The Research Score as a Medium of Artistic Research

This research exposition presents the process and results of the author’s doctoral research at the Performing Arts Research Centre of the Theatre Academy at the University of the Arts Helsinki, and is the final written part—the commentary—to fulfil the degree requirements. The research tackled the division between embodied and conceptual modes of reflection – a problem that is considered a key challenge for research into performer training. Crafted around Body Weather performance training, the research explored the epistemic potential of a touch-based body practice called the Manipulations, and engendered the transformation of this practice into a medium of artistic research—the research score—which is both the main method and outcome of the research. In the commentary, the research score is considered to be a way of facilitating unfinished thinking that dissolves the division between physical practice and conceptual reflection, and which enables a shift from a representational towards a post-humanist performative model of knowing. Unfinished thinking is not the property of an individual, intentional, agential subject, but emerges from within an expanded network of inter-corporeal relations; it expresses thought without uncoupling language from its affective tonality, and it defies definite statements. The commentary covers a broad range of theoretical considerations on embodiment, materiality, (bodily) knowledge, technique, and reflection, and thus contributes to the debate on the epistemology and methodology of artistic research. Combining analytical and descriptive forms of scholarly writing with performative modes of experimental writing, the commentary expands the format of academic dissertation writing and offers new knowledge to the fields of dance (research), performance (research), performer training, and artistic research.