From 2020, we are part of a relatively new department within ArtEZ where the emphasis is on research. From this department we are committed to strengthening the research community of ArtEZ. Our activities have traditionally been aimed at bringing people (students, teachers, researchers, artists) together and organising meetings between art, science and society. We investigate which questions are relevant in art and society and stimulate conversation and exchange. We share insights that have been reached, questions that have come up and new knowledge that emerges in this ongoing process.

Over the next four years, we will be working on the basis of four themes that have been devised together with the ArtEZ professorships (the full text of the research agenda can be found in the PDF below). These themes are:

New Ecologies of Matter
How can we reconsider our relationship with the world and with nature and treat the earth in a different way, thinking beyond the political and economic systems that shape our relationship with the earth at present? Can we present new narratives that do not only adopt the human perspective? What role can art play in this respect and what are its possibilities and limitations?

We aim to practice more care for and to re-engage with living (things that) matter – both human and non-human, as a continuum of living matter. This also entails taking into account the actual physical matter of all embodied subjects involved. In doing so, we bring ecocriticism into the art academy to explore and create new ecologies of matter, new ecologies that matter – contributing to healthier, balanced and more diverse ecosystems.

Social Equity
In what way are our actions determined by normative ideas about gender, origins and culture? Can art expose structures of inequality in society and actively engage with questions about equality and freedom? Which power relations are being upheld by art or the art world itself and can the art world acknowledge these power relations and redraw them? Do we really care enough to create change?

From this awareness and from the realization that we do not know but must keep listening, asking and questioning ourselves, we examine our methodologies, quality standards, artistic vocabulary and our selection criteria. From there and in constant dialogue, we want to contribute to systemic changes in the arts.

(Un)Learning Practices
Are the institutions in which artists are trained still suitable for the new questions and relationships we need to be prepared for the future? Do we have to follow the existing learning systems or is the time there for deconstruction? Is knowledge as important as getting to know itself? What processes, spaces and relationships make up an art school?

It’s the role of art education and research to think critically about learning practices, and perhaps more importantly, unlearning practices. (Un)Learning Practices aims to continue to critically approach prevailing value systems in which art education is embedded – and not just those of and in art education. That means nothing should be taken for granted, no practice is true because it is a practice. This means that all kinds of assumptions can lose their status as believed to be true.

(Non-)CybernEtic1 Fabric
What are the automatic control systems in both machines and living? Who can make decisions in processes on both – the AI and Human – side? When is AI able to judge correctly and correctly according to whom? Will the human factor disappear, or will it remain an integral part of AI?

As humans and AI become more and more intertwined, it is important to explore how that can be done properly. In this, art has an important role to play by allowing the digital into its processes as well. In light of this, capacities have to be built around digital ecologies bringing Human, AI and machine learning together. Digital cultures with embodied and sensorial designs can be made, as well as smart cities and contracts and creative AI for arts practice and health care.