Between Presentation and Research: The Lecture as Performance
Das folgende Abstract habe ich für die Jahrestagung der europäischen Science Studies verfasst. Es stellt aktuelle Überlegungen aus meinem Forschungsprojekt vor.
Science Studies have argued that the material, the social and the performative aspects of knowledge production are not secondary but crucial to the process of innovation and insight. Does this also apply to forms of knowledge presentation?
From the viewpoint of scientific tradition research itself and the public presentation of its outcomes are two different things – research first, presentation second. In the performing arts this is different; here, research is deeply intertwined with presentation: Artistic research is part of the process of preparing a public presentation. And vice versa the presentation itself is a main part of the research process, a test-scenario.
As long as ‚the lab’ and ‚the experiment’ have been the main terms and forms ‚borrowed’ from science to describe artistic research, this difference caused misunderstandings: Artistic research necessarily falls short compared to scientific research, if the inner relation between presentation and research, that is crucial to research in the performing arts, isn’t acknowledged.
This makes it an important shift that in recent years the lecture has become a format of artistic investigation and intervention. From the viewpoint of science the lecture is not a form of knowledge production but merely a form of knowledge presentation. To investigate the lecture as performance means to question this traditional gap between research and presentation. Concentrating on the lecture artistic research can show that the presentation of knowledge re-enters knowledge production. By means of performance studies and performative intervention these re-entries can be specified and modulated.
So, what is at stake in the emergence of the lecture performance between art and science? Lecture performance should not be about improving the performance of scientists as lecturers. Neither should it be about artists making scientific matters understandable and popular through lecture performances. It should be about the part presentation plays within knowledge production itself.
The daily practice of lecturing is subject to change. Why not make theses changes a common focus of attention for art and science? Currently many of these changes are related to the web 2.0: On web-2.0-platforms we find huge amounts of lectures documented not as texts but as performances. At the same time the web is becoming a tool for the production of lectures. Online-chats or services like twitter enable audiences to give live-feedback within the lecture-setting; co-lecturers can contribute online to live-lectures; transitions between ‚live-lectures’ and ‚online-lectures’ are evolving.
Regarding the lecture as performance artists and scientists together can try to transform lectures into an interactive setting of collective knowledge production.