research symposium — Not Quite King, Not Quite Fish ‘23 

Vilnius Academy of Arts

not quite king, not quite fish

Artistic Research Symposium, 8-11 November 2023, SODAS 2123 Cultural Center, Vilnius, Lithuania

Format/duration: A three-day discursive and performative knowledge event, where humans and more-than-humans interact in embodied ways, using a set of discussion prompts.

Techniques: Curated open call, collaborative selection, installations, exhibited artworks or artefacts, common spaces, care for details in the logistics of meals and drinks, timetable, and communication, collective reflection sessions, artist talks, artist-led workshops, time-keeping, decorative touches, collectively initiated graphic design

Materials: projections, objects, digital files, music and sound, foldable notebook, paper, color pencil, eco-painting materials, humans, knowledge, language, physical space

The symposium Not Quite King, Not Quite Fish was a three-day international event for practitioners of fine arts, cinema, dance, architecture and design. Hosted by current doctoral candidates of the Vilnius Academy of Art and the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy, the event employed the disciplinary diversity of practice-based artistic research. In this broad field, the real and fictive expectations of art making and research collide and fold into each other. With contributors from all over the world, the three-day program explored durational and performative forms of presentation and collective experimentation as research.

Initially the program, curated by doctoral students, included four thematic streams. The Architecture, Art, Bureaucracy cluster treated  bureaucracy as a space of intervention. Flying Potatoes sought to refuse commodification. Microscopic Gestures explored the critical potential of cinema when performed with the ongoing vitality of the process itself. Empathy and Ecology examined ideas of co-worlding and tacitly shared artworks that collaboratively emerged with(in) ecological systems. The event was designed to facilitate the conversation between practitioners, practices, approaches and beliefs about disciplinarity, research and the promise of communicating artworks as epistemic things.

Organisers of the symposium began to refer affectionately  to the symposium as beast, however with time they came to see this beast as a single “epistemic” event that was negotiated materially over several months.

Seven core questions framed the symposium and anchored the discussion throughout the event.

These questions were:

  • What atmosphere do you do research/art in?
  • How can we capture, express and be present with the ebb and flow of experimentation?
  • How might we dismantle hierarchies of authorship, participation and experiencing?
  • How do you share your practice?
  • How do you end?
  • How do you trace knowledge in practice / research?
  • What relationships between idea, technique, medium and method exist in ………………..?

Beginning with the ethos that looking at the ways other people work will always bring value to one's own work and that nothing is ever done alone or for the first time, “Not Quite King, Not Quite Fish’ opened with sharing the organising committee’s hopes for the vibe of the symposium.

Organisers of the symposium were: Jan Glöckner, Gabriele Gervickaite, Sophie Durand, Povilas Marozas, Migle Krizinauskaite-Bernotiene, Greta Grineviciute, Rasa Janciauskaite, and Miklós Ambrózy.

Presenters included: Dr. Audronė Žukauskaitė, Paulina Pukytė, Ben Spatz, Yen Chun Lin, Joseph Gold Hendel, Nina Liebenberg, Dániel Máté, Ulvi Haagensen, Dr. Maren Witte, Hannah Foley, Dr Madeleine Trigg, Fadwa Bouziane, Alessio Alonne and Sei Iturriaga Sauco, Kateřina Olivová, Janina Hoth, Darren O’Brien,  Jürgen Buchinger, Caitlin Magda Shepherd, Katharina Swoboda, Eglė Grėbliauskaitė, Ruth Anderwald + Leonhard Grond and Leo Hosp, Coby-Rae Crosbie, Elise Adamsrød, George Finley Ramsey, Maija Demitere, Jasper Llewellyn and Daniel S. Evans, Polina Golovátina-Mora, Lydia Debeer, Arnas Anskaitis, Pedro Florencio, Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė.