I Hear Voices in Everything! – Step by Step is a practise-based dissertation in fine arts. It includes three art exhibitions, independent art works and an essay. It discusses the role of the artist and the making of art mainly through the ideas of the Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin (1875-1975) and by reflecting on similarities between the artist and the curator. The aim is to use theory to discuss art, and vice versa.
In the first section, the methodological relevance is addressed as is the reasonability of using Bakhtin in this context. Bakhtin’s dialogical philosophy concerns man’s being as a whole, that is, it is through dialogical relations man is constituted. Here, man, and also art in general, is understood by Bakhtin as being temporary meeting places for artworks, readers, artists, protagonists, history etc. The essay in itself also endeavours to be dialogical and polyphonic by including different voices such as fictional characters, real comments, emails, letters and quotes.
In the second section the practice of making art is discussed. Can one, by using Bakhtin, also regard an artwork as a meeting place for language (in its broad sense) so as to include physical material, skill, and experience; and hence, if one could regard the artist as a kind of curator, and vice versa? Is there then any relevant difference between organising language into an artwork or into an exhibition?
In the third section focuses on the artworks and exhibitions of the research project. One exhibition was a mix of the researchers’s own artworks and works by other artists, the second included only works by other artists, and the third was a solo exhibition. The central theme of, or the catalyst for, the works of art in the dissertation is repetition. These artworks are: Sleeper, a collection of essays on the ingredients of a tuna fish casserole published as one exclusive copy in Russian and smuggled into the Lenin library; Thessaloniki Revisited, a video of a reading of a short story; Spin-Off, a video where an actor reads a curse; Sharing a Square, a documentary-based video of a ritual drumming session in Calanda, Spain, and Erich P., an artwork based on an embassy to Russia in 1673 and on contrafactual archaeology.
The last part of the dissertation’s title “Step by Step” refers to an art project called Taking Over. The project deals with different aspects of power relations. Being an integral part of this larger and thematic art project, the dissertation also refers to different aspects of power in relation to the artist’s position both inside and outside academia. It also underlines that artistic research is part of a wider artistic practice.