ARIAS x DRIFT: Art, Writing and Philosophy – Review

13 April: ARIAS x DRIFT: Art, Writing and Philosophy


Taking place at Lab111’s Kapel room with Amal ChatterjeeJosef Früchtl and moderator Divya Nadkarni, the ARIAS x DRIFT Art, Writing and Philosophy panel offered its audience an “after hours” exploration into the themes of artistic research, scientific and creative thinking and writing.


Kicking off the discussion was Divya Nadkarni, who began by asking “What place does art research have in academic disciplines?”. By situating art as more than just an object for analysis, the speakers first delved into the bird versus worm metaphor (which was also one of the themes of the festival) and expanded upon how the roles have been reversed – the worm has now become the predator, the storyteller. In that regard, they discussed the meaning and place of artistic research as an intersection of the way we grasp the world.


Writer and academic Amal Chatterjee continued the conversation by bringing up an important point about the differing perspectives one can assume from academic and “writerly” stances. Explaining that the academic point of view allows us to see art as “representation”, he explained that the writer sets that gaze aside and establishes a more personal relationship with it. Chatterjee further outlined the process of the “writerly” standpoint – the writer creates an artifact and has to let it go and reconcile his idea of perfection with it. The perfectionist idea has to be destroyed and the writer moves on, while the scientist or the philosopher would not dream of doing that, they are ready to discuss their work and dispute their critics.


Connecting that theme to philosophy at large, Professor Josef Früchtl spoke at length about how the intersection of art and philosophy always produces multiple points that inform the individual, stressing the inter-related nature. Explaining the “multiple, multifarious and multifaceted” tendencies of art, Früchtl described philosophy in relation to it as something that “seeks to create different languages to look at the world.” Früchtl then went on to mention how prominent names like Nietzsche and Derrida had an intrinsic connection to literature in their work, as well as talking about Plato, who “exiled literature and art” in his utopian view of society, but himself wrote what is now termed “philosophical literature”.


The panel then went on to expand on the role of artistic research in this diagram, as well as how it constitutes a new phase for art, science and literature. Früchtl commented on how the relationship between the three disciplines is based on differentiation and how it presents a challenge for those looking to distinguish it. Describing artistic research as a tool that invites and challenges us to think more precisely about what research means, Früchtl explained how it borrows the rich perspective, perception and understanding of art and opens up the lane for further discussion and exploration.


Bringing up Michel Foucault as a figure who stands at the intersection of art and science, Früchtl commented on the revolutionary powers of the two disciplines and how their intersection could provide completely new ways of looking at the world and brought the panel to a conclusion by stating that there a lot of progress to be made in this new and promising avenue.