RUUKKU 5 Call:

Research gestures

When research gestures become an integral part of an artwork we enter extremely interesting terrain in artistic research. From the viewpoint of traditional science research gestures are seen as justified and critical articulations of an interest in knowledge production. However, in the arts research gestures operate on a much larger area. The aim is not to cumulate knowledge as much as it is to examine its conditions of possibility, and even to engage with that which cannot be known. Already the word "gesture" enables this latitude: sometimes a gesture has a particular purpose and meaning and sometimes one speaks of gestures precisely when something is performed only for show and knowing that it will have no effect. But in the arts even an empty gesture is an action with a form and with consequences. In that way attention paid to gestures can make visible the things and phenomena, which would remain hidden when approached with methods and methodologies, for example.
The vast experiential territory of artistic research produces gestures that operate in the margins and shadows of established forms of knowledge thereby traversing and questioning different categories of knowing. The risks involved include eclecticism, hermeticism and conceptual inaccuracy. However, at their best the research gestures can adopt strategic forms that productively adjust themselves to different contexts and create new relations between things. Gestures are actions and therefore they also open up the questions of authorship and of the agency of the artworks themselves within the field of artistic research. 
This thematic issue focuses on and charts the operative strategies, which prove art to be an influential playground for research gestures. The exposition can take as its starting point the operative form of a research gesture, such as translation, measuring, classification, fragmentation, fiction or adaptation – or the discussion they might engender. It can also take a unique form of its own, which demonstrates its research gestures in another way.  
The expositions can address the following kinds of questions, for example:
What kind of gestures can artistic research perform?
Artistic gestures – research gestures?
The relations between gestures, words and images?
Transformation as a gesture?
Does an artist perform the gesture, or the artwork itself?
Translation as research?
Cultural considerations of gestures?
Manifests and gestures?
Gesture and context?
Operation and gesture?
Does a gesture need translating?
We call for research expositions, project presentations and papers addressing these and other similar questions – which hopefully interest many artist-researchers for this thematic issue of RUUKKU. The issue is edited by Mika Elo and Harri Laakso.
RUUKKU is a multidisciplinary, multilingual, peer-reviewed journal on artistic research launched in 2013. It is based on the Research Catalogue (RC), an international artistic research platform and database that enables multimedia publication. The primary languages of publication are Finnish, Swedish and English. See
We ask you to write your proposals or drafts for research expositions in the RC catalogue at Note! The catalogue requires user rights and registration (see ‘register'). Please submit your proposals via the RC catalogue (‘publish', ‘submit', and ‘Ruukku'), no later than 1 June 2015. Additionally we ask you to send an abstract in advance per email to both editors ( and, no later than 1 May 2015.