Definition of Globalization?

Globalization in lower case = a person born in Somalia, speaking Somali, English and Finnish, selling shoes in Minneapolis.


Art, Truth & Politics

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Harold Pinter:
Art, Truth & Politics, Nobel Lecture, December 7, 2005

In 1958 I wrote the following:
‘There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.’
I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?
Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it but the search for it is compulsive. The search is clearly what drives the endeavour. The search is your task. More often than not you stumble upon the truth in the dark, colliding with it or just glimpsing an image or a shape which seems to correspond to the truth, often without realising that you have done so. But the real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost.
I have often been asked how my plays come about. I cannot say. Nor can I ever sum up my plays, except to say that this is what happened. That is what they said. That is what they did.
Most of the plays are engendered by a line, a word or an image. The given word is often shortly followed by the image. I shall give two examples of two lines which came right out of the blue into my head, followed by an image, followed by me.
The plays are The Homecoming and Old Times. The first line of The Homecoming is ‘What have you done with the scissors?’ The first line of Old Times is ‘Dark.’
In each case I had no further information.
In the first case someone was obviously looking for a pair of scissors and was demanding their whereabouts of someone else he suspected had probably stolen them. But I somehow knew that the person addressed didn’t give a damn about the scissors or about the questioner either, for that matter.
‘Dark’ I took to be a description of someone’s hair, the hair of a woman, and was the answer to a question. In each case I found myself compelled to pursue the matter. This happened visually, a very slow fade, through shadow into light.
I always start a play by calling the characters A, B and C.

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In the play that became The Homecoming I saw a man enter a stark room and ask his question of a younger man sitting on an ugly sofa reading a racing paper. I somehow suspected that A was a father and that B was his son, but I had no proof. This was however confirmed a short time later when B (later to become Lenny) says to A (later to become Max), ‘Dad, do you mind if I change the subject? I want to ask you something. The dinner we had before, what was the name of it? What do you call it? Why don’t you buy a dog? You’re a dog cook. Honest. You think you’re cooking for a lot of dogs.’ So since B calls A ‘Dad’ it seemed to me reasonable to assume that they were father and son. A was also clearly the cook and his cooking did not seem to be held in high regard. Did this mean that there was no mother? I didn’t know. But, as I told myself at the time, our beginnings never know our ends.
‘Dark.’ A large window. Evening sky. A man, A (later to become Deeley), and a woman, B (later to become Kate), sitting with drinks. ‘Fat or thin?’ the man asks. Who are they talking about? But I then see, standing at the window, a woman, C (later to become Anna), in another condition of light, her back to them, her hair dark.
It’s a strange moment, the moment of creating characters who up to that moment have had no existence. What follows is fitful, uncertain, even hallucinatory, although sometimes it can be an unstoppable avalanche. The author’s position is an odd one. In a sense he is not welcomed by the characters. The characters resist him, they are not easy to live with, they are impossible to define. You certainly can’t dictate to them. To a certain extent you play a never-ending game with them, cat and mouse, blind man’s buff, hide and seek. But finally you find that you have people of flesh and blood on your hands, people with will and an individual sensibility of their own, made out of component parts you are unable to change, manipulate or distort.
So language in art remains a highly ambiguous transaction, a quicksand, a trampoline, a frozen pool which might give way under you, the author, at any time.
But as I have said, the search for the truth can never stop. It cannot be adjourned, it cannot be postponed. It has to be faced, right there, on the spot.
Political theatre presents an entirely different set of problems. Sermonising has to be avoided at all cost. Objectivity is essential. The characters must be allowed to breathe their own air. The author cannot confine and constrict them to satisfy his own taste or disposition or prejudice. He must be prepared to approach them from a variety of angles, from a full and uninhibited range of perspectives, take them by surprise, perhaps, occasionally, but nevertheless give them the freedom to go which way they will. This does not always work. And political satire, of course, adheres to none of these precepts, in fact does precisely the opposite, which is its proper function.

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In my play The Birthday Party I think I allow a whole range of options to operate in a dense forest of possibility before finally focussing on an act of subjugation.
Mountain Language pretends to no such range of operation. It remains brutal, short and ugly. But the soldiers in the play do get some fun out of it. One sometimes forgets that torturers become easily bored. They need a bit of a laugh to keep their spirits up. This has been confirmed of course by the events at Abu Ghraib in Baghdad. Mountain Language lasts only 20 minutes, but it could go on for hour after hour, on and on and on, the same pattern repeated over and over again, on and on, hour after hour.
Ashes to Ashes, on the other hand, seems to me to be taking place under water. A drowning woman, her hand reaching up through the waves, dropping down out of sight, reaching for others, but finding nobody there, either above or under the water, finding only shadows, reflections, floating; the woman a lost figure in a drowning landscape, a woman unable to escape the doom that seemed to belong only to others.
But as they died, she must die too.
Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.
As every single person here knows, the justification for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein possessed a highly dangerous body of weapons of mass destruction, some of which could be fired in 45 minutes, bringing about appalling devastation. We were assured that was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq had a relationship with Al Quaeda and shared responsibility for the atrocity in New York of September 11th 2001. We were assured that this was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq threatened the security of the world. We were assured it was true. It was not true.
The truth is something entirely different. The truth is to do with how the United States understands its role in the world and how it chooses to embody it.
But before I come back to the present I would like to look at the recent past, by which I mean United States foreign policy since the end of the Second World War. I believe it is obligatory upon us to subject this period to at least some kind of even limited scrutiny, which is all that time will allow here.
Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period: the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the

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ruthless suppression of independent thought. All this has been fully documented and verified.
But my contention here is that the US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all. I believe this must be addressed and that the truth has considerable bearing on where the world stands now. Although constrained, to a certain extent, by the existence of the Soviet Union, the United States’ actions throughout the world made it clear that it had concluded it had carte blanche to do what it liked.
Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America’s favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as ‘low intensity conflict’. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued – or beaten to death – the same thing – and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed. This was a commonplace in US foreign policy in the years to which I refer.
The tragedy of Nicaragua was a highly significant case. I choose to offer it here as a potent example of America’s view of its role in the world, both then and now.
I was present at a meeting at the US embassy in London in the late 1980s.
The United States Congress was about to decide whether to give more money to the Contras in their campaign against the state of Nicaragua. I was a member of a delegation speaking on behalf of Nicaragua but the most important member of this delegation was a Father John Metcalf. The leader of the US body was Raymond Seitz (then number two to the ambassador, later ambassador himself). Father Metcalf said: ‘Sir, I am in charge of a parish in the north of Nicaragua. My parishioners built a school, a health centre, a cultural centre. We have lived in peace. A few months ago a Contra force attacked the parish. They destroyed everything: the school, the health centre, the cultural centre. They raped nurses and teachers, slaughtered doctors, in the most brutal manner. They behaved like savages. Please demand that the US government withdraw its support from this shocking terrorist activity.’
Raymond Seitz had a very good reputation as a rational, responsible and highly sophisticated man. He was greatly respected in diplomatic circles. He listened, paused and then spoke with some gravity. ‘Father,’ he said, ‘let me tell you something. In war, innocent people always suffer.’ There was a frozen silence. We stared at him. He did not flinch.

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Innocent people, indeed, always suffer.
Finally somebody said: ‘But in this case “innocent people” were the victims of a gruesome atrocity subsidised by your government, one among many. If Congress allows the Contras more money further atrocities of this kind will take place. Is this not the case? Is your government not therefore guilty of supporting acts of murder and destruction upon the citizens of a sovereign state?’
Seitz was imperturbable. ‘I don’t agree that the facts as presented support your assertions,’ he said.
As we were leaving the Embassy a US aide told me that he enjoyed my plays. I did not reply.
I should remind you that at the time President Reagan made the following statement: ‘The Contras are the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers.’
The United States supported the brutal Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua for over 40 years. The Nicaraguan people, led by the Sandinistas, overthrew this regime in 1979, a breathtaking popular revolution.
The Sandinistas weren’t perfect. They possessed their fair share of arrogance and their political philosophy contained a number of contradictory elements. But they were intelligent, rational and civilised. They set out to establish a stable, decent, pluralistic society. The death penalty was abolished. Hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken peasants were brought back from the dead. Over 100,000 families were given title to land. Two thousand schools were built. A quite remarkable literacy campaign reduced illiteracy in the country to less than one seventh. Free education was established and a free health service. Infant mortality was reduced by a third. Polio was eradicated.
The United States denounced these achievements as Marxist/Leninist subversion. In the view of the US government, a dangerous example was being set. If Nicaragua was allowed to establish basic norms of social and economic justice, if it was allowed to raise the standards of health care and education and achieve social unity and national self respect, neighbouring countries would ask the same questions and do the same things. There was of course at the time fierce resistance to the status quo in El Salvador.
I spoke earlier about ‘a tapestry of lies’ which surrounds us. President Reagan commonly described Nicaragua as a ‘totalitarian dungeon’. This was taken generally by the media, and certainly by the British government, as accurate and fair comment. But there was in fact no record of death squads under the Sandinista government. There was no record of torture. There was no record of systematic or official military brutality. No priests were ever murdered in Nicaragua. There were in fact three priests in the

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government, two Jesuits and a Maryknoll missionary. The totalitarian dungeons were actually next door, in El Salvador and Guatemala. The United States had brought down the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1954 and it is estimated that over 200,000 people had been victims of successive military dictatorships.
Six of the most distinguished Jesuits in the world were viciously murdered at the Central American University in San Salvador in 1989 by a battalion of the Alcatl regiment trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA. That extremely brave man Archbishop Romero was assassinated while saying mass. It is estimated that 75,000 people died. Why were they killed? They were killed because they believed a better life was possible and should be achieved. That belief immediately qualified them as communists. They died because they dared to question the status quo, the endless plateau of poverty, disease, degradation and oppression, which had been their birthright.
The United States finally brought down the Sandinista government. It took some years and considerable resistance but relentless economic persecution and 30,000 dead finally undermined the spirit of the Nicaraguan people. They were exhausted and poverty stricken once again. The casinos moved back into the country. Free health and free education were over. Big business returned with a vengeance. ‘Democracy’ had prevailed.
But this ‘policy’ was by no means restricted to Central America. It was conducted throughout the world. It was never-ending. And it is as if it never happened.
The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.
Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn’t know it.
It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

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I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It’s a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, ‘the American people’, as in the sentence, ‘I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.’
It’s a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words ‘the American people’ provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don’t need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it’s very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.
The United States no longer bothers about low intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious. It puts its cards on the table without fear or favour. It quite simply doesn’t give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant. It also has its own bleating little lamb tagging behind it on a lead, the pathetic and supine Great Britain.
What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days – conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead? Look at Guantanamo Bay. Hundreds of people detained without charge for over three years, with no legal representation or due process, technically detained forever. This totally illegitimate structure is maintained in defiance of the Geneva Convention. It is not only tolerated but hardly thought about by what’s called the ‘international community’. This criminal outrage is being committed by a country, which declares itself to be ‘the leader of the free world’. Do we think about the inhabitants of Guantanamo Bay? What does the media say about them? They pop up occasionally – a small item on page six. They have been consigned to a no man’s land from which indeed they may never return. At present many are on hunger strike, being force-fed, including British residents. No niceties in these force-feeding procedures. No sedative or anaesthetic. Just a tube stuck up your nose and into your throat. You vomit blood. This is torture. What has the British Foreign Secretary said about this? Nothing. What has the British Prime Minister said about this? Nothing. Why not? Because the United States has said: to criticise our conduct in Guantanamo Bay constitutes an unfriendly act. You’re either with us or against us. So Blair shuts up.

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The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading – as a last resort – all other justifications having failed to justify themselves – as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.
We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it ‘bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East’.
How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice. But Bush has been clever. He has not ratified the International Criminal Court of Justice. Therefore if any American soldier or for that matter politician finds himself in the dock Bush has warned that he will send in the marines. But Tony Blair has ratified the Court and is therefore available for prosecution. We can let the Court have his address if they’re interested. It is Number 10, Downing Street, London.
Death in this context is irrelevant. Both Bush and Blair place death well away on the back burner. At least 100,000 Iraqis were killed by American bombs and missiles before the Iraq insurgency began. These people are of no moment. Their deaths don’t exist. They are blank. They are not even recorded as being dead. ‘We don’t do body counts,’ said the American general Tommy Franks.
Early in the invasion there was a photograph published on the front page of British newspapers of Tony Blair kissing the cheek of a little Iraqi boy. ‘A grateful child,’ said the caption. A few days later there was a story and photograph, on an inside page, of another four-year-old boy with no arms. His family had been blown up by a missile. He was the only survivor. ‘When do I get my arms back?’ he asked. The story was dropped. Well, Tony Blair wasn’t holding him in his arms, nor the body of any other mutilated child, nor the body of any bloody corpse. Blood is dirty. It dirties your shirt and tie when you’re making a sincere speech on television.
The 2,000 American dead are an embarrassment. They are transported to their graves in the dark. Funerals are unobtrusive, out of harm’s way. The mutilated rot in their beds, some for the rest of their lives. So the dead and the mutilated both rot, in different kinds of graves.

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Here is an extract from a poem by Pablo Neruda, ‘I’m Explaining a Few Things’:

And one morning all that was burning,
one morning the bonfires
leapt out of the earth
devouring human beings
and from then on fire,
gunpowder from then on,
and from then on blood.
Bandits with planes and Moors,
bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,
bandits with black friars spattering blessings
came through the sky to kill children
and the blood of children ran through the streets
without fuss, like children’s blood.
Jackals that the jackals would despise
stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
vipers that the vipers would abominate.
Face to face with you I have seen the blood
of Spain tower like a tide
to drown you in one wave
of pride and knives.
see my dead house,
look at broken Spain:
from every house burning metal flows
instead of flowers
from every socket of Spain
Spain emerges
and from every dead child a rifle with eyes
and from every crime bullets are born
which will one day find
the bull’s eye of your hearts.
And you will ask: why doesn’t his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land.
Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
the blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
in the streets!*

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Let me make it quite clear that in quoting from Neruda’s poem I am in no way comparing Republican Spain to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. I quote Neruda because nowhere in contemporary poetry have I read such a powerful visceral description of the bombing of civilians.
I have said earlier that the United States is now totally frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case. Its official declared policy is now defined as ‘full spectrum dominance’. That is not my term, it is theirs. ‘Full spectrum dominance’ means control of land, sea, air and space and all attendant resources.
The United States now occupies 702 military installations throughout the world in 132 countries, with the honourable exception of Sweden, of course. We don’t quite know how they got there but they are there all right.
The United States possesses 8,000 active and operational nuclear warheads. Two thousand are on hair trigger alert, ready to be launched with 15 minutes warning. It is developing new systems of nuclear force, known as bunker busters. The British, ever cooperative, are intending to replace their own nuclear missile, Trident. Who, I wonder, are they aiming at? Osama bin Laden? You? Me? Joe Dokes? China? Paris? Who knows? What we do know is that this infantile insanity – the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons – is at the heart of present American political philosophy. We must remind ourselves that the United States is on a permanent military footing and shows no sign of relaxing it.
Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government’s actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force – yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States is unlikely to diminish.
I know that President Bush has many extremely competent speech writers but I would like to volunteer for the job myself. I propose the following short address which he can make on television to the nation. I see him grave, hair carefully combed, serious, winning, sincere, often beguiling, sometimes employing a wry smile, curiously attractive, a man’s man.
‘God is good. God is great. God is good. My God is good. Bin Laden’s God is bad. His is a bad God. Saddam’s God was bad, except he didn’t have one. He was a barbarian. We are not barbarians. We don’t chop people’s heads off. We believe in freedom. So does God. I am not a barbarian. I am the democratically elected leader of a freedom-loving democracy. We are a compassionate society. We give compassionate electrocution and compassionate lethal injection. We are a great nation. I am not a

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dictator. He is. I am not a barbarian. He is. And he is. They all are. I possess moral authority. You see this fist? This is my moral authority. And don’t you forget it.’
A writer’s life is a highly vulnerable, almost naked activity. We don’t have to weep about that. The writer makes his choice and is stuck with it. But it is true to say that you are open to all the winds, some of them icy indeed. You are out on your own, out on a limb. You find no shelter, no protection – unless you lie – in which case of course you have constructed your own protection and, it could be argued, become a politician.
I have referred to death quite a few times this evening. I shall now quote a poem of my own called ‘Death’.
Where was the dead body found? Who found the dead body? Was the dead body dead when found? How was the dead body found?
Who was the dead body?
Who was the father or daughter or brother Or uncle or sister or mother or son Of the dead and abandoned body?
Was the body dead when abandoned? Was the body abandoned? By whom had it been abandoned?
Was the dead body naked or dressed for a journey?
What made you declare the dead body dead? Did you declare the dead body dead? How well did you know the dead body? How did you know the dead body was dead?
Did you wash the dead body Did you close both its eyes Did you bury the body Did you leave it abandoned Did you kiss the dead body

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When we look into a mirror we think the image that confronts us is accurate. But move a millimetre and the image changes. We are actually looking at a never-ending range of reflections. But sometimes a writer has to smash the mirror – for it is on the other side of that mirror that the truth stares at us.
I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.
If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us – the dignity of man.

* from Pablo Neruda Tercera Residencia, “Explico Algunas Cosas” in Selected Poems by Pablo Neruda. Edited and translated by Nathaniel Tarn. Jonathan Cape, London 1970.


Artistic Research

The following text was given as a discussion paper in Research in Art, Art in Research -symposium held at the University of Minnesota Dec 6th, 2005.

"I think it is precisely the total absence of all false hopes that brings out the depth of the necessary change. It has been said that reality is only adequately represented in its most extreme forms. In its normal forms, it doesn't reveal what it actually is. You have, if you want to really judge a repressive society, to go to the mental institutions, the insane asylums, the prisons, whatever are the extreme manifestations. Can the same be said with respect to art?" -- Herbert Marcuse

"In 1958 I wrote the following: ‘There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.’ I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?" - H. Pinter (from his Nobel Lecture, read more: www.svenskaakademien.se)

"But in the measure that history moves forward, and with it the struggle of the proletariat assumes clearer outlines, they no longer need to seek science in their minds; they have only to take note of what is happening before their eyes and to become its mouthpiece. So long as they look for science and merely make systems, so long as they are at the beginning of the struggle, they see in poverty nothing but poverty, without seeing in it the revolutionary, subversive side, which will overthrow the old society. From this moment, science, which is a product of the historical movement, has associated itself consciously with it, has ceased to be doctrinaire and has become revolutionary." - Marx

In this presentation I would like to explicate the concept of artistic research from methodological point of view. That is, I am going to give you an idea what we mean by artistic research in our recently published book by the same name (Hannula et al. 2005). As we know art can be approach from numerous different angles be it history, aesthetics, philosophy, education, sociology, or something else. Our point of view is that of artistic experience and artistic practice. In other words we are proposing an approach in which an artist could study her own creative process and artistic work reflectively, and in a work-in-progress sort of way. Artistic research is a form of study in which experience reflectively changes itself, and in which all possible areas of experience are at play, even those, which do not lend themselves to easy conceptualization. This is a core meaning of the concept of artistic research. This also brings it close to such methodologies as action research, ethnography, participatory research, narrative research, life-history, and biographical methods, teachers-as-researchers approach, and so forth.

Our purpose was to develop an approach “from below”, that is, to encourage to research starting from personal experience, observations, and intuition, not from theories “from above”. This is not to suggest that theories could not be constructed, but that in artistic research they must be particular and describe specific phenomena at hand. We wanted to claim that by studying their work themselves, and developing understanding of artistic ways of being and existing, artist can serve the general interest in human sciences.

We published our book in the situation in which there are more and more demands for social and academic accountability – or effectiveness or results – of arts. If universities, especially research universities, and other institutions of higher education are worth of the name, research work should be their number one priority. In this situation an obvious fear was that if academic community in arts did not have an explicit idea of their research, or even some coordinates for developing and guiding their research practices, then someone else would set the standards for artistic research. Furthermore it was probable that without methodological openings arts would be in trouble both financially and substantially as parts of universities. That was the ugly side of the matter.

The more positive side was, and still is, that by writing a book and evoking conversation about research in art and art in research, we could try to keep the initiative in the hands of academic community. Thus in this respect the case of artistic research fills classical definition of hegemonic struggle, that is, who has a final say in the discussion, whose voice will be heard? In this struggle we wanted to have an advantage. And I predict that these demands will be here soon if not already. In Finland it is the government that is giving pressures for the research community, here in the US, I assume, it is the market. However, Michael Young (2005, 46), a famous British sociologist of education, has stated quite controversially that centralizing state might undermine high quality post-compulsory education, and discipline-based research “even more than an education system based on the market.”

Before introducing the two methodological principles what we are proposing for artistic research, let me say few words of my own position stemming from the tradition of critical pedagogy, which has its roots in the works of Marx, Gramsci, Freire, Marcuse and others.

To put it briefly, from the angle of critical pedagogy research as well as education and the arts are politics, and value neutral, apparently objective research from a bird’s eye view is a practical impossibility. From critical point of view arts represent an area of experiences “inaccessible to other experiences, a dimension in which human beings, nature, and things no longer stand under the law of the established reality principle” (Marcuse cit. in Brookfield 2005, 203) governed by the market. Art cannot represent revolution or social transformation without losing its own autonomy, or its value. But as it has its own freedom, and just because of this, and through its style and overall aesthetic dimension art can open eyes and ears, as well as venues of political liberation (ibid. 202). In the world of “advertising clutter and mood drugs, infotainment and virtual violence, endless spectacle and technologies of disconnection”, art is a necessary ingredient of “mental environmentalism” (see MacKinnon 2005).

In the human sciences there has been a lively conversation about the meaning of language, especially the meaning of narratives, representations, rhetoric, metaphors, and different styles of writing. These topics have also included the aesthetics of scientific work. As sociologist Robert Nisbet writes in his book length essay Sociology as an Art Form in 1976, “sociology is, without a question, one of the sciences, but it is also one of the arts – nourished, as I argue in this book, by precisely the same kinds of creative imagination which are to be found in such areas as music, painting, poetry, the novel, and drama” (p. 9). Nisbet is harsh critique of positivism, the idea of unified and universal scientific method since this blind faith represents not science but scientism, which, in Nisbet’s view, “is science with the spirit of discovery and creation left out” (p. 4).

In other words, researchers should not follow the narrowest, method-fetishist paths, but find their own routes that, in turn, could enrich other fields of human sciences. They should try to keep they minds and bodies open in reflecting their work without any ready-made theoretical frame of references.


But let me now go to the two theoretical and methodological premises of artistic research, namely those of democracy of experiences, and methodological abundance.

By democracy of experiences we refer to the idea that in artistic research and elsewhere all experiences are potentially valuable, and in the same line: no demarcation, or hierarchy can be drawn between them in the first place. They represent the shared lifeworld in its richness, and therefore valuable source of both art and research. This holds true also in terms of different disciplines. There is no epistemological ground to keep some science more mature than other, for what is meant by scientific maturity? Is it better to have one paradigm, two competing paradigms, or perhaps three or more different paradigms? The more the better, would be our preference, for it is easy to inhale and exhale in such a situation.

Our concept of artistic experience springs from that of John Dewey who once pointed out that “art is is a particular quality of human experience that to some degree could be present in any interaction an individual had with the world.” According to Dewey art is a process that can be experienced when a certain quality of attentiveness and emotion are part of the engagement. (cited in Clandinin & Huber 2002, 162.) Thus it is a human potential, at least to some extent conceivable to all. This is another reason to think that every experience must count in doing artistic research. Accordingly, one must keep in mind that experience does not somehow “naturally” divide into the compartments of art and research.

Before the 19th century there was hardly any substantial separation between art and science. Both were treated as equal and parallel areas of human curiosity and inspiration. (Nisbet 1976, 9.) Thus we should not to confuse disciplinary politics and historically established institutional boundaries with genuine enthusiasm for arts and sciences. Too often we do just that hiding behind disciplinary boundaries, and taking a fixed position to rule out this or that as not scientific or artistic – at least not enough. This is not an attitude of researcher; it is an attitude of a bureaucrat, or as I would like to call it, after Jean Baudrillard ‘conspiracy of art and sciences’ (see Baudrillard 2005), or more aptly, in the spirit of Hans Christian Andersen – ‘the Emperor has no clothes-syndrome:

The emperor marched in the procession under the beautiful canopy, and all who saw him in the street and out of the windows exclaimed: “Indeed, the emperor’s new suit is incomparable! What a long train he has! How well it fits him!” Nobody wished to let others know he saw nothing, for then he would have been unfit for his office or too stupid. Never emperor’s clothes were more admired. “But he has nothing on at all,” said a little child at last. (hca.gilead.org.il/emperor.html 11/30/05)

This is often the case in the halls of academia when nobody dares to ask the obvious question. If we wanted to advance arts and sciences we should look for the similarities in arts and sciences, and not so much differences. Thus, just for the sake of play on words, I am proposing the idea of “methodology of similarities” that would study – not inter-disciplinary differences, but – inter-disciplinary similarities, and in contrast to logic of demonstration “underlying act of discovery or illumination or invention that is the clue to all genuine creative work” (Nisbet 1976, p. 5). Elliott Eisner, a prominent thinker in art education, has put the idea of similarities between art and science in brief by stating: “After all science at its best is an art. Artless science isn’t very pretty” (Eisner 2005). In Eisner’s view the same goes with art and education. At best education is art, and education without artistic touch isn’t very pretty either. (Various practices in the arts are theoretical, althought often in a tacit and hidden way, and research is also a certain practice with its own acts, habits, and rituals. To me the lesson is that it is crucial for the university students - not to mention university teachers - to learn to live in both of these worlds, to understand both languages of arts and science in developing their "inquiring minds".)

Search for and respect of similarities is familiar from many fields of study, and thinking traditions from philosophy to literacy and from sociology to educational studies. Robert Nisbet has the following position:

For a long time now, though only really since the early nineteenth century, we have perpetuated the delusion that art and science are by their nature very different from one another. It is high time this delusion is ended, and reluctant sociologist may take heart from the fact that for a good while the really great scientists of our century, in physics, mathematics, biology, and other spheres, have been emphasizing the basic unity of art and science. (p. 8)

Nisbet does not refer only to cognitive and formal similarities between arts and sciences, and their creative impulses, but also to their themes in a given historical era. For example in 19th century both artist and social theorist painted provocative and illuminative portraits of different social actors. Among the many exemplars of this conservative yet original social thinker are the influential writings of Karl Marx, and especially his Communist Manifesto written with Friedrich Engels. Nisbet expects that “no one who has ever read Communist Manifesto is likely to forget the portrait of the bourgeous. . . . In giving last rites, as it were, to the bourgeoisie, Marx created a portrait that has survived to this day.”

Umberto Eco, an Italian semiotic, and novelist, has come to the same conclusion in his short text on the style of Communist Manifesto. Writes Eco (2004, 26-27): “Even apart from it s genuinely poetic capacity to invent memorable metaphors, the Manifesto remains a masterpiece of political (but not only political) oratory, and it ought to be studied at school along with Cicero’s Invectives against Catiline and Mark Anthony’s speech over Julius Caesar’s body in Shakespeare, especially as it is not impossible, given Marx’s familiarity with classical culture, that he had in mind these very texts when writing it.”

Maybe it would be good to study at school the works of Friedrich Nietzsche too. Think his self-portrait Ecce Homo, not at all naturalistic story of his philosophical life, written in rhapsodic style how he is so wise, and so clever, why he writes such good books, and other such themes. His contemporaries doomed the work as a product of insane mind, but later it was considered as a masterpiece in its triumph of style, “a work of art” marking “one of the highest points of German prose” (Kaufman 1967, 201).

And talking about Nietzsche, we can think of creative process in art and sciences as an interplay between his Apollonian and Dionysian principles of being, and acting in the world (The Birth of Tragedy). The Apollonian refers to analytical principle, and to rationalization, classification, counting, forming and structuring. Thus, sculpture is the most Apollonian of the arts, since it relies entirely on form for its effects.

The Dionysian principle as opposed to the Apollonian breaks down individual identity and brings into surface something normally hidden. All forms of enthusiasm and ecstasy represent Dionysian principle, for in such states people are tented to give up their individuality, and submerge in a greater whole. Thus, music is the most Dionysian of the arts, since it appeals directly to instinctive emotions and not primarily to reasoning mind. Dionysian thinking has excessive characteristics; and such thinkers, educators, and researchers go beyond ordinary boundaries, and the normative guidelines found for example from research method textbooks.

In sum democracy of experiences in arts and sciences, and for that matter in education, describes the process whereby artist, researcher, or educator for that matter can find and acquire ideas, which are not closely related, from various sources, from the richness of experiences, artistic or otherwise. Democracy of experience is respecting the diversity in thinking and styles of doing research.


The concept of methodological abundance comes from a German-born philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend (1924–1994) (The guy in the picture is not Feyerabend, but Lenin in his Mausoleum; Feyerabend did referred to Lenin in his Agaist Method). According to him, the world is too diverse to be reduced to a single method or even a single philosophy of science viewpoint (Feyerabend 1999). Behind the methodological abundance are also the political upheavals that have occurred in the real world, or the so-called risk society, and what one could call the war and catastrophe-proneness of Western nation states. Feyerabend felt the ugly consequences of monolithic real politics, and was wounded when serving in the German army during the Second World War.

In his magnum opus, Against Method (1975), Feyerabend argues that the world is so diverse, chaotic and surprising that the belief in one all-powerful and all-encompassing method is nothing more than self-delusion. The richness of the features of reality is not organized according to beautiful models but instead requires an anarchistic starting point. He writes: “Anarchism, while perhaps not the most attractive political philosophy, is certainly excellent medicine for epistemology and for the philosophy of science” (ibid., 9).

The frozen methods of positivism or theories about rationality are based on a reductivist view of the world. Therefore, the only principle that can be defended under all circumstances is “anything goes”. It means that all methods and ways of perception are in their basic premise possible and nothing is excluded when aiming to understand the world.

Why, then, does Feyerabend bother to overturn our belief in methodologies? In his autobiography Killing Time (1994, 179), he explains his motives as follows: “One of my motives for writing Against Method was to free people from the tyranny of philosophical obfuscators and abstract concepts such as ‘truth’, ‘reality’, or ‘objectivity’, which narrow people’s vision and ways of being in the world.” A second motive is the concern for scientific change, that which (having one direction and one goal) is called progress. Feyerabend, like many other post-60s philosophers of science, claims that following one method leads to a standstill in science, no matter what the discipline in question. Feyerabend's ideas are important in the field of art research: think about thruth in painting, in poem, or in melody. Where's the truth in them? I am tempted to think that there is no place for thruth at least in the sense of correspondence to some outer reality, or even as a coherence between other paintings, poems, or melodies. The whole idea is nothing more than absurd. Instead it is possible to think that pieces of art must be interpreted, and put to some context in order to have this or that meaning. Through these meanings they are part of our lifeworlds in different ways.

And, as Harold Pinter puts it in his 2005 Nobel Lecture "Art, Truth and Politics", truth in drama, and in the arts in general, is forever elusive. "You never quite find it but the search for it is compulsive. The search is clearly what drives the endeavour. The search is your task. More often than not you stumble upon the truth in the dark, colliding with it or just glimpsing an image or a shape which seems to correspond to the truth, often without realising that you have done so. But the real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost.

This demands that in art research - as well as in education - we should try write open texts, divergent texts, which not only inform but also speak consciously and reflectively to us at the scale of pleasure, as Feyerabend (1999, vii) says:

Writing has become a very pleasurable activity, almost like composing a work of art. There is some overall pattern, very vague at first, but sufficiently well-defined to provide me with a starting point. Then come the details – arranging the words in sentences and paragraphs. I choose my words very carefully – they must sound right, must have the right rhythm, and their meaning must be slightly off-centre; nothing dulls the mind so thoroughly as a sequence of familiar notions. Then comes the story. It should be interesting and comprehensible, and it should have some unusual twists. I avoid ‘systematic’ analysis: the elements hang together beautifully, but the argument itself is from outer space, as it were, unless it is connected with the lives and interests of individuals or special groups. Of course, it is already so connected, otherwise it would not be understood, but the connection is concealed, which means that strictly speaking, a ‘systematic’ analysis is a fraud. So why not avoid the fraud by using stories right away?

Bert Terpstra, the editor of Feyerabend’s posthumously-published book Conquest of Abundance. A Tale of Abstraction Versus the Richness of Being (1999), writes that during the editing he came to understood the worldview according to Feyerabend: “In place of a ‘frozen’, material universe, I could perceive an open and changeable reality, and I became able to see, and thus I was liberated from, all sorts of fixed ideas about ‘the way things are’.”

The idea of the “abundance of reality”, developed and emphasized continuously by Feyerabend, belongs to a tradition of thought, according to which the research objects in the human sciences – Feyerabend would undoubtedly also add the natural sciences – are constructed by writing about them rather than first discovering them and then writing about them. Writing is simultaneously thinking and doing, both observing the world and creating it.

When discussing artistic research, it is important to keep in mind that there are ways of perceiving the world other than writing – not least the rich languages of music and the wondrous sensations they produce. Feyerabend (1999, 268) argues: “Our surroundings, the entire physical universe included, are not simply given. They respond to our actions and ideas. Theories and principles must therefore be used with care. Most of them exclude specifics and personal matters; speaking bluntly (though not untruthfully), we can say that they are superficial and inhumane.”


There is a lot of talk nowadays about the social, and even political relevance of art. For example the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance at the University of Minnesota states in its website (www.theatre.umn.edu/): “In keeping with the University’s three public purposes—research and discovery; teaching and learning; outreach and public service—our primary mission is to educate our students and our audiences about the performing arts, and about the social issues and human emotions the arts speak to so powerfully.” This statement refers to the ultimate power of artistic expression, its capability to offer different point of views. But if we take the idea of public engagement seriously, as I think we should, then it is all the more important to begin to develop ways to communicate with the public also in the area of art research. As a starting point this demands that we reject the positivistic ideals of research, and start to think research as an open and critical field of human invention.

By referring to an open and critical space in art research I am also speaking on behalf of strong and autonomic research community that guarantees the freedom to ask critically, think critically, speak critically, and write critically. It was Herbert Marcuse who suggested that all critical and creative thinking needs space and time; and that is why we have university. This also why I am sometimes struck by the fact that people seem to be so busy, always looking their schedules as if there is everything else in their academic life but time for serious thinking and creating. Nevertheless I am still dreaming of universities as safe havens for the ideals of critical scrutiny, and of truly democratic society. In this sense I am thinking of art as an area of both democracy of experiences, and methodological abundance. These principles refer to the idea of artistic research as a link between teaching, research and artistic practice, and to view art as a process from artists’ point of view.

Pretty much in this same tone, Erich Fromm, a German philosopher and critical social psychologist, emphasized the profound liberatory meaning of arts in people’s life. In his book The Sane Society published in 1955 Fromm criticized the modern distinction between the artist as a special profession, and people as mere consumers of art. In his view art belonged to everyone. He had difficulties in finding a proper word for describing his own position that stressed the importance of arts in fully comprehending and enjoying the world. In the lack of a better word he referred to ‘collective art’, which meant, “to respond to the world with our senses in a meaningful, skilled, productive, active, shared way” (italics in original, p. 347). He stressed the idea of sharing in contrast to the modern, individualistic conception of art. Collective and shared art experience and practice is something, which permits people to feel one with others; it is an integral part of life, and “corresponds to a basic human need” (p. 348). The transformation of society from destructively insane into life-sustaining and sane demands, in Fromm’s view, that people have opportunities to “sing together, walk together, dance together, admire together” (p. 349), together, and not as members of a lonely crowd in the Mall of America.


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