My writing for blogs has always been a place for me to ask the meta-questions about stuff we’re working on and surrounded by and now I’m breaking that open even more by allowing those methodology questions to become more visible across a range of platforms. I’ve branded the project space as R&D, as our temporary research and development office. And half the work is experimenting with what we mean by research, and more specifically what it means to do research in and with a public (and for that matter, asking what does public mean).
At the moment research is taking the form of conversation, a lot of different kinds of conversation. Some conversation about specific images, but more often, at this stage, we’re talking a lot about how we talk, how we precondition the ways we engage each other in conversation, and of course how we stage encounters with images and the ways we foreclose or open possibilities within those encounters. More on all that in subsequent posts.We’ve had a few public events – panel discussions, relational experiments – but increasingly we’ve been hosting and organizing a range of conversational workshops, reading groups and just generally having more meetings with colleagues old and new in the city, and quite a few international passers-through… thinking out loud about mutual concerns and plotting collaborations for future moments. There are some interesting things in the works, some public and some more intimate group encounters. There is some amazing dialogue emerging and as we move ahead I’ll try to get more specific with you about the more interesting questions that come up. A series of public discussions is in the works in relation to some upcoming programming at the AGYU and the ever-growing investment around “difficult knowledge” — which we’ve long since been attentive to and continue to probe through many programs this year, not the least of which is hosting a curatorial residency with Gabby Moser. I’ve also started an interesting back and forth with the directors of Whippersnapper gallery trying to think of new ways to foster productive relationships between the so-called “emerging” and more established cultural workers and practitioners. We are continuing and expanding our connections with performing arts people, currently a few choreographers (Ame Henderson and Jenn Goodwin), and thinking about how we can mutually break our institutional legacies open. We seem to be developing an interesting relationship to some of our larger public galleries in the city too, who are positioning us as a site where perhaps more directed debates might take place in relation to larger generalist artist and curatorial lectures. Of course both forms of address are important, and it’s been a pleasure do begin discussion with institutions like the Power Plant and the AGO about how our roles in the city are related but different, and how we might work more consciously together as an interconnected ecology.
Importantly, as a way to keep track of all our conversations, and as a way to share access, the R&D project website is essential. We’re hoping through the organized chaos of accumulating thought and documentation over the year that new connections and insights will emerge for us to then act on or share further. So stay tuned while we enter this Beta stage of TPW R&D, and of course, let us know what you think.