Dr Anita Ponton

Anita Ponton, "Doublespeak", "inventing methodologies2" (2007), Goldsmiths.


I am proposing a performative presentation. The presentation will be in part recorded, with a dialogue being set up between myself and my onscreen, video double. I speak as a recently graduated candidate and offer up a reflection upon my experience of developing a methodology for my project. Throughout my thesis, I endeavoured to ‘write through’ my practice, sometimes anecdotally and sometimes intuitively, with the aim of evolving a dialogue between my practice and theoretical concerns.
My position is that for practice based research, one’s methodology must, by necessity, be personal and subjective. It cannot be prescribed by an institution or an academic body. That is not to say that the thesis cannot be judged in terms of academic rigor, rather that the voice of the artist is different to the voice of the academic and for practice to be truly understood as contributing to theory it is essential to allow contradiction, anomaly and paradox to be integral to the thesis. The space for question and interpretation is vital and definitive answers or solutions are at odds with artistic practice. This can be a problem when attempting to meet the academic demands of what is acceptable as a rigorous and strong thesis. How can we, as artist/researchers navigate this issue?
The language of art and the language of writing are not opposed however. Rather, it is my understanding that they occupy parallel positions, simultaneously, as opposed to being different sides to a finite thing. When they coincide or collide it can produce tension and this tension is, I contest, a most productive ‘place’ in which evolve a substantial dialogue between art practice and academic research.