Artist's Poetics


Building Garments: Researching Fashion Design through Architecture

Research project
Fellow: Verschueren Alexandra
Principal investigator: Vanhoutte Kurt
Tag: Artist’s Poetics
Duration: 1/10/2011-30/9/2014
This project is aimed at a doctorate in the arts, in the field of fashion design. Its outcome will be an innovative collection based on academic research and technological experimentation which – together with a description of the design processes themselves – will be reported on in a logbook). The specific orientation of the doctorate is an integration of creative processes at the point of overlap between the practices of architecture and fashion design.
The contextual academic research will concentrate on past and present forms of mutual influence and collaboration between these two artistic and technical domains; this will also include depth- interviews with prominent practitioners. Experiments will be conducted with fabrics, colors, shapes and silhouettes.
The collection to be designed and created (from drawing via try-outs to production) will experiment with the tension between innovative aesthetics, rational principles of construction and wearability; it will make use of architectural principles adapted to clothing, and of advanced technologies, while seeking a balance with traditional materials and techniques.

Making a Scene: Sentimentalism in the Silent Cinema of Mary Pickford and Frances Marion

Research project
Fellow: Brouwers Anke
Principal investigator: Liska Vivian
Tag: Artist’s Poetics
Duration: 01/10/2005 - 30/9/2010
While it has proven fruitful to think of cinema in this modern context, the blatant sentimentality of silent film on the level of plot (narrative structure, characterisation, motivation and theme), on the level of function or purpose (an exercise of the emotions), on the level of style (the use of sentimental This recent study has aimed to reconceptualize silent film history from the vantage point of sentimentalism, a consistently marginalized yet constitutive historical formation. The traces of sentimentalism in its various guises and incarnations -from popular literature to ethical thought and social reform- in silent cinema’s form, content, function, strategies, effects, and aesthetics have for a long time been overlooked or have been interpreted negatively in film studies.
The bulk of research done on the history of silent cinema has focused on film’s relationship to modernity, a relationship that is explained as logical, inevitable, causal, and central, leaving little or no room to consider other shaping constituents not captured under the umbrella of modernism.
While cinema’s material shape and technological application need to be thought as modern (both photosensitive material and its projection are modern inventions or discoveries), what it does and how it does it (and why), does not require modernity or modernist aesthetics as a dominant shaping force as either legitimation or explanation.
Strategies or embellishments such as tableaux, double-exposure, over-acting, direct address, moralizing editorial inter-titles or montage sequences), as well as on the level of women’s history (women with a decidedly sentimental “education” flocking into movie-acting, -writing and –directing) had not been investigated. Affect, sensation, passion, pathos, empathy and emotion, within a modernist framework all problematical or weighty terms, are central to early cinema and gain meaning and significance when explained from a sentimental(ist) point of view.
Next to these challenging terms, it is striking to note how comparatively few (if any) in-depth studies exist on women such as Mary Pickford and Frances Marion, both instrumental in the development and evolution of Hollywood film practice on all levels of production. These are women that history and academic traditions have marginalized even if they were not, in their day, marginal themselves.
A corrective in two directions was therefore warranted: a reassessment of sentimentalism vis-à-vis modernism and its contemporary and current critical reputation as well as a critical reappraisal of two important women in film history through an affirmative and constructive use of the concept of sentimentalism.

Optimization of the expressive power of actors / dancers on the basis of the method of Biological Acting

Research project
Principal investigator: Van den Dries Luk
Duration: 01/01/2013 - 31/12/2014
Tag: Artist’s Poetics
The main objective of this research project is to optimize the expressive power of actors / dancers. This is done on the basis of the training method of the renowned Flemish artist Jan Fabre based on a combination of inner experience and physical stress. This combined form is called ''biological acting'' which calls upon a strong commitment of the physical capabilities of the actors, and is regarded as a form of physical stress. This method is further refined in this project and parameterized on the basis of measuring stress through "Heart rate variability" (HRV), a measure of the amount of reserve that the physiology of the sympathetic / parasympathetic system displays in stress load. Also the expressive powers of the actor/dancer is measured using a neurological measurement of a test audience.

The Borrowed Gaze. Research of the Use of Displacement in Time and Space of the Photographical Image of the Past in the Paintings of Karin Hanssen

Research project
Fellow: Hanssen Karin
Principal investigator: Vanhoutte Kurt
Tag: Artist’s Poetics
Duration: 01/01/2010 - 31/12/2011
The purpose of the research is to see how the flashback operates in figurative contemporary painting and to define its meaning, form and use from a practical and a theoretical point of view.
This research of the flashback will take the work of Karin Hanssen (new and existing) as a point of departure. This will undergo a comparative study with the work of other contemporary artists.
The kind of image that is used as source material and selected for this research is the public conventional photographic image from the recent past (ca. 1950-ca.1980).