Narrative Processes

Research leader: Magnus Bärtås

Narrativity is a term that is connected to time-based media and narrative art in general, but which also points towards the establishment of transparency regarding artistic processes, which is central to artistic research.

Within Narrative Processes as a field of study we conduct practice-based research on the various functions of storytelling, and the role of narrativity in visual art in the broadest sense: painting, film, photography, animation, illustration, comics and graphic novels. The field investigates intersections between the image and language, the visual stories' relationships with time, space, voice and body. In Narrative Processes, one of the most important issues in artistic research becomes the focus: the investigation of communicative, essayistic/literary and/or experimental language that can illustrate individual artists' experiences of the artistic process and that hence can actively participate in establishing a new field of knowledge where artistic and creative processes are described and communicated from within the practice.

The investigation of the meaning-making functions of narratives, their strategies, ethics and political content, and not least their possibilities of establishing structures for social co-existence is fundamental to the area of research. The field is particularly relevant in a society undergoing great social and demographic change: increased mobility, globalisation, migration, the questioning of national borders and, at the same time, ethnification, the drawing of new borders and tribalisation.

From 2013 to 2015 the project Microhistories (with the support of the Swedish Research Council) had a central place in this field of research. Microhistories studies the form of the video essay, which can be said to treat its subject matter in a critical and investigative way while at the same time reflecting its processes and its considerations. A characteristic of the video essay is that it takes up the details of a phenomenon in order to show how these details form part of a greater context. It shares this preoccupation with the small, marginalised stories with an approach within the field of history, so-called microhistory. Here one studies habits and routines rather than deliberate actions, underlying mentalities rather than explicit views. In microhistory the exception is more interesting than the rule, including the everyday, the overlooked details – all this that can prove to be as important as the "grand" recognised history. This project brings together prominent practices and theoreticians within three fields – art, artistic research and microhistory – in order to build shared knowledge.

Within the research project several public activities have been conducted: seminars, a presentation at Tensta Konsthall, a public video-programme at Moderna Museet (in collaboration with IASPIS). Several artworks (video essays) have been screened at, amongst other, the Venice Biennale, Malmö Konstmuseum and Les Rencontres Internationales in Paris and Berlin. A main goal has been to build a bridge between different scientific approaches and emphasize both a form of history writing and an artistic genre that are becoming increasingly important internationally. In 2016 the anthology Microhistories has been published.

 

Projects:
Microhistories
The Double Bind: Rromanen som (freds)förhandling (in Swedish only)
Narrative processes in between- the narrative practices of comics

 

Updated: 17 April 2013
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