In 2010/11, a group of Vienna-based art practitioners (artists, art historians, and cultural theorists) embarked on a journey of experimental research, exploring the genealogical and political implications of the ways in which research rhetorics and policies are currently incorporated into the fields of contemporary art and art education. Troubling Research: Performing Knowledge in the Arts, a collection of “books” of essays and conversations, is the quirky and exhilarating outcome of this collaborative endeavor to render a “problematization” by interrogating the very conditions of the current upsurge of the art/research articulation.
Michel Foucault once introduced problematization as a “specific work of thought” that transforms “a group of obstacles and difficulties into problems to which diverse solutions will attempt to produce a response.” For this project, the obstacles and difficulties in question were the terms “art” and “research” and their peculiar conjunction as “artistic” or “arts-based research.” As a result of this process, the understanding of individual artistic/theoretical practices was tested. Working both independently and as a collaborative entity, the group found itself negotiating and contesting each participant's claim to knowledge in the context of art. The eventual responses to the problem of research proved to be both performative and troubling.