Tools (Vehicles for Research)

In this context a ‘tool’ is the specific vehicle employed to carry an idea to an audience. Although my attention is predominantly focused on the art world, visual culture, manufacturing and knowledge economies, a tool can be anything and come from anywhere.

You can begin to map what these are by looking as a consumer at what exists (empirical research) and ‘dreaming’ about how you would like it to exist (curatorial dreaming). The following list began 2017-18 through my primary observations of the ‘cultural landscape’ in Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Canada and the UK. It does not forget past forms nor does it ignore possible future ones, it collects them like a hoarder and is considered ever expanding. Can you add to the list?

Accessories

Action research

Advertising channels Billboards, posters (official or fly), bus or bus stops, publications, newspapers, television, radio, product placement, information screens, sports stadiums, cinemas, internet

Alarm

Apprenticeships Institutional, private or public

App or computer program across all devices

Appropriation

Architecture itself or that which adorns it

Archives

Article

Artwork(s) Commissioning public artwork, making an artwork to formalise inquiry

Audio interpretation Different languages, pre-recorded primers

Awareness day, week or month

Biennial

Book signing

Blog Written or video

Branding

Cafe

Campaign

Canvassing

Calendar

Ceremony

Charity

Citizen science

Clothing Fashion, uniform, costume, ‘workwear’ to be worn whilst carrying out activities in public space

Course or module delivered in private or public institution, or digitally

Collection Art or ‘non-art’ objects, physical or digital data

Comedy Stand-up routine, album, joke, bit or sketch

Community initiatives

Community-initiated research

Company New entity, new wing, new direction, new mission or reimagining

Conference

Conversations Officially posing questions to specific people

Crits

Crowd-sourcing

Data visualisation Across print and digital platforms, as artworks

Decals On walls, windows or transport

Decorations eg. Christmas

Direct action

Documentary

Documentation of activities, outputs, significant events by video, audio or images

Draw in dirt, condensation or frost

Editing existing forms, physical or digital

Email Sign-off, newsletter, build list of interested recipients

Emoji

Engagement designed around the strengths of a place or venue or the temporary use of empty spaces

Essay Edited collection or anthology, submit to publication, publish online in new form

Exercise

Exchange

Exhibition in an art gallery/museum, public or private venues, public or invented spaces, multiple or simultaneous locations

Experiences

Events Internal and external

Fashion

Festival Starting new festival, having a ‘stand’ at, or curating specific elements of existing festival

Film Making, commissioning or screening

Focus group

Fundraiser (event)

Funding Crowd funding

Games

Gesture

Gifting Giving something away for free to a person, group or institution

Graffiti Tagging or mural

Groups Supper club, reading group, walking group, connecting with existing groups or allowing splinter groups to form, societies.

Hacking

Hardware

Highstreet presence

Hologram

Interventions

Interview Written, via phone or in person. Between selected people, primary academic with cited person, curator of research or relevant person of significance. ‘In conversation with…’ filmed and shared

Installations that highlight, cover or subvert

Job

Landscape modifications

Leaflets

Lecture or talk, performance lecture, audience pick topics from ‘library’, using software PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi etc.

Live Streaming

Library or repository

Letters Person to person or open

Make and take

Mathematical equation

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

Maquette

Meeting

Micro-political acts of care

Mugs

Mural Official commission or otherwise

Music

New role, rearranging current roles and responsibilities

Museum Set up new museum or an affiliation with current museum

Open Day Collective ‘Open Doors’ event

Oral histories

Outsourcing

Packaging Pizza boxes, cigarette packets, milk cartons, cereal boxes

Partnerships with individuals, practitioners, charities, organisations or companies

Party

Penny University

Petition

Presentation to an audience, made in to online video with spliced slides, fictional, anecdotal

Photographs

Publications Book or e-book, journal, alternative publications

Punditry

Products for sale, for free

Postcards

Podcast Audio, video, recorded or live

Press conference

Primer Spoken or otherwise to prepare audience for ‘main’ event

Private view

Projection mapping

Radio waves into space

Reading room

Reenactment

Resources Physical or digital

Restaurant

Reviews

Report

Scanning Creating a 3-D printing file

School

Social media Posting or contributing to discourse

Social practices

Software

Spaces

Speed dating Between predetermined participants or otherwise

Sponsorship

Stickers

Storytelling

Subtitles Other language, critique, commentary

Systems and protocols Writing new, editing existing

Takeover

Tannoy

Therapy

Theatre Play, re-enactment or immersive. On location or in a theatre

Transcript

Tutorial In person, via video or step-by-step guide

Tours Physical or audio

Training

Translation Language

Upskilling

Visits Studio, lab or location visits by publics, groups, students or school parties

Video

Video appendices

Visual footnotes

Virtual reality (VR)

Word of mouth

Workshop

Website

Webinar

Wedding favours

Writing Poetry, the invention of a new word, a work of fiction, quote from a text placed elsewhere

YouTube channel

 

The act of selecting can be seen as an activity within the impact pathway. When selecting a tool, we think carefully about the aims and objectives of the research at hand and the conceptual appropriateness of the tool. As before; INFO + TOOL = OUTPUT. Here is the place which we can break with tradition and experiment with all sorts of potentially valuable combinations. Numerous outputs can be selected and put in to production on a case-by-case basis, each designed to reach and engage audiences, but relating back to each other in order to maintain a consistent identity.

Further questions can also be posed; How and where will the outputs appear? Can you make a combination or cross-pollination? Is there potential for an output to display data or even collect data? Who will produce them? Who is doing the selecting? How will you document your outputs and activities, or do they act as documentation in their own right?