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31 JULY 2012

Michael Polanyi and tacit knowledge

"Central to Michael Polanyi's thinking was the belief that creative acts (especially acts of discovery) are shot–through or charged with strong personal feelings and commitments (hence the title of his most famous work Personal Knowledge). Arguing against the then dominant position that science was somehow value–free, Michael Polanyi sought to bring into creative tension a concern with reasoned and critical interrogation with other, more 'tacit', forms of knowing.

Polanyi's argument was that the informed guesses, hunches and imaginings that are part of exploratory acts are motivated by what he describes as 'passions'. They might well be aimed at discovering 'truth', but they are not necessarily in a form that can be stated in propositional or formal terms. As Michael Polanyi (1967: 4) wrote in The Tacit Dimension, we should start from the fact that 'we can know more than we can tell'. He termed this pre–logical phase of knowing as 'tacit knowledge'. Tacit knowledge comprises a range of conceptual and sensory information and images that can be brought to bear in an attempt to make sense of something (see Hodgkin 1991). Many bits of tacit knowledge can be brought together to help form a new model or theory. This inevitably led him to explore connoisseurship and the process of discovery (rather than with the validation or refutation of theories and models – in contrast with Popper, for example)."

(Mark K. Smith 2003, infed.org)

Smith, M. K. (2003) 'Michael Polanyi and tacit knowledge', the encyclopedia of informal education, www.infed.org/thinkers/polanyi.htm.

Hodgkin, R. (1991) 'Michael Polanyi – Prophet of life, the universe and everything' Times Higher Educational Supplement, September 27, page 15.

Polanyi, Michael (1967) The Tacit Dimension, New York: Anchor Books. (108 + xi pages). Based on the 1962 Terry lectures (Yale) this book provides an overview of tacit knowledge. He looks at tacit knowing, emergence and the significance of a society of explorers.

TAGS

acts of discovery • connoisseurship • creative acts • critical analysisdiscovery process • exploratory acts • formal logic • hunchesimaginingsinductive reasoning • infed.org • informed guess • Karl Popperlogical-analytical paradigm • Mark Smith • Michael Polanyiobjectivity • passions • personal commitments • personal feelings • Personal Knowledge (book) • pre-logical phase of knowing • propositional logic • reasoned interrogation • reasoning • refutation • Robin Hodgkin • sensemakingtacit • tacit forms of knowing • tacit knowledge • The Tacit Dimension (book) • theories and models • theory building • theory validation • truth • value-free science • we can know more than we can te

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
24 FEBRUARY 2012

Contents of John Peel's Record Collection to be Made Public

"One of the most revered record collections in the world – that of music legend John Peel – is to be made into an interactive online museum for the public, as part of The Space – a new experimental digital service organised and funded by the Arts Council and the BBC. ...

'It is the first step in creating an interactive online museum with access to the entire collection, which is one of the most important archives in modern music history.' (Tom Barker, Director, John Peel Centre for Creative Arts)

'The idea is to digitally recreate John's home studio and record collection, which users will be able to interact with and contribute to, whilst viewing Peel's personal notes, archive performances and new filmed interviews with musicians.' (Frank Prendergast–Eye Film and Television's Creative Director)

Sheila Ravenscroft, John Peel's wife and Patron of the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts said: 'We're very happy that we've finally found a way to make John's amazing collection available to his fans, as he would have wanted. This project is only the beginning of something very exciting'."

(The John Peel Centre for Creative Arts, 23 February 2012)

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7 inch vinyl • archivesArts Council (UK)BBCCDcollectionconnoisseurshipcreative artscritical perspectivecultural expression • digital service • disc jockeyDJ • experimental digital service • Eye Film and Television • fans • filmed interviews • home studio • indie rockindie scene • interactive online museum • interactive presentationJohn PeelLPmusic • music collection • music historymusic singles • online museum • record • record collection • recreationretrospective • Sheila Ravenscroft • simulation • technological solutions • television project • The John Peel Centre for Creative Arts • The Space (service)UKvinyl recordvirtual museum

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
22 FEBRUARY 2012

Towards a critical discourse of practice as research

"A problem confronting many artistic researchers is related to the need for the artist to write about his or her own work in the research report or exegesis, The outcomes of such research are not easily quantifiable and it can be difficult to articulate objectively, methods processes, and conclusions that emerge from an alternative logic of practice and the intrinsically subjective dimension of artistic production. Moreover, conventional approaches and models of writing about art generally fall within the domain of criticism, a discourse that tends to focus on connoisieurial evaluation of the finished product. How then, might the artist as researcher avoid on one hand, what has been referred to as 'auto–connoisseurship', the undertaking of a thinly veiled labour of valorising what has been achieved in the creative work, or alternatively producing a research report that is mere description (Nelson 2004)?

In this paper, I suggest that a way of overcoming such a dilemma is for creative arts researchers to shift the critical focus away from the notion of the work as product, to an understanding of both studio enquiry and its outcomes as process. I will draw on Michel Foucault's essay 'What is An Author ' (Rabinow, 1991) to explore how we might move away from art criticism to the notion of a critical discourse of practice–led enquiry that involves viewing the artist as a researcher, and the artist/critic as a scholar who examines the value of artistic process as the production of knowledge. As I will demonstrate, in adopting such an approach, practitioner researchers need not ignore or negate the specificities and particularities of practice – including its subjective and emergent methodologies which I have argued elsewhere, constitute the generative strength that distinguishes artistic research from more traditional approaches Barrett, 2005). In elaborating the relationship between a these aspects and the more distanced focus made available through Foucault's elaboration of author function, I will draw on Donna Haraway's (1991, 1992) notion of 'situated knowledge' and her critique of social constructivism which reveals how the scientific method is implicated in social constructivist accounts of knowledge. It is this alignment, suggests Haraway,that results in the effacement of particularities of experience from which situated knowledges emerge. In order to ground and illustrate the arguments and ideas presented in this paper, I will also refer to Pablo Picasso's, Demioselles d''Avignon and a selection of critical commentaries on this work by Leo Steinberg (1988), William Rubin (1994) and Lisa Florman (2003)."

(Estelle Barrett, 2006)

Barrett, E. (2006) "Foucault's 'What is an Author': towards a critical discourse of practice as research". Working Papers in Art and Design Vol 4 Retrieved from URL http://sitem.herts.ac.uk/artdes_research/papers/wpades/vol4/ebfull.html ISSN 1466–4917

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2006academic writingart criticismartist • artist as researcher • artist as scholar • artistic processartistic research • auto-connoisseurship • connoisseur • connoisseurshipcontribution to knowledge • creative arts researchers • creative problem solvingcreative work • critic as scholar • design processDonna Haraway • emergent methodologies • established research strategiesEstelle Barrettexegesis • finished product • Leo Steinberg • Lisa Florman • Michel FoucaultPablo Picassopractitioner researcherproblem solving researchproduction of knowledge • research report • scientific methodsituated knowledgessocial constructivismstudio enquiry • subjective methodologies • traditional research • What is An Author • William Rubin • Working Papers in Art and Design • writing about creative work

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
12 MAY 2011

John Berger: Ways of Seeing

"Published in 1972 and based on a BBC television programme of the same name, this is a very influential text on art criticism. Although the book and programme make the same case, they do so in slightly different ways, and the programme is well worth watching. For the photographer, the book has the advantage of putting photography in the context of western art. For the student new to critical theory, it has the advantage of being produced for a mass audience, and has as a central aim the de–mystification of art. These two points make it relatively easy to understand. A further advantage this book has is that many students have not had the opportunity to study photography, but have studied art, and so the book presents a logical progression for them when they start to study photography.

The television programme is divided into four sections and although the book is divided into seven chapters (three being made up solely of images), the book also covers four areas."

(John Berger, 1990)

John Berger (1990). 'Ways of Seeing: Based on the BBC Television Series', Penguin

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1972academic discourse • advertising photography • artart criticismauthorshipBBC • buying power • commercialisationconnoisseurshipconsumerism • demystifying • John Bergermass audiencemeaningmechanical reproduction • modern consumerist society • nude in western artobjectification of women • objectified women • oil painting • photographic reproduction • photographypictorial reproduction • power of money • publicity • realismrepresentationseeingsocial constructionismspectacletelevision documentarytelevision programmetraditionvisual culturevisual depictionvisual languagevisual literacyvisual representational strategiesWays of Seeingwestern art • what we know

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 JUNE 2006

Barthes: Death Of The Author

"The author is a modern figure, produced no doubt by our society insofar as, at the end of the middle ages, with English empiricism, French rationalism and the personal faith of the Reformation, it discovered the prestige of the individual, or, to put it more nobly, of the 'human person' Hence it is logical that with regard to literature it should be positivism, resume and the result of capitalist ideology, which has accorded the greatest importance to the author's 'person'."

(Roland Barthes 1993)

Barthes, Roland (1993) "Image Music Text", Fontana Press.

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1967Aspen (magazine)auteur theoryauthenticityauthorshipBertolt Brecht • Blaise Cendrars • capitalist ideologyCharles Baudelairecitation • classical criticism • collective writing • connoisseurshipcontestationcult of the authordeath of the author • decipher • empiricismgeniusGustave FlaubertHonore de Balzac • Image-Music-Text • individualinterpretationlanguageliterary criticismliteratureMarcel Proust • mediator • Modern • multiple writings • multiplicitiesparody • Paul Claudel • Paul ValeryProtestant Reformation • rationalism • readingRoland Barthesromantic • scriptor • shaman • Stephane Mallarme • subtilisationsurrealism • Thomas De Quincey • utterancesvoices
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