The Impossible Constellation

During a SHARE conference into Artistic Research at the University of Vienna in 2013, Professor Ruta Mateus-Berr used the term “an impossible constellation” in her introductory presentation to try to describe the multitude of contradictory methods, understandings, agendas and histories which could be applied to the range of Artistic Research being undertaken in her Department. This seems an extraordinarily appropriate term for Art and Artistic Research more generally. By acknowledging the impossibility of any attempt to delineate or frame a singular classification of what might constitute Artistic Research, yet by continuing to explore the territory regardless, it echoes the very nature of much artistic practice, which is, it be might suggested, one of the most capable methods we may have of working with and within complexities, contradictions, impossibilities and multiple perspectives.

Our event The Impossible Constellation is a cross between a festival and a conference, celebrating practice-led research and launching a series of events linking practice with research in the University of Lincoln’s College of Arts. The Impossible Constellation is organised jointly by colleagues in Art and Design, Media, and Performing Arts. In the spirit of artistic research/practice-led research, the entire event celebrates a spirit of cross-college collaboration, exploring and articulating all manner of creative practices as areas of research and vice versa.

We are thrilled to have attracted an exciting line-up of contributors—artists, researchers and practitioners from all manner of different arts practices—who will present their performances installations, and interactive games throughout the day. The emphasis of The Impossible Constellation is on letting the practice speak for itself, though any provocation or interrogation of the dynamics and tensions which exist at the practice/research intersections—from performers, attenders and participants—will be welcome and inevitable.

More than anything, today is about celebrating practice as research and research as practice, a celebration for everyone to end the year with something to stimulate, excite and provoke.

We would like to welcome all of you to the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre and to The Impossible Constellation.

Sarah Barrow, Dominic Symonds, Grethe Mitchell and Steve Dutton