideas, parameters and concerns that set the scene for the group exhibition at SIA Gallery. Each exhibiting artist produced a text that responded to their artwork in the process of its production, making some predictions, exploring intentions, or generating loose hypotheses about how the works might function. As artist-researchers, we each have a willingness to expose our artistic practice to public discussion and critique, and the symposium set out to open up our methods, practices and approaches to public scrutiny and to generate critical dialogue around them. At the symposium, some of the works were discussed through group critiques, while some of the artists made more formal presentations of their findings so far. These modes of dialogue produced insights that we have attemptedto capture and represent in this publication. We hope that through the variety of strategies used here to expose and relate our findings, it might be possible for the reader to access the parts of the process of artistic research that might not usually be seen.
The duplication in the title of this project could denote the repetition of double-checking, or an utterance made to find out if one’s voice is decipherable, perhaps even an echo. It also suggests an intention to test the act of testing itself. If the production and exhibition of artwork can be considered a research method, we need to properly interrogate our assumptions about experimentation and how we think it works for us. This generates dialogue that crosses disciplinary boundaries and presents new oppor-tunities for understanding. Having now encountered the work as both process and as exhibit, and from the perspective of both author and viewer, what has been learned, and how?