Meth 3 - Experimentation

The empirical part of our work comes with experimentation, our third method in the triad. Through experiments in the Aesthetic Lab – an arts-based research approach developed in the context of the EGM project – we will be testing hypotheses resulting from our conceptualization efforts. Thus we will assess the soundness of our approaches. Sensual apprehension – listening, seeing – will be the ultimate judge in our process, based on criteria defined through conceptualization. Phenomenological analysis will help us to achieve a critical distance from our experiences, eventually provoking new ideas for refinement or even new paths, both at the level of the modelling as at the level of the conception.

Grossly speaking, there will be two types of scenarios which will be conceived, modelled, and experimented within the Aesthetic Lab. The first type – the test case – is designed to analyse isolated technical questions, to learn how to deal with our laboratory working context and the material means at our disposal, to try out specific loudspeaker types or setups, or test the developed environment for composition and performance. The second type – the case study – forms the methodological backbone of our approach and represents, in its completed and documented form, a central type of project result. Music has, along the centuries, developed a crucial concept of form, the Study, which simply adjusts perfectly to our needs here. A relatively short piece, artistically unhindered, focusing on a particular question, be it technical, formal or aesthetical, integrating it in a compositional context. Through the case study, each component in our system of methods will interact with the others (see figure in Methodology). The case studies will serve, furthermore, as a basis for our networking and dissemnination activities (c.f. section Dissemination).

In his classification of research activites related to the arts, Borgdorff distinguishes between research "on", "for", and "in" the arts [Borgdorff 2007] and understands the last one as the genuine form of to arts-based research. From a certain point of view, the conceptualization and modelling components of our system of research methods show an analogy to the composition and écriture aspects of the compositional practice. Thus, a close integration of the artistic practice and research can be achieved with our methodological choices, approaching Borgdorff's ideal of a "research in the arts". But it can also be seen, that our approach based on the artistic case study, which integrates all project activities, is dependent on "research for the arts" (e.g. the development of a software environment) and "research on the art" (e.g. the interdisciplinary study of the spatial) as a prerequisite for a "research in the arts".