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Becoming more than it never (actually) was: Expressive writing as research-creation



In this article the author combines Chinese literary theory and new materialism with her ongoing research into creative writing. In the opening section, the author discusses how language and writing can be approached using new materialist theories. She then enters into a creative non-fiction “research-creation” piece that explores how creative writing can be a more-than-representational practice, and how words can heighten and/or dampen affective production. The creative non-fiction story experiments with sub-text, format, and sensorial evocations. Finally, the author considers the potentialities and caveats of teaching creative-non fiction writing to high school students.
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Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy
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Becoming more than it never (actually) was:
Expressive writing as research-creation
Sarah E. Truman
To cite this article: Sarah E. Truman (2016) Becoming more than it never (actually) was:
Expressive writing as research-creation, Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 13:2, 136-143,
DOI: 10.1080/15505170.2016.1150226
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Published online: 18 Aug 2016.
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Becoming more than it never (actually) was: Expressive
writing as research-creation
Sarah E. Truman
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
In this article the author combines Chinese literary theory and
new materialism with her ongoing research into creative writing.
In the opening section, the author discusses how language and
writing can be approached using new materialist theories. She
then enters into a creative non-ction research-creationpiece
that explores how creative writing can be a more-than-
representational practice, and how words can heighten and/or
dampen affective production. The creative non-ction story
experiments with sub-text, format, and sensorial evocations.
Finally, the author considers the potentialities and caveats of
teaching creative-non ction writing to high school students.
The memory of the event remains: not as image or recollection, but as kind of eld of vir-
tual potential that never quite exhausts itself in the process of becoming more than it
never (actually) was. (McCormack, 2008,p.8)
In Chinese literary theory, the concept wenqi (), coined by 1st century liter-
ary theorist Cao Pi, describes the inborn talent of a writer as manifested in his
[sic] writing(Gu, 2009, p. 23). In the 2,000 years since Cao Pis death, the concept
has taken on myriad meanings including the aesthetic merit of a piece of writing,
the authors inspiration, and literary momentum of the words (Gu, 2009). Pushing
these ideas further, Owen (1992) discusses wenqi as that by which all other ele-
ments which contribute to the formation of a poemtalent, learning, personality,
the affectionsare animated(Owen, 1992, p. 67). I believe the notion of wenqi
intersects well with new materialist theories by conceptualizing writing as a vital
process that is not solely author centred but includes the authors environment
and a multitude of other factors that combine in the writing act: everything that
combines when the pen scratches the paper and the pigment bleeds, the ensuing
affects those sharp black lines produce and the interstices between them(Mas-
sumi, 2015, p. 63). The writer, the reader, the pen, the ink, the paper, the social-
economic milieu, are all part of the apparatus,as Barad (2007) would say that
CONTACT Sarah E. Truman Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Uni-
versity of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1V6 Canada.
© Curriculum and Pedagogy Group
2016, VOL. 13, NO. 2, 136143
produces a piece of writing. In such a view, the author is decentered and replaced
by what Manning (2013) might call a eld of relations,or a force taking form
rather than simply a form(p. 31).
Once we cease viewing writers as pre-formed subjects with distinct authorial
intentions represented in unambiguous texts, a new materialist informed concep-
tion of writing also allows us to consider the emergent qualities of language expres-
sion. As Hayles (2012) states, Materiality is unlike physicality in being an
emergent property. It cannot be specied in advance, as though it existed ontologi-
cally as a discrete entity(p. 91). In this view, language and language-use become
part of a horizontal ontology emerging alongside other social-material forces,
instead of merely a medium for representing them.
So while I agree with many ongoing critiques of the linguistic turn, and believe
its time language was relieved from what MacLure (2013) poetically calls its
imperial position as mediator of the world,(p. 663) in this article, and my writing
practice I do not (obviously can not) exclude language, or linguistic theorizing
from the materiality of my research practice. I maintain that language operates as
a material force and material event, but advise that it is not superior to other mate-
rial forces or events, and is subject to the same emergent properties. Similarly,
Massumi (2002) when discussing affect, notes that although affects differ from
emotions in that they are pre-linguistic, or as he says, the skin is faster than the
word,(p. 25) language can amplify or dampen the intensity of an affect through
articulation or writing. Such a viewpoint does not reduce linguistic communication
to a representation of affective experiences, but allows words into the affective
encounter as another part of the event from which a new material experience
arises. This perspective allows us to move away from the conception of language as
purely representational and experiment with languages material potential through
creative writing.
I am interested in how words mix with, amplify, or dampen the intensity of an
affect as part of a larger apparatus of thinkingfeeling, and Im also interested in
the material inuences that affect word-usage and reception. I explore these inter-
ests through my creative writing practice as well as with high school English stu-
dentswritings as part of my larger research. Parikka (2011) argues that along with
recognizing theory as situated practice, we should consider, practice as theory.
Practices are in themselves theoretical excavations into the world of things,
objects of (cultural) research conducted in a manner that makes the two insepara-
ble(p. 34). I contextualize my writing practice using research-creation.
Research-creation can be thought of as the complex intersection of art,
theory, and research(Truman & Springgay, 2015, p. 152). The description I just
gave of research-creation could be used to describe most forms of arts-based
research. However, unlike some arts-based approaches to research that attempt
to use artistic media as ways of disseminating or representing qualitative research
ndings, research-creation is concerned with what Manning and Massumi (2014)
call a mutual interpenetration of processes rather than a communication of
product(p. 8889, italics mine). In research-creation, rather than representing
research datathrough art/writing, the process of art/writing is the research and
theorizing. Parikka states, Practices point towards the promise of the experiment
as a formation inseparable from theory(Parikka, 2011, p. 34).
The story belowEpisodes with Eloiseexperiments with the mutual interpene-
trating material processes of thinkingfeelingwriting. The story is an account of
some events in my past that have affective potential, and an experiment in what
happens if those events are re-congured through apertures of language and narra-
tive and ink and paper. Its not a reporting of events but a creation.
Accordingly, research-creation varies from the phenomenological focus of some
arts-based approaches which jagodzinski and Wallin (2013) critique for being
solely located within lived experience or composed from personal memory
(p. 167). Now you might say that of course personal memories are present in auto-
biographical writing. And I agree that memories are part of the ensemble, or wenqi
that any writing emerges from, however I concur with McCormack (2008) that
memories of past events remain not as denite images, rather as a eld of virtual
potential that never quite exhausts itself in the process of becoming more than it
never (actually) was(McCormack, 2008, p. 8). This hints toward how both
research-creations more-than-representational approach, and creative writings
differential potential, have the ability to bring new events into being rather than
merely report on them.
The following research-creation is an experiment in writing practice. The text is
in past-tense, employs a frame-narrative, and direct and indirect discourse. I wrote
this story in conjunction with my qigong practice (a standing meditation practice).
It draws from hazy journal notes, many cups of tea, and a lovely view of the Niag-
ara Escarpment out the window. Although none of the previous two sentencesele-
ments are in the story, they are part of the apparatus from which the story
Episodes with Eloise
I ate sushi for the rst time in Berkeley California. I was 19, I had just hitchhiked
from Lake Louise Alberta, and I was high on LSD.
Just try a piece,Eloise said. The chopsticks, wooden spindles, clutched the
squiggling sushi. Innite eyes attended.
Its moving. Its alive.
Its vegetarian, it never moved! And you shouldnt take drinks from strangers.
It was orange juice. Why would I suspect LSD in orange juice?
Were in Berkeley, thats what people do here.
The colors of the cosmos shone on the sushi. It breathed magnicent, spiraled
ocean of emptiness.
Whats that sound?
Youre just tripping. Theres no sound.
138 S. E. TRUMAN
I heard the crystals of eternity grinding, grinding down into myriad things.
Are you going to try the sushi or not?
I sipped the sake. The altar of mouth communed and the cathedral of nostril
perfumed and the catacomb of gut warmed. My hand would soon pass through
the cupuid. The Kirin painted on the cup in ink blue winked. I see you, it said.
I know you. The mythical beast that lives on wind knew me.
I am a cathedral of consciousness. The Kirin knows me. I am the Kirin!
Youre high.Eloise leaned across the table and took my hand. Try the sushi
youll like it!
I was high, I had never tried sushi, but most importantly on that hazy evening,
Eloise was speaking to me. She had ignored me for the previous three days. Two
days of hitchhiking south, and one day in Peoples Park and she hadnt spoken a
word to me except to tell me I was stupid.
Eloise was four years older than I. We met at a lodge in the Rocky Moun-
tains. She had recently graduated from QueensUniversityandhadmovedto
Alberta to work. I had nished my rstyearatUniversityofTorontoandwent
to Alberta to work for the summer. Every night after my shift in the caf
smoke, and watch the sun vanish behind Wenkchemna Glacier. On weekends
wed hike into the mountains and camp among larch trees and crystal creeks.
We encountered a grizzly bear one evening as we switch-backed into Paradise
The sleeping quarters of the lodge we worked at were decrepit, musky, and
damp so we slept huddled in the same bed on cold nights. In August we decided to
hitchhike to California for a trip before I had to return to university.
Here, Ill take a piece of sushi apart so you can see whats in it. You have to eat
something. Look: avocado, rice, sesame seeds, and nori, thats all!
Whats nori?
Winnowing, winding seaweed swirled in the sushi quiet.
It took us more than a week to hitchhike from Lake Louise to Berkeley. We
made it through the Rockies to Victoria and boarded a ferry to Port Angles. We
danced at a Pow Wow on Bainbridge Island. We hitched rides with families, hip-
pies, librarians, and a hunchback. We slept beneath the stars in Oregons sand
dunes. A meteor shower tumbled across the long vista. Eloise zipped our sleeping
bags together into one.
Are you trying to seduce me?I asked.
We both have boyfriends,she said.
I know. I was only kidding.
The stars burned.
The following morning, I wandered ahead of Eloise toward the highway. She
somehow got lost on her way out of the sand dunes. Her face streamed with tears
when she nally found me.
Where were you? Where were you?I offered her water. She icked the bottle
You dont understand the gravity of this situation,she said.
Eloise stopped speaking to me. We hitchhiked south in silence, speaking only to
our rides, never to each other. We slept in the Red Woods in California. Their tow-
ering columns blocked out the night sky. A man called Ed drove us across the
Golden Gate Bridge, toured us around San Francisco and then over to Berkeley in
his shiny-beige Dodge Dart. Ed wore a terrycloth one-piece suit, and guzzled Wild
Spirit Paddle Your Own Canoealcohol as he drove. He promised that his father,
a professor at Berkeley, would let us camp in his backyard. His dad disagreed and
slammed the door on us. We slept in the forest near Peoples Park instead.
I woke up early and decided to go to a shop and buy some juice. Eloise awoke to
nd my sleeping bag empty just as Ed arrived with breakfast. Eloise decided that
Ed must have kidnapped me, and called the police. I returned to our campsite to
nd Eloise missing and the bags gone. I wandered out of the forest into a swarm of
police cars, Ed in the back of the cruiser and Eloise in tears.
Eloise told me I was stupid and then walked away.
I spent the day playing basketball in Peoples Park. I ate lunch with the Hare
Krishnas. After lunch some guy gave me a glass of orange juice laced with LSD.
Eloise found me playing basketball and insisted I join her for dinner. I had hoped
she would nd me.
Maybe Ill just order some noodles.
No. Youll try sushi,she said. My hands wiggled and dgeted. The sushi
breathed. Effervescent sapphires of punctured space shattered the silence and
rested on my eyelids blue.
Punctured space.
You are a loon.
The following winter, Eloise and I worked at a ski resort in Alberta. We lived in
Sunshine Village on the side of a mountain in a room buried beneath the ski run.
Two ferrets made a home in the snow well outside of our window. At night, the
light would spill from our room and illumine the ferrets snow cave. They watched
us and we watched them. Eloise and I drank Tom Collins or cheap wine every
evening and skied every day. I mailed my essays to Toronto and somehow nished
my second year of university.
Eloise reassembled the roll of sushi, dipped it in the wasabi and tamari paste and
popped it into her mouth.
Have you considered the process involved in bringing that combination of
ingredients into your mouth?
I dont think half as much as you do in general. Its a rule of mine,Eloise said.
Her eyes like oceans green. I almost asked her why she had stopped speaking to
me. But I worried that she might get angry again.
After Sunshine Village shut down for the season, Eloise and I hitchhiked to Lake
Louise. We met a warden from Lake Louises ski hill and he let us stay in his chalet
140 S. E. TRUMAN
for a week. His deck overlooked Saddleback, Temple, and other jagged mountains
in Banff National Park. We listened to Joni Mitchell, Pulp, and Brian Eno, smoked
and drew pictures. One day we decided to canoe from Lake Louise to Banff. We
brought a case of beer, no life jackets, and let the current pull us downstream.
Part way through the voyage, we discovered an elks skeleton caught on a rocky
embankment. Eloise suggested we take its skull and tie it to the bow of our canoe.
The elk lead the way as we charged down stream, drunk, blithe, and irreverent in
the aquamarine water.
We pulled over beneath Castle Mountain and waited for the warden to collect
us. Eloise made an altar for the elk on a bolder. I gathered wildowers and scat-
tered them around the skull.
Thank you spirit elk,she said.
I collapsed onto the grass. Eloise lay beside me and held my hand. It burned.
I know youre not hungry now. But you will be. Im leaving the rest for you,
Eloise said. She sipped the sake.
I sipped the sake, my senses are. Eloise watched.
We should probably go to San Francisco tomorrow and gure out how well get
to Toronto,she said.
School started in a week. I didnt want to go back to Toronto. I didnt want to go
back to university. I wanted to wander longer.
The last time I ever saw Eloise, she punched me on the dance oor at her MA
graduation party. The DJ played Soft CellsTainted Love.Eloise followed me
outside, dumped all my schoolbooks onto the road and trampled the ower I had
brought her as a graduation present. She raged down the road and I stood beneath
a streetlamp rubbing my arm where shed hit me.
Just eat the sushi,Eloise said. I gripped the chopsticks in my right hand.
Be delicate. Delicate but rm.
Deftly, I dipped the sushi in the tamari and wasabi mix and brought the chop-
sticks to my lips. The wasabi burned up my nose and down my spine. Eloise
laughed as I quivered in a prism of taste.
Further (to write conclusion might imply that there is one)
Regarding my non-ction research-creation Episodes with Eloise, in light of the
more-than-representational approach I take to writing, Im not going to use this
section to interpret the story and tell you what it means. I will claim that after read-
ing through the text again from my current vantage, for me, the story is as much in
the gaps as the wordsby that I mean the story emerges as much through what is
not said as much as what is said. A story requires both words and space. I can feel
how words, narrative, and the space between words can amplify and dampen affec-
tive experiences instead of merely representing those experiences.
Pedagogically, I believe that these material affects of language should be
highlighted in schooling beyond lessons in rhetoric, persuasion, and exposition.
Accordingly, writing and re-reading this story has made me reconsider the poten-
tial of teaching autobiographical writing in classrooms. The immediacy of writing
about a personal event may serve as a int to ignite writing practice that in turn
experiments with languages more than representational ability to become more
than it never actually was.
Heres the caveat: while providing immediate access to content for students to
begin a writing practice, autobiographical writing in the classroom has the ten-
dency to open what Leggo (2007) calls a Pandoras Boxwherein the realities of
topics such as the death of loved ones, or broken homes, or loneliness are likely to
arise in studentswriting, potentially making both student and teacher uncomfort-
able (p. 31). This tension haunts many of us English teachers who want to allow
students to experiment with autobiographical writing in schools. If succeeding in
school has come to mean achieving specic test results on standardized tests and
autobiographical writing has the potential to materialize Pandoras Boxes of issues
why would we bother teaching it?
I recently nished a research project in a school wherein one task required stu-
dents to reect on and critique something they didnt like about their walks to
school and take it as a starting point for a poem. Issues of sexual harassment, rac-
ism, and bullying that the students encounter arose in the poems. Reading the stu-
dents poems showed me how although these issues were not on the English
curriculumthey are part of the hidden curriculum or public pedagogy those stu-
dents experience each day, and consequently part of the eld of relations or wenqi
they write from (specically in those poems but perhaps also in general). However,
the poems were more than the eld of relations they emerged from. The poems
were not simply representations of unpleasant experiences rendered in poetic
form, but again demonstrated the material potential of a piece of writing for ampli-
fying or dampening experiences of both the writer and reader. This returns us to a
hope of research-creation as an approach to creative practice: it requires us to con-
sider how writing does, rather than only consider what writing means, and requires
us to recognize that that process is ongoing. This is the affective-material function
of creative writing/readingit isntnished.
Sarah E. Truman is a PhD candidate at University of Toronto in a Collaborative Program
of Curriculum Studies (OISE) & Book History and Print Culture (Massey College). She is
the author of Searching for Guan Yin (White Pine Press, 2011) and the co-editor of Peda-
gogical Matters: New Materialisms and Curriculum Studies (Peter Lang, forthcoming).
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... New materialist, posthuman, and inhuman thinking alerted researchers to the unspoken, nonrepresentational aspects of literacy studies and affect (Burnett & Merchant, 2020;Ehret, 2018;Hackett & Somerville, 2017;Kuby, Gutshall Rucker, & Kirchhofer, 2015;Truman, 2016) and helped develop a more nuanced recognition of things that did not necessarily make sense. Yearning to grasp, or at least to begin to be able to account for, the unruly and wild within literacy practices, scholars increasingly have turned to posthumanism and Deleuzian theories, with a sense that the ways in which New Literacy Studies, multiliteracies, and multimodality have defined literacies was not enough (Lenters, 2016), that something was missed (Leander & Boldt, 2013). ...
... We put forth vignettes as "efficient, and potentially poignant ways to articulate affective experiences" (Truman, 2014, p. 89) in our research sites. In keeping with nonrepresentational thought (Thrift, 2007;Vannini, 2015) inspired by affect theory, the vignettes are not intended to be representations of research findings but as more than representational probes for further thought inspired by affective moments (MacLure, 2013;McCormack, 2008;Truman, 2016). We offer four vignettes-a teacher who quit in their first year, a silent child, a poet who refused to write, and crumpled paper in a bin-in conversation with one another, across different countries, time-spaces, and research projects. ...
Full-text available
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... These theorists, who are broadly part of an ontological turn that seeks to decenter the human and the linguistic in the interest of capturing that which is dynamic, extra-discursive, and material in literacy encounters (Leander & Ehret, 2019;Lenters, 2016), argue that socio-critical literacies imagine literacy events as overdetermined by specific anthropocentric progressive social goals, invisibilizing the subtle and unpredictable lines of flight that flow from any literacy experience. Increasingly, work in this field also seeks to highlight and disrupt the narrow and colonial notions of the 'human' (Wynter, 2003) that structure anthropocentric approaches to literacy (Snaza, 2019;Tarc, 2015;Truman, 2016Truman, , 2019. In our own work, building on these important traditions, we have come to understand literacy as an ongoing process of critical emergence, 'where intrahuman politics of race, class, gender, sexuality, and geography shape the conditions of emergence for literacy events that animate subjects and the political relations with which they are entangled' (Snaza, 2019, p. 4). ...
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... I am interested in how we come to know and make the world through language and how narrative, as Bruner (1991) suggests, "operates as an instrument of mind in the construction of reality" (p. 6). These experiments are a form of research creation (Truman, 2016), collectively enacting an argument for the irreverent transgression of scholarly boundaries and discourse, so that may invite the unruly, the irreverent, and the absurd into our future-forming modalities of inquiry. I take up this methodology as a futures-oriented literacy scholar interested in the entangled performativity of writing, imagining, and thinking the future. ...
In this paper I explore the scholarly potential of a narrative futuring methodology for writing-as-becoming within the context of the future imaginary. Through an experimental bricolage of future fiction, theoretical exploration, and personal essay, I attempt to perform a methodology that troubles temporal boundaries and allows me to write my way into the new. I situate this exploratory work within a rich heteroglossia of creative futures and speculative writing that exists both in and outside the academy and informs my narrative futuring praxis. New materialism and post humanism provide the onto-ethico-epistem-ologies for this creative inquiry in which I attempt to entangle myself with rational possibility, absurd potentiality, and poetic virtuality. The future narrative here is neither predictive nor prophetic, but rather is taken up as a mechanism for doing futures-oriented theory; this is a writing-as-reaching into thick assemblages of the not-yet and storying the productive partiality of narrative (non)representation.
... Poststructuralist literary scholars have for decades discussed everything from the author-reader co-creation of meaning, to subject dissolution, to infinite deferral of meaning (e.g., Barthes, Foucault, Derrida); and more recently feminist new materialists have drawn attention to the flesh and materiality of text and how such narration might materially transform readers (Grosz, 2004;Kirby, 1997;Truman, 2016aTruman, , 2016bTruman, , 2019b. In a related fashion, Annihilation draws attention to the materiality of writing and textuality. ...
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Interest in new empiricisms and transdisciplinary methods has led many social inquirers to engage with 20th-century post-classical physical science. Many of these projects have focused on alternative matter–mind mixtures and in/organic variation, concerned that past theories of sociality have dismissed the vibrancy and animacy of the nonhuman material world. This paper explores the power of speculative fiction to help us rethink empiricism in posthuman ecologies of the Anthropocene, in the midst of post-truth conditions and growing science denialism. We foreground speculative fiction as a way to open up scientific imaginaries, rethinking the relationship between nature, technics, and human “sense” making. We show how such texts offer alternative images of research methods for studying pluralist ecologies and new forms of worldly belonging.
... Springgay's research has developed leading research-creation methods, including extensive work with contemporary artists and curators who locate their work in the wider 'pedagogical turn' (Rotas & Springgay 2014;Springgay 2008;2011;2013a;2013b;Truman & Springgay 2015;Zaliwska & Springgay 2015;Springgay 2018), while Truman's research-creation projects have focused on creative writing, intertextualities, and music (Truman 2016a;Truman 2016b;Truman & Shannon, 2018). Together, we have been mobilising researchcreation methods that are accountable to speculative middles and (in)tensions (see Springgay & Truman 2017a). ...
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This article pivots on three public walking research-creation events curated by WalkingLab []. WalkingLab is a queer, feminist collaboration co-directed by Stephanie Springgay and Sarah E. Truman. WalkingLab organises International walking projects and collaborates with artists and scholars to realise a number of site-speci!c walking research-creation events that complicate and rupture the White-cis-hetero-ableist-patriarchal canon of walking scholarship (Springgay & Truman 2018). The three events discussed in the paper disrupt chronological time through queer and trans theories of time, Afrofuturism, and Indigenous futurism and consider time as intensive and inventive. Further, the three walking research-creation events invoke a situated ethics that is accountable to feminist situated knowledges (Haraway 1988), and queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (QTBIPOC) subjectivities and worlds. Our intent is not to analyse the walking events in a traditional interpretive fashion, nor to explicate how audiences experienced the walks, but to consider the ways that these three project enact di"erent (as in non humanist-centric) temporalities. It is our discussions on time as queer, relational, and felt that grounds this paper in ongoing feminist research and the feminist new materialisms. Normative conceptualisations of time are linear, chronological, and tethered to capitalism and progress. Progressive time is equated with humanist notions of freedom, rationality, peace, equality, and prosperity. This progressive time privileges particular versions of humanity, where certain bodies and subjects are always rendered out of time. Elizabeth Freeman (2010) names this normative value of time chrononormativity. Chrononormativity includes a teleological unfolding of events such as birth, marriage, death and also the everyday regulations of watches,
... Research-creation has been well-theorized through visual (e.g., Leduc, 2016;Myers, 2017), performative and gestural (e.g., Manning, 2016a;Springgay, 2011;Springgay & Zaliwska, 2017;Tallbear, 2017), and multimedia, narrative, and textual registers (e.g., Dokumaci, 2018;Loveless, 2019;Truman, 2016aTruman, , 2016b. We have written on research-creation as a method(ology) elsewhere (Truman & Shannon, 2018) and so only briefly summarize it here. ...
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In this article, we take up feminist new materialist thought in relation to our music research-creation practice to problematize the white, en/abled, cis-masculine, and Euro-Western methodological orientation often inherited with sound methods. We think with our music research-creation practice to activate a feminist new materialist politics of approach, unsettling sound studies' inheritances that seek to separate, essentialize, naturalize/neutralize, capture, decontextualize, and represent. We unsettle these inheritances with six propositions: imbricate, stratify, provoke, inject, contextualize, and more-than-represent. These propositions, and this article's uptake of research-creation, hold implications for scholars interested in critically enacting sound studies research as well as qualitative and post qualitative research in general.
This paper reflects on a research-creation project that investigates the ways in which surveillance is experienced by youth as an embodiment that might be difficult to articulate in words but rather expressed affectively, through emotion and social practice. Our argument is that the aesthetic intervention provoked by research-creation can instantiate encounters that capture surveillance as an ineffable experience of everyday life. We situate our methodological claims in a concrete case study that considers youth engagement with a commissioned contemporary art project. Drawing on the writings of child and youth psychoanalyst W.D. Winnicott, we theorize the importance of a facilitating environment to create the conditions for young people to freely and playfully express meanings they make in their encounters with art. Research-creation suggests a perspective of resistance and failure as productive and constitutive of the possibilities of coming to know, both for the research subjects and ultimately for the authors in their orientation to research inquiry.
In this paper, we discuss the design considerations and goals of an interactive digital musical instrument (DMI) for novice pianists. It aims to promote the practice of melodic improvisation by guiding pianists in the selection of notes. The DMI includes two major components: a generative jazz model (software) and an illuminating keyboard controller (hardware). Visual feedback in the form of illuminated keyboard controller keys guides notes selection. Illuminated keys correspond to scale degrees that comply with a harmonic structure generated on-the-fly. The generative nature of the engine allows high degrees of novelty while guaranteeing a structurally-coherent harmonic structure anchored in the blues/jazz idiom. Preliminary experimental results inform critical directions for future design iterations of the proposed system.
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New materialist approaches to educational research require us to rethink cultural productions—whether artistic, linguistic, or philosophical—as material rather than representational practices. In this chapter I discuss a multiparticipant and multimedial art and philosophy project titled Intratextual Entanglements. Although philosophy is historically viewed as a linguistic and discursive discipline, the project began with two propositions: to explore the felt materiality of the various intra-acting elements in the project (including theories, concepts, people, texts, and artwork) and to explore the emergent pedagogy of collaborative reading and writing practices, that is, the generative nature of (philosophical) texts.
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A provocative book, an important book! jagodzinski's and Wallin's 'betrayal' is in fact a wake-up call for art-based research, a loving critique of its directions. jagodzinski's and Wallin's reference is the question 'what art can do' - not what it means. Theirs is an ultimate affirmation that uncovers the singularities that compose and give consistency to art not as an object, but as an event. Their betrayal consists in an affirmation of life and becoming, positing a performative 'machinics of the arts' which is in absolute contraposition with the hegemonic discourse of art and|as an object of knowledge and representation. This does not only concern academia, but also politics and ethics - an untimely book that comes just at the right time! Bernd Herzogenrath, Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main (Germany), author of An American Body|Politic. A Deleuzian Approach, and editor of Deleuze & Ecology and Travels in Intermedia[lity]. ReBlurring the Boundaries. Approaching the creative impulse in the arts from the philosophical perspectives of Deleuze + Guattari, jagodzinski and Wallin make a compelling argument for blurring the boundaries of arts-based research in the field of art education. The authors contend that the radical ideas of leading scholars in the field are not radical enough due to their reliance on existing research ontologies and those that end in epistemological representations. In contrast, they propose arts-based research as the event of ontological immanence, an incipient, machinic process of becoming-research through arts practice that enables seeing and thinking in irreducible ways while resisting normalization and subsumption under existing modes of address. As such, arts practice, as research-in-the making, constitutes a betrayal of prevailing cultural assumptions, according to the authors, an interminable renouncement of normalized research representations in favor of the contingent problematic that emerges during arts practice. Charles R. Garoian, Professor of Art Education, Penn State University, author of The Prosthetic Pedagogy of Art. Jagodzinski and Wallin have written a challenging book on the theme of betrayal which aims to question the metaphysical ground of the practice of many arts educators and researchers. Dismantling the notion of praxis which assumes a prior will as well as the pervasive notion of the creative and reflexive individual, they revisit the notion of poiesis and the truth of appearing in order to advocate the centrality of becoming in pedagogical relations. Is it possible to develop pedagogies beyond those images of thought that attenuate learners, teachers and researchers? We need a new image of thought, or better, a thought without image, and this book asks us to take up the challenge. Dennis Atkinson, Director of the Centre for the Arts and Learning, Department of Educational Studies, Goldsmiths University of London, author of Art Equality and Learning; Pedagogies Against the State.
This article focuses on recent artistic practice in relation to the notion of media ecology, and the relations between natural ecology and media. What this article addresses is the project of media ecology as a practice of theory and the topological continuity from nature to media. Through practical probings, the project exposes a different take on media that renegotiates the cultural underpinnings of media theory and expands it towards regimes of perception, motility and circulation of non-human speeds and spatialities. In other words, I want to expand on the notion of medium through taking into account such ecological underpinnings that can be seen as prisms through which to understand non-human energies
The Pedagogical Impulse (TPI) was a 3-year research-creation project that initiated a series of artist-residencies across a variety of educational sites in Toronto, Canada. In this chapter we examine the primacy of movement as a proposition of research-creation through a ‘case study’ of one of TPI’s artist-residencies in a secondary school and argue that movement is germane to emerging post-humanist explorations within educational research, and a crucial component for re-imagining research-creation methodologies.
“Every practice is a mode of thought, already in the act. To dance: a thinking in movement. To paint: a thinking through color. To perceive in the everyday: a thinking of the world's varied ways of affording itself.” —fromThought in the Act Combining philosophy and aesthetics, Thought in the Actis a unique exploration of creative practice as a form of thinking. Challenging the common opposition between the conceptual and the aesthetic, Erin Manning and Brian Massumi “think through” a wide range of creative practices in the process of their making, revealing how thinking and artfulness are intimately, creatively, and inseparably intertwined. They rediscover this intertwining at the heart of everyday perception and investigate its potential for new forms of activism at the crossroads of politics and art. Emerging from active collaborations, the book analyzes the experiential work of the architects and conceptual artists Arakawa and Gins, the improvisational choreographic techniques of William Forsythe, the recent painting practice of Bracha Ettinger, as well as autistic writers’ self-descriptions of their perceptual world and the experimental event making of the SenseLab collective. Drawing from the idiosyncratic vocabularies of each creative practice, and building on the vocabulary of process philosophy, the book reactivates rather than merely describes the artistic processes it examines. The result is a thinking-with and a writing-in-collaboration-with these processes and a demonstration of how philosophy co-composes with the act in the making.Thought in the Actenacts a collaborative mode of thinking in the act at the intersection of art, philosophy, and politics. © 2014 by the Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
In this unruly geography there is always time: time to take a detour and leave the shortcut behind.
The article imagines a materially informed post-qualitative research. Focusing upon issues of language and representation, under the influence of Deleuze’s Logic of Sense, it argues for research practices capable of engaging the materiality of language itself. It proposes the development of non- or post-representational research practices, drawing on contemporary materialist work that rejects the static, hierarchical logic of representation, and practices such as interpretation and analysis as conventionally understood. The article explores the ontological and the practical implications of this state of affairs, via a re-reading of a fragment of what would have been called data. Offering relief from the ressentiment and piety that have characterised qualitative methodologists’ engagements with scientific method, the ‘post’ could therefore be read as signalling the demise of qualitative research. Or at least, as inaugurating a qualitative research that would be unrepresentable to itself.