The Art of Unknowing – The joy of amateur practice as a space for emancipation from the constraints of academic discipline.

LEVICK-PARKIN, Melanie and CARROLL, Katy (2015). The Art of Unknowing – The joy of amateur practice as a space for emancipation from the constraints of academic discipline. In: Material Culture in Action: Practices of making, collecting and re-enacting Art and Design, Glasgow School of Art, 7-8th September 2015. (Unpublished)

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Being immersed in the Art School for the most part of your professional life is a privileged position to find oneself in. But what if this immersion also presents a certain entrapment in the connoisseurship and knowledge that you have acquired, embodied, and are passing on. This paper is about the creative liberation of two female visual communication academics, through the pursuit of amateur practices in un-professional curatorship of personal obsessions. The first of these practices is a long-standing obsession with Marcel Duchamp, which has been enacted in the unofficial spaces and places of true fandom, where obsessions are lived out and ideas of being a neutral historian no longer need to be adhered to. The practice that has emerged is one based on leisure, travel and appropriation through collecting, recording and archiving. The importance of the process far outweighs any potential outcome or the production of any individual artefacts, as it is these alternative ways of experiencing, thinking about and documenting Marcel Duchamp that are the ultimate centre and purpose of this practice, - a kind of Duchamp Tourism. The second amateur practice could be considered to have made a similar journey of engagement only in reverse. The experience of childhood holidays on the island of Crete started a lifelong obsession with the collection of touristic artefacts and an immersion in its visual and historic heritage. An added dimension of ‘living out’ being the amateur, in as far as whilst loving a foreign place you still always remain ‘un-official’ – an outsider. This paper is an opportunity to discuss not only the freedom that is inherent in the enactment of amateur practices, but also the struggle to remain within the joy of the process rather than arriving at a destination. How can we preserve the freedom of ‘unknowing’ at the same time as the agency of the objects and experiences collected keeps on ‘acting back’ (Ingold 2009); beckoning to be solidified out of the aesthetic experience of the ‘making’ to new, but potentially dead-end, forms?

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Depositing User: Melanie Levick-Parkin
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2016 13:10
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 15:47

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