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What do Artists Know?
Beyond a wide range of material practices, histories and techniques, concepts and theoretical frameworks, artists are trained to use a unique set of skills, process, and methodologies. These include:
Synthesizingdiversefacts,goals,andreferences–makingconnections and speaking many “languages”. Artists are very “lateral” in their research and operations and have great intellectual and operational agility.
Productionofnewknowledgeasevidencedbythe100+yearhistoryof innovation and originality as a top criterion
Creative, in-process problem solving and ongoing processes, not all up- front creativity: responsivity.
Artistscomposeandperform,initiateandcarry-thru,designandexecute. This creates a relatively tight “feedback loop” in their process.
Pro-active not re-active practice: artists are trained to initiate, re-direct the brief, and consider their intentionality.
Acutecognizanceofindividualresponsibilityforthemeanings, ramificationsandconsequencesoftheirwork. (Thedownsideofthisis that artists are not always team-oriented or willing to compromise due to the high premium placed on individual responsibility and sole authorship.)
Understandingofthelanguageofculturalvaluesandhowtheyare embodied and represented – re-valuation and re-contextualization.
Participation and maneuvering in non-compensation (social) economies, idea economies, and other intangible values (capital).
Proficiencyinevaluationandanalysisalongmultiple-criteria--qualitative lines, qualitative assessment. Many are skilled in pattern and system recognition, especially with asymmetrical data.
Making explicit the implicit -- making visible the invisible. Artists do not think outside the box-- there is no box.
Frances Whitehead 2006 ©