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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Using disciplinary knowledge in an inquiry - Modules 2 and 3

A short blog picking up some themes about the knowledge and understanding that go into an inquiry.

I watched a good show last night on the performance artist Marina Abramovic last night documenting the exhibition she had at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

It brought up some questions about how performance art was related to dance. In this case, I was thinking of Martha Graham and the way that Abramovic also related to her partner.

This also brought up some questions as I discussed the professional inquires with Korli and Cathy about the use of disciplinary studies in the inquiry.

Some of these go unstated, but as this piece of work represents a 'three year' process in its final year, wouldn't you expect either contextual or practical references from disciplinary or sector sources (graphic design, dance, performance, inclusive practice, education/training/coaching, etc.) to be pointed out as informing the inquiry process? Is this not a part of the insider researcher's role to gain knowledge and understanding within their field as well as using that knowledge to explore other areas of practice?

Do the people planning or doing their inquires make a distinction between disciplinary and sector related knowledge?

Coming bak to Abramovic and Graham, the delivery of performance and performance art, Abramovic's work was said to be not about theatre but about real experiences... and the use of the body was presented in a particular way that might be interesting to compare to how Graham conceived of and performed her works. My discipline has been fine arts - and I remember one of my tutors explaining performance art by doing a performance piece in the lecture theatre! It was about morning rituals and had the smell of coffee and the movements that relate to dawn and starting the day. Performance art has a particular history and perhaps distinct conceptual underpinnings, I would have to look these up if I were doing a serious analysis, but I hope this example makes sense to others now beginning to think through their own inquiry work.


  1. Paula,
    I watched the programme last night. I couldn’t help but be moved by her last work of Art at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. I think Marina Abramovic is fortunate that in this life time she was able to truly live to express her real self and be true to herself without the baggage of modern life such as jobs and responsibilities. I think it’s a fusion, she has turned it into living in the moment ‘Art’

    She found and lived with her soul mate for a few years and managed to combine her love of expression in art with that of sharing her life with her soul mate. I’ve been reading about soul mates and have understood that you can’t live with them forever, they have their own paths to follow. I believe he opened up doors for her to follow other expressive paths. She has become the icon she is today. With the help and support of managers and advisers...

    Is it possible that the lack of love and emotion given by her parents in her child hood heightened her feelings of pure love and living in only the ‘now’ to date? It is similar to when you abstain from something for example a certain food or even sex and then experience it after a long period of time, the senses and emotions are heightened. I read regularly read about spirituality and a global awareness of consciousness that is being raised today.

    Is Marina using the platform of performing art to share her experiences of raising our consciousness to pure light and love?
    Aren’t we all performers of our own ‘Art’ of life? Only a handful of people notice us....

    I saw a connection with her work at MoMA when she connected with each individual person sitting opposite her, similar in preparation to meditation. A technique of transcendental meditation where you detach yourself from any anxieties in order to feel inner happiness. While in this state you emit pure love/lightness and can open up to receiving and giving. I think she was in a state of healing.

    Is Abramovic closer to proving that life is an ‘Art’ or that ‘Art’ is life, experiencing and living ‘real experiences’ (as mentioned in you last paragraph) but at a higher consciousness of spirituality?

    I have just researched on the basics of Qualitative Data Analysis and the process of noticing, collecting and thinking.... It is going to be a dilemma for me deciding how to put things into context between disciplinary knowledge and sector related knowledge. It’s just a little matter of making sense of it all and formulating a coherent piece of writing. It’s definitely easier said than done at this stage. I will blog my findings.


  2. Thanks Corinda - have come back to reread this - this last work presented was astounding. HoKate present writing for the Professional doctorate course and it was again mentioned that certain aspects of the research that we do should move us emotionally - so not that dissimilar to the arts and humanities.