by Lisa Wilkens & Plinio Avila
HISK print workshop with HISK Laureates at Frans Masereel Centre
"Technique of self" is a concept described by Daston/Galison in their publication 'Objectivity' investigating the connection between scientific research methods (such as image making) and the construction of scientific knowledge and concepts of objectivity.
"The scientific self [...] was realised and reinforced by specialised techniques of the self: the keeping of a lab notebook with realtime entries, the discipline of grid-guided drawing, the artificial division of the self into active experimenter and passive observer, the introspective sorting of one's own sensations into objective and subjective by sensory physiologists, the training of voluntary attention. These techniques of the self were also practices of scientific objectivity. To constrain the drawing hand to millimeter grids or to strain the eye to observe the blood vessels of one's own retina was at once to practice objectivity and to exercise the scientific self." (Lorraine Daston, Peter Galison, Objectivity, Zone Books, New York, 2007)
In the context of contemporary art, aspects of technique seem to have been rendered invisible, or are alternatively labeled as craft. The impact of technique on conceptual developments within an artists practice are rarely mentioned. Following the argument of Daston and Galison, the workshop Print as a Technique of self at the Frans Masereel Centrum will provide a platform to look at connections between technique and concept in the context of artistic practices through the medium of print. Fine art printmaking involves a broad range of techniques and skills. Learning to master the required skills can be laborious and process heavy, specific sequences need to be followed, material knowledge is key. Technique itself seems to be a fundamental part of the medium and defines the formal and conceptual frameworks.
During the workshop, practical investigations and theoretical discussions will inform each other, circumnavigating the cartesian mind-body divide in search for a multi-layered approach towards contemporary art practice. The workshop is laid out as a blue sky research week, in which the participants define their research aim through individual and collective talks and discussions supported by various tutors.