9th SAR - International Conference on Artistic Research
University of Plymouth, April 11th 4pm - 13th 6pm 2018
Closing Exhibition and Party 8pm - Late


The call for papers is now closed

The provocation Artistic Research Will Eat Itself can be understood as a warning against the dangers of methodological introspection, or as a playful invitation to explore the possibilities of a field in a constant state of becoming. In this context, the ‘cannibalism’ of artistic research ‘eating itself’ embodies a dynamic tension between self-destruction and regeneration.

If artistic research eats itself, digests itself and then releases its own waste, does it stink and linger, fertilise new growth or invade new destinations on the bottom of someone’s shoe? If we are to constantly defend and define, are we in danger of having no art left, only the claims for its ability to embody knowledge? When we bite off our own heads do we grow new tails?

Critical perspectives on the discourse surrounding artistic research might be argued to already be too formulaic or self-defeating. Making a case for its own institutional legitimacy could unwittingly reinforce some of the very things artistic research aims to critique. Yet such onto-epistemological paradoxes can offer a rich territory for exploration along with generative practices that involve reflexivity, automorphogenesis, and recursive feedback loops. In recognising auto-cannibalism as an analogy for broader socio-political and environmental concerns, one of the challenges for artistic research is to respond imaginatively to the dynamic tensions between self-destruction and regeneration.

"A kiss is the beginning of cannibalism"


The call for papers is now closed

To register for the conference please go to


If you need any further information please contact artsresearch@plymouth.ac.uk.


The full conference program.

Conference Registration Prices

  • Non-SAR Member £160
  • SAR Member £100
  • Non-affiliated SAR Member (limited number) £45
  • Student (limited number) £45
All attendees, participants and named presenters must register for the conference and pay the appropriate fee.

Conference registration fees includes a wine and canape reception on the evening of 11 April, lunch, coffee and tea on the 12 and 13 April and a conference party on the night of 13 April.

The conference meal on 12 April is optional and will be at an additional cost.

Registration will be open from mid-February.

If you would like to become a SAR member please follow this link http://www.societyforartisticresearch.org/membership/membership-schemes/

The ninth edition of the SAR International Conference on Artistic Research is organised by Geoff Cox, Azadeh Fatehrad, Allister Gall, Laura Hopes, Anya Lewin and Andrew Prior in partnership with Society for Artistic Research represented by Johan Haarberg, Gabriele Schmid and Geir Strøm. The conference is hosted by the Arts Institute at the University of Plymouth with additional support from Kingston University and the Contemporary Aesthetics and Technology research programme, Aarhus University, Denmark. .

Modes of Presentation


Living poster




Performance, exhibition or installation

We are also able to accommodate installations and exhibitions in gallery style spaces and some public spaces with little or no technical support. These may be set up for a single day or the duration of the conference and you may propose scheduled times for introduction or discussion. We will try to organize an invigilator when you are not available, but cannot guarantee this. It is also possible to propose pop up performances, exhibitions and installations in other spaces across campus (indoors and outdoors) and possibly during conference ‘social times’. Please e-mail us with your ideas informally prior to submitting your proposal so we can work through possibilities with you. Please use subject heading AREWI conference anya.lewin@plymouth.ac.uk

Please note that we are unable to pay any fees or meet any personal expenditure related to travel and accommodation or those related to the presentation of creative practice at the conference. Discounts will be available for students. All presenters are required to pay a conference fee; (with the exception of performers/technicians who are not named on the proposal and do not attend any other conferences sessions).



APRIL 8 - 11, 2018

The call for proposals is now closed

A research/PhD workshop will run in advance of the conference*, the results of which will be included within the conference programme. The workshop, to be held at KARST, a gallery and studio space in Plymouth, aims to provide a forum for emerging artistic researchers to enter into speculation, critique, exchange, making and dialogue about their research topic or practice.

PhD researchers and independent artists and curators are invited to bring a semi-developed project to discuss, work on and resolve into exhibitable form within the conference itself. We can provide workshop tools, technical assistance and some audio-visual equipment. The format of the workshop will include a series of talks, group critiques and discussions and time to continue project development. The workshop is free and lunch will be provided but we cannot cover travel, accommodation or other costs and these are expected to be met by participants or their institutions.

The call for proposals is now closed

For further enquiries about the workshop please contact: andrew.prior@plymouth.ac.uk (please use the subject header “ARWEI Workshop”)


*Participants of the workshop are expected to register for and attend the conference.

The workshop is organised by Arts Research in the School of Art, Architecture and Design, University of Plymouth in partnership with KARST.


Located by a stunning waterfront and harbor, Plymouth is the perfect place to visit. The city boasts three theatres, three independent cinemas and seven art galleries, including the University of Plymouth's Peninsula Art Gallery. The historic Barbican waterfront and Royal William Yard are host to a range of independent shops and restaurants as well as a local farmer’s market.

For those wishing to extend their trip Plymouth is ideally situated for exploring both Dartmoor National Park and Cornwall, home to the world-famous Eden Project and the Minack Theatre.

Getting Here:

The three closest airports are:

Heathrow 4 hours
Bristol 2½ hours
Exeter 1⅓ hours

You can take a train or a bus from any of the airports to reach Plymouth.

Please note the times listed are by train or car and buses will take slightly longer.


The conference hotels are:

There are a large number of Bed & Breakfasts in the University area as well.


Exploding. Plastic. Inevitable?
Martin Crowley
Eating itself, artistic research goes POP!
Pop: so plastic.
Which moulds, bends, and itself explodes.

The work of philosopher Catherine Malabou takes as its central organizing concept a particular notion of plasticity, defined by three tendencies: to give form, to receive form, and to explode. Unpacking Malabou’s concept, this talk will examine in particular its role in sustaining a notion of immanent discontinuity: namely, drastic, interruptive change that takes place within a system, process, or individual. The talk will go on to consider the interest and uses of this notion, with reference to conceptions of political agency and artistic practice.
Martin Crowley is a Reader in Modern French Thought and Culture, at the University of Cambridge. He is an author of books on Marguerite Duras, Robert Antelme, contemporary French fiction and film, and the politics of finitude and is currently writing a book on political agency in Bruno Latour, Bernard Stiegler, and Catherine Malabou.
Art as Method For Working the Ontological Limits of Plants, People, and Fungi (While Never Fully Digesting What Is Going On In The Anthropocene)
Elaine Gan
The Anthropocene seems to throw everything we know about the world into a tailspin. Faced with multiple crises that are unfolding unevenly across bodies, places, and times, we have an urge to increase what we know in order to survive. More data, more stories, more pixels, more maps. And yet to acknowledge the Anthropocene as a geological epoch marked by human domination and planetary ruin is to radically question the keystones of artistic life: individual freedom, production, and creative innovation. This paper calls for changing how we know, not adding to what we know. I consider art as a collaborative method of attunement with more-than-human assemblages whose endurances depend on interplays of time and historical contingency. I present ongoing studies of the temporalities of plants, people, and fungi, and the unruly research that might render them concrete as well as poetic. Human and nonhuman, individual and collective, fiction and science are recomposed, cannibalizing what we know in order to experiment with how we might sense and live otherwise.
Elaine Gan is an artist and scholar who studies how human-plant interactions shape geopolitical histories. She is a Mellon Fellow in Digital Humanities, affiliated with the departments of Anthropology and Media Arts + Practice at University of Southern California. She has also been the art director of Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene (AURA) in Denmark since 2013, and a fellow of the Whitney Museum - Independent Study Program and the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). Her most recent collaborative projects include editing an anthology titled Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene (Univ of Minnesota Press 2017); convening a seminar on Feral Technologies in the Technosphere for Haus Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin (2016); and curating an artscience exhibition titled DUMP! Multispecies Making and Unmaking (Kunsthal Aarhus 2015). She is now working on a book and digital project titled Time Machines: Coordinating Rice Ecologies and Empires.
Black Atlantis: Retrograde Futurism
Ayesha Hameed
This lecture performance is composed of notes on a film to be made and an essay to be written. On April 29, 2006, a twenty-foot boat was spotted off the south-eastern coast of Barbados. On board, eleven bodies were found by the coastguards, preserved and desiccated by the sun and salt water. The ghost ship was adrift for four months on the Atlantic Ocean. It set sail on Christmas day in Praia in the Cape Verde Islands, full of migrants from Senegal, Guinea Bissau, and Gambia, en route to the Canary Islands. Each of these men paid £890 for their place on the boat. Four months later the boat was found on the coast of Barbados.

This is an inadequate telling of this story that draws on the materials and tools at hand to make sense of the complicity of weather, ocean currents and state violence in the journey of this ship. Hovering between the film and the essay form is a questioning of the adequacy of the measuring of histories and affects connected to crossing, languages to make evident the materiality of the sea, and the both measurable and immeasurable horror contained in the figure of the ghost ship.
Ayesha Hameed’s work explores contemporary borders and migration, critical race theory, Walter Benjamin, and visual cultures of the Black Atlantic. Her work has been performed or exhibited at ICA London (2015), Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2014), at The Chimurenga Library at the Showroom, London (2015), Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities, Oxford (2015), Edinburgh College of Art (2015), Kunstraum Niederoesterreich Vienna (2015), Pavillion, Leeds in 2015, Homeworks Space Program, Beirut (2016), the Bartlett School of Architecture (2016), Mosaic Rooms (2017) RAW Material Company, Dakar (2017).

Her publications include contributions to Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth (Sternberg Press 2014), We Travelled The Spaceways (Duke University Press forthcoming 2018), Unsound/Undead (Univocal, Forthcoming 2018); and books including Futures and Fictions (co-edited with Simon O’Sullivan and Henriette Gunkel Repeater 2017) and Visual Cultures as Time Travel (with Henriette Gunkel Sternberg, forthcoming 2018). She is currently a Lecturer in Visual Cultures and formerly a Research Fellow with Forensic Architecture at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths University, London.
Ready to Foot: Decolonising the feet through Demaking High Heeled shoes for audiovisual theatrical performance and a new location of knowledge
Alexandra Murray-Leslie
The feet play the role of support structures or even infrastructure for the rest of the body, especially for the hands. The hands, the head and the eyes are the glorified organs of vision, manipulation, tactility and calculation and the feet are a kind of infrastructural support that philosophers never bothered to speak about that much – with notable exceptions such as Bataille, who believes in order to undo the division of labour as proposed by Charles Darwin one would have to effectively want to challenge, suspend, reverse, invert or maybe undo that division of labour, which brings up colonised questions, the feet are colonised by the body, the feet are the colonial subject, the feet are being colonised by the body, so in that sense this research aims to decolonise that hierarchy that has formatted the body as this and elevated the hand at the expense of the feet.

We can use our feet for more than just walking around and some people actually develop extraordinary dexterity with their feet, not only using them to do everyday tasks, but even activities like painting or playing an instrument. Through training, it is possible for the feet to carry out complex creative tasks, beyond their normal everyday job as 'stepping machines’ (Ingold 2003). I agree that a more grounded approach to the way we move as humans can open up new terrain in the area of embodied foot-based skills.

Martin Heidegger proposed that objects may be experienced in two different ways as ‘ready to hand’ and ‘present at hand’ (Heidegger 1962). When an object is ‘ready to hand’ it performs like a seamless extension of our bodily motions. When an object is ‘present at hand’ we perceive it as independent of our bodies, as an agent to be acted upon and with, rather than through. The computer enhanced foot prototypes discussed in this research cannot be physically separated from the foot in performance, the two are tightly, and consistently coupled to carry out theatrical tasks. i therefore suggest the possibility of a knowledge connected to the very experiences that are ‘present at foot'. The theme of 'knowledge at foot’ and objects being ‘ready to foot' relates to situations where the feet are the location of the generation of new knowledge via practice based research and the creation of artefacts (i term Anthropotechnological foot-prototypes and computer enhanced footwear).

Shoes in many cases deform feet. It is this unfree state of the feet that this research challenges through finding unexpected ways to use our feet in newly designed computer enhanced footwear. These foot devices use new technologies coupled with sensors and FM sound synthesis, and therefore afford new types of bodily extensions for creative expression. Through the praxis, I explore and demonstrate the expressive role of the feet in lens-based performance art and their potential impact on the way we perform when enhanced with technology to produce a multi-sensory experience. This approach places the computer enhanced foot-wear in critical dialogue with contemporary technologies for shaping corporeal experience and reimagining foot-centric technologies, to inform unexpected outcomes and communicative ideas through internal bodily awareness. In relation to this research, therefore it is an essential element of the computer enhanced footwear and use of technology that it is from a social perspective taking into account the theory of ‘humanistic intelligence’ (Mann 2001) rather than an ‘artificial intelligence’. I explore the development of foot based skills in the area of audio-visual performance and the related creation of audio-visual instruments created to costume and decolonise the feet.
Dr. Alexandra Murray-Leslie is co-founder of the trans-disciplinary art band Chicks on Speed, a collective of culture workers who apply subversive DIY ethics to interrogate the boundaries of academia, pop music, craft, performance art, new musical instrument design, textiles and theatrical fashion. She is currently guest academic artist at Animal Logic Academy, Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation, The University of Technology Sydney and Research Associate at (CRCDM) Centre for Research Creation in Digital Media, Sunway University, Kuala Lumpur. Her practice-based research focuses on the design and development of computer enhanced foot devices for theatrical audiovisual expression.
Florian Schneider
How is it possible to critically examine the concept of the self in the context of artistic research that will supposedly “eat itself”?

In many ways, the cultural and artistic movements of the 20th century were characterised by the idea of a “self” that performs as mirror image. This notion of the self was the currency in circular economies based on finite sets of rules. But that model of identity production is being currently transformed by changing conditions. Now, the self is supposed to operate in a continually generative, "creative" mode, in and by itself.

Much as the natural sciences have been challenged by the deniers of scientific facts, artistic research has stumbled in the face of this transition. There are two broad ways we can respond:

One is triggering a recursive process of self-reflection and refraction that produces idiosyncratic and ever-narrower niches with ever-decreasing degrees of freedom.

Or this transition can also pave the way for a radically new understanding of the role of artistic research and production — one that advances by subverting the dominant divisions of academic labor and, by undoing them, enters into hitherto-unknown collaborations across disciplines though radically different forms of working together. It is in this sense that artistic research can question not just the relationships of production of new knowledge but, ultimately, the practice of the artistic self.

Drawing from the conclusions of the artistic research project “Divisions” Florian Schneider will suggest a series of working points for artistic researchers in new divisions of academic labor.
Florian Schneider is the Head of the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology where he currently runs the pilot project “Art and Ocean”. It brings together artists and scientists to explore the potential of new forms of collaborations.

Together with Irit Rogoff, he has recently initiated the European Forum for Advanced Practices (EFAP), an independent gathering of artistic and practice-based researchers from across Europe.

From 2014 to 2017 he has developed and led the artistic research project “Divisions” funded by the Norwegian Program for Artistic Research (PKU). He submitted his PHD on "Imaginary Property" at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Educated as a Documentary filmmaker he has written, lectured, produced, exhibited, curated and collaborated across a wide range of media, fields, disciplines and in independent as well as institutional contexts, such as: “kein mensch ist illegal” (1997-now), Make World Festival (2001 and 2004), Dictionary of War (2005-2010), Summit of non-aligned initiatives in education culture (2007), Imaginary Property (2005-2014), The Henningsvær Charter (2017).