Interrupting the Artist: theory, practice and topology in Sartre's aesthetics
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This output is a chapter in a book on art practice-based research and, in particular, the ways in which art practice constitutes a form of enquiry. In it, I show how knowledge conceived as a transformational process can inform the topic of writing in relation to creative practice research degrees. I focus on the role concepts play in the creation and appreciation of art, and draw on the concept of transformation implicit within Sartre’s existentialism. Two aspects of Sartre are relevant: (1) his theory of writing, and (2) his emphasis on our condition as beings immersed in and actively engaged with the world, as opposed to being detached observers of it. The two come together in the claim that the concept – any concept – is not something which confines or reduces experience but an ‘action’ through which the speaker brings to light new aesthetic possibilities. The research significance of the work is that it shows how the descriptions we employ in aesthetic judgement (a) can stand alongside the physical gestures of the artist as ‘constructive interventions’ in the development of an artwork, and (b) can bring new perspectives to bear on the theoretical framework employed by the practitioner in their research.
Thinking Through Art, pp.40-50