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Issue 1

Sites of Research

April 2017

This issue addresses the spaces and places, fields and edges of practice based and artistic research. Rather than treating the site of research as a pre-existing entity to be merely represented after observation, participation or data collection, the contributors to this issue are concerned with the generative possibilities of a wide variety of sites and their potential to enact borders, sustain or subvert existing practices, prompt new categories, or stimulate uncharted feelings within or between disciplines. Bringing together moving image works, sound-based projects, research papers, visual and textual interventions, this publication assembles a set of provocations about the conceptual and practical stakes of making site matter through research.


A response to the cartographic practice of chorèmes, Sohin Hwang’s cover page is a bibliographic research centered on subjective mapping. Doubling as the entrance into a website tracing her personal exploration of the chorème, this cognitive work seeks to establish an alternative relationship between acts of research and their publication sites.

Cover – Bibliography(chorème)=

Sohin Hwang with Pablo de Roulet

An introduction to this publication's sites of research, written by Jessyca Hutchens, Anita Paz, Naomi Vogt and Nina Wakeford.

Introduction - Site Visits

Jessyca Hutchens, Anita Paz, Naomi Vogt, Nina Wakeford

Exploring an (ex)council estate in East London, Patrick Goddard’s Looking for the Ocean Estate is an alternative documentary/mockumentary that spirals off from an aural history project to question the ethnographic assumptions of the filmmaker, weaving together thoughts on gentrification, class antagonism, and the enigmatic notion of authenticity.

Looking for the Ocean Estate

Patrick Goddard

Joey Bryniarska and Martin Westwood seek infrathin divisions to relate different fields of research and artistic practice. Oscillating between stratigraphy and peripherality, they propose the residue and noise of a cross-disciplinary encounter: a gothic cathedral, a contaminated spoil heap, and a decapitation are sketched as sites of research.


Joey Bryniarska & Martin Westwood

How does one engage with predominant knowledge systems when the blind spots of archival sources are rendered invisible? Exploring the French National Archives within their urban and suburban surrounding in Saint-Denis, Avner Ofrath’s text reflects on ways to re-contextualise the archive.

On Leaving the Archive

Avner Ofrath

This experimental and interactive account addresses Lads of Aran: a work that touches on performances of masculinity, performance writing, and the democratisation of forms and sources of information. Focusing on methodologies of parataxis and bricolage, Claire Potter further questions the academy’s ability to receive performance writing.

How does it feel when you put it on?

Claire Potter

Introducing Oxford University’s Immigration Detention Archive, Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll and Mary Bosworth discuss belonging, exile and citizenship in detention centres. Through the art rooms of these deeply contested sites, they address the growing body of artistic responses to border control and challenges faced by incarceration scholarship.

Art and Criminology of the Border: The Making of the Immigration Detention Archive

Mary Bosworth and Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll

Peter Bo Rappmund’s film serves as an ontological portrait of the U.S.-Mexico boundary, working as both a physical and metaphysical exploration of of this demarcation. Deconstructing the socio-psychological image of the border in American society, it exposes that, although anyone can have a view of the frontier, its reality remains unseen.


Peter Bo Rappmund

In producing an essay constructed from field recordings, found audio material, and personal reflections on travelling in and around the United States, Europe and the Middle East, Steph Kretowicz interrogates the role of her identity in their interpretation, and the privileges implied in this practice.

The Lives of Other People: The ‘I’ in Interpreting the Places I’ve (Never) Been

Steph Kretowicz

Written in the context of a sensibility research department and artist residency operating in a Beijing actuator manufacturing plant, Zandie Brockett and Alessandro Rolandi’s paper presents a lexical toolkit, providing a new language towards understanding the mechanisms guiding the poetic suspension and subtle transformation of employee habits.

A Lexicon for Open Fields of Exchange: On the Language and Dynamics of Researching Towards a Social Sensibility

Zandie Brockett with Alessandro Rolandi

An Intervention into OAR’s Issue 1 on Sites of Research: Website Background by Daniel Lichtman.

The blue in the flame is bright because it’s hot

Daniel Lichtman

Amalia Ulman recently achieved international fame for her elaborate Instagram scenarios, which attracted massive and often credulous audiences. Giulia Smith’s article suggests that the artist’s performances are as site-specific to online circuits as they are rooted in the mythologies surrounding Los Angeles and its versions of the American dream.

Smoke and Mirrors: Amalia Ulman’s Instagram

Giulia Smith

In taking two compositing techniques and giving them a presence on a 2D set in the form of nettings, whose behavior makes a convincing composite absurd, Robert Rapoport’s video questions the poetics of performing with or against these processes, asking how might behavior under such conditions be a microcosm of larger epistemological questions.

Deep Compositing: Performance, Augmentation and Voids

Robert Rapoport

This article addresses the ability of site specific performance to contribute to Australian cultural politics. Campbell Drake’s project, in collaboration with the Culpra Milli Aboriginal Corporation, used salvaged pianos – a colonial instrument – to question the negotiation and the re-appropriation of iconic and contested Aboriginal sites.

Instrumental: Performance and the Cumulative Potential of Distributed Sites

Campbell Drake

In her essay, Farniyaz Zaker suggests the expansion of the definition of dwelling from architecture to the wider sphere of art. Conceptualising certain artworks as dwelling spaces, she argues that, like familiar places, such works can transform the way one inhabits, remembers and thinks in the world.

jenseits: Place, Dwelling, and Art Practice

Farniyaz Zaker

Caitlin Yardley’s work is an encounter with the surface of her site of research: Alvar Aalto’s Maison Louis Carré. Working with video as a methodology, visual and audio material evidences the moment of physical exclusion from content, visualising the initial resistance of research to reveal itself at the point of encounter.

The Surface as Site: Exterior A

Caitlin Yardley

Addressing bio-art, Vid Simoniti explores relations between artistic research and other disciplines. Outlining ‘the problem of absorption’, he claims that, in attempting to incorporate methods of bioengineering, bio-art does not secure critical distance, but assimilates back into another field. How do bio-artists negotiate this problem?

Artistic Research at the Edge of Science

Vid Simoniti

This is a site of indiscipline by Malcolm Bull.

This Is the Site of Indiscipline

Malcolm Bull

This film was made during the firing of an Anagama Kiln in Wytham Woods, Oxford. Fritha Jenkins initially approached the site not knowing where the experience might lead, with an interest in the handling of materials and the performative qualities within and around the kiln. The work reveals the finding of a gendered site.

Here you go (handlings)

Fritha Jenkins

Through the case of an art exhibition, Mischa Twitchin reflects on transpositions between the time and place of a site visit, and those of its virtual revisits through film and text. How might traditional ethnographic claims for knowledge based on ‘seeing for oneself’ problematise any attempt at an exploration through different media?

Sites of Research, or ‘No Layers of the Onion’: Phantom Europe

Mischa Twitchin

Following John Moriarty, Connell Vaughan considers the anthem a dynamic ‘site of research’ as opposed to a static symbol, arguing that a challenge of our time is to consider and rework the collective singing of anthems. The site of the anthem is not a routine occasion to be ritually performed, but an everyday concern to be reworked and re-sung.

Antiphonal Republic

Connell Vaughan

Robin Bale’s work is an occult audio travelogue that utilises spoken word, field recordings, and composed music in response to a site: a wooded piece of ‘waste ground’ and unofficial rubbish dump in East London. Delay, or echo, is central to the piece, both as literal audio effect and poetic trope; it interrupts itself.

Here We Are Again

Robin Bale

Tamarin Norwood’s text examines a line, drawn from paper to mouth. Connections are made between gaps in the line and notional gaps introduced as it moved from one site to another: from writing to drawing, from private to public. The line is considered within and outside a Heideggerian framework of metaphysical separation between words and things.

The Gaps in the Line: A Study of Drawing Between Word and Thing

Tamarin Norwood

Call for Responses to Issue 1