Through Phenomena Themselves

Through Phenomena Themselves Exploring new possibilities of mutual transformation between artistic and phenomenological research practices


This research cell proposes an inquiry into research practices developed in two fields—artistic
research and phenomenology—that operate with and through phenomena as their object of
research or as the primary medium of exposure to and/or of their object of research. Accordingly
this cell is to be understood as a network of practice-based research processes on phenomenabased
and/or phenomena-oriented research practices. The main focus of this research cell is to
explore new possibilities of mutual enhancement, refinement and hybridization between specific
artistic and phenomenological research practices. Although the research goals might be
divergent, both evolving fields of practice share a common base: an interest in the generative
nature of our existence, alongside the mobilization of embodied subjectivity in first-personperspective processes of inquiry whose primary objects are emergent, co-constituted, intuitive, evident presences—that is, phenomena.
Shared reflection based on processes of artistic and phenomenological research and the
artifacts they produce as well as texts and dialogues in different formats and constellations, will
aim to bridge the gaps and mutual misapprehensions that hinder tapping the full potential for the
further development of both fields of research. Specifically, interpretations and uses of
phenomenological theories by artist researchers can diverge, sometimes fundamentally, from
the understanding of these theories in the phenomenological context, focusing on a restricted
concept of phenomenology as a set of theories, whilst ignoring that phenomenology is, first of
all, a method of research. In parallel, the distance of phenomenologists to artistic practices can
result in their reluctance to acknowledge such practices as research.
The aim of this research cell is not to defend phenomenology but to investigate unexplored
possibilities by exposing phenomenological concepts and practices and practices of artistic
research to one another. In this open-ended investigation, critical views elaborated in the
framework of process philosophy, poststructuralism, feminism, new materialism and speculative
realism will also be addressed.
Cell’s participants (provisory list. State: November 2018): Emmanuel Alloa, Alex Arteaga, Emma
Cocker, Alexander Damianisch, Nikolaus Gansterer, Saara Hannula, Esa Kirkkopelto, Tuomas
Leitinen, Leena Rouhiainen, Jaakko Ruuska and Tülay Schakir.
This research cell is conceived and coordinated by Alex Arteaga in cooperation with Emma
Cocker, Leena Rouhiainen and Alexander Damianisch and produced as a collaboration of the
University of Applied Arts Vienna and the University of the Arts Helsinki.