Archives For community

notes from a lecture

February 28, 2018 — Leave a comment

Irit Rogoff

Professor of Visual Cultures – Goldsmiths; University of London


research website

Professor Rogoff proposes that we need to move toward a new understanding of the research term. What is a research term? Rather than setting a question in advance through which research is guided she proposes a state of being as a researcher that is permanent: a state of working and questioning. This is a shift from basing all research knowledge gains on inherited knowledge and toward what she describes as ‘working from conditions’. This is not about focussing on ‘conditions’ themselves, but working ‘from’ conditions. I take this to mean engaging in the totality of your life and existence and allowing your pursuit in research interests to eb and flow into and out of life conditions: a continuum from life to research to life. I feel that there is a connection between my research focus, photogenie, and this sentiment. I describe photogenie as a quest to discover images and moments that resonate (sensation) and offer new insights and knowledge about existence (revelation). It is the ‘quest’ aspect that I think relates to Rogoff.

Interestingly Rogoff proposes this as a response and antithesis to the nihilism and dead ends of identity politics. She places emphasis on emergent (emerging) independent and individual subjectivities. She calls this a ‘re-singularisation’. Personally I can relate to this. As an artist I never seek to align myself with anybody or any collective based on my immutable characteristics – whiteness, maleness, 30 – year old-ness, tattoo-ed-ness,  – nor for that matter do I align with political or social interests. Rogoff asked: ‘how do these subjectivities collect together in a moment?’. I believe this to be the right question. I’ve always found it more interesting to relate to a person or another artist or collaborator, or anyone I might meet on a film set, in terms of that person as a unique and interesting individual. What happens when we talk as two unique and interesting individuals without the forced assumptions (identity based, or politically based) imposed by the terms of the collective in which we are operating? I think that openness and open-mindedness (and mind-full-ness) are more powerful than aligning power to identities.

… from an investigative impulse to the constitution of new realities …

The influence of Thomas Kuhn … 

I liked her comment that artistic research is an alternative entry point into significant problems. Granting ourselves permission is an important tenet of artistic expression. What facet of my being needs to be activated – what aspect of my condition is vying for articulation in  reality?




“…a community is not an entity that exists and then happens to communicate. Rather, communities are best understood as constituted in and through their changing patterns of communication. Indeed, today, as new technologies enable cheap and immediate forms of long-distance communication, the nuclear family is often strung out along the phone wires, and community is no longer necessarily founded on geographical continuity.” (Morley from “Communication.” New Keywords: A Revised Vocabulary of Culture and Society: Oxford: Blackwell, 2005 p50)

This idea of community as constituted through their changing patterns of communication is in a slight conflict with the type of community I am seeking out for my documentary. I imagine the most blatent and obvious ties in my proposed community to be geographical, i.e the rooming house. This geography could be overlooked and attention could be better paid to the economic situation and communications with the services. Whilst I am looking for these sorts of connections in a preliminary sense, it is the interviewees who will reveal to me what bonds and forms communication they have affinity’s with.