Drawing instruments, or: how to calibrate an artist?

In the academic year 2016/2017, I collaborated in the interdisciplinary research studio ‘Institute of Calibration’ led by Dear Hunter, a duo of architects (Marlies Vermeulen and Remy Kroese) working in the Euregion as cartopologists and initiated and hosted by the Research Centre for Arts, Autonomy and the Public Sphere of Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in Maastricht. A research studio is an interdisciplinary course in which art students and teachers collaboratively work on a shared issue. 

In this research studio, we worked on what it means to organise your own artistic research practice. Sidestepping the fundamental debate about whether art can be research, we focused on artistic research practice. What do artistic researchers actually do? And how can we talk about their work in a productive way? I took part in this project as ethnographer - participating and observing the research studio, drawing, writing, and thinking along.

To gain a perspective on this, we used the metaphor of the historical research instrument. This focus helps us to ask specific questions: How is an artist-as-instrument made sensitive? What kinds of embodied, aesthetic, intimate, sensory ways of knowing are developed? How does the artist-as-instrument become attuned or calibrated? What does it probe and find out? How can we know whether it is working well? What kind of standards emerge along the way The project focused particularly on drawing: The artist-as-instrument that draws, but also the drawing of the artist-as-instrument as a way of reflecting on and honing artistic research practices.
More info?

• Read my article Drawing Instruments drawing instruments: Tekenen als methode voor reflectie (in Dutch)
• Have a look at the artist’s book we made

The project resulted in an exhibition, symposium, artist’s book, and peer-reviewed article.

It was financially supported by Zuyd Innoveert.