Issue 1, 2011
Welcome to the first issue of Desearch. A common question in the minds of the editors concerns the space that this new publication aims at occupying. In this respect, Desearch aspires towards contributing to the great tradition of art journals by providing a platform for researchers in their early carrier to publish their work and by extension engage in debates with the wider educational and professional creative community. Thus, before we enter a complex form of intellectual existentialism perhaps we should review the published papers and seriously consider their variable approaches to the question of ‘space’ on a variety of subjects and topics, which range from painting and photography to sound and popular culture.
Eva Bensasson’s Photography, Return and Rephotography: Three Approaches examines the role of space, or rather place, in connection to a notion of return and by extension traces the impact of site on collective forms of memory explored and established through the use of the photographic medium.
Carol Cooper’s Architecture for the Arts and the Importance of Space in the Public Realm, discusses the various employments of public space in the design of major art galleries. In a highly informative paper Cooper compares the social and cultural impact of public buildings whose design and purpose seem to be influenced by the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
Jacqueline Taylor’s L’écriture féminine: an Alternative Space In-Between explores the “intertextual” and “intermaterial” space in interdisciplinary and mixed media practices that combine text with painting from a feminist perspective. Interestingly, Taylor’s reading of feminist practices places more emphasis on femininity, a strategy, which she claims, aims to destabilize the masculine/feminine relation.
Çaylı Eray & Kerem Özcan’s Learning from Noor: Can popular culture affect the architectural hermeneutics of a city? provides a critical reflection on the cultural space that Turkey is increasingly occupying in the Arab world, through the broadcasting of a popular television series that focus on historical events drawn from the Ottoman era. In addition the authors analyse the impact of the market forces of the tourist industry, shaped by an increasing regional influence, on architectural space.
Lorenzo Beretta and Paul Bailey’s Places in Space: How Multiple Places Can Coexist Within a Single Space Through Ambient Perception discusses the ways by which ambient sounds influence our perception of space and, in return, questions the cultural specificities of this process. Central to their methodology is the perception of sound as a material, and their claim that sound needs to be acknowledged as such by designers and architects.
Stephen Knott’s essay Amateur ‘Worked’ Space: a Theory of How Amateurs Organise Their Practice looks at tools in an attempt to explore and subsequently analyse a notion of amateur space of labor. In doing so, Knott looks into models of workshop organization propagated by DIY journals and manuals and examines the destabilizing impact of labour onto such idealized models.
Tansy Spinks’ essay Sound as an Object in Space: Interpreting Space through Sound and Performance treats sound as an object in space and explores the possible roles of the performer as a creative interpreter of spaces. Spinks’ preferred methodology is the Peircian semiotics adopted by Jean-Jacques Nattiez seminal work on musical semiotics.
Simon Harris' Pictorially Abstract: The Illusion of the Real discusses the theoretical and practical issues of contemporary pictorial space in response to a re-thinking of formalist modes of painting. Harris’ locates his arguments in a Deleuzean framework, dealing with concepts such as the ‘fold’ and the ‘haptic’ in order to explore notions of space within models of contemporary painting, previously defined through an opposition between figuration and abstraction.
Marcus Leadley’s Soundscape and Abstraction: Exploring the Relationship Between Environmental Sound and Language explores the relationship between environmental sound and linguistics. It particularly investigates the ways in which environmental acoustic factors influence the content, purpose and nuance of verbal communication today.
Finally, the editors of Desearch would like to thank the contributors of the first issue for presenting us with their highly interesting articles and thus reminding us that providing a space, where creativity and critical thinking can flourish, can be equally rewarding as to filling it.