Date of Publishing:
April 21, 2016

2016 © Benedek, Jauk & Kerschenbauer

Interim Report on ‘Living in a Dizzying World’

Mathias Benedek, Emanuel Jauk & Kevin Kerschenbauer

A central goal of the artistic research project Dizziness–A Resource is to gain a better understanding of the role of dizziness in the artistic process. As one approach towards this goal, Ruth Anderwald + Leonhard Grond (Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna) teamed up with psychologists from the University of Graz (Mathias Benedek, Emanuel Jauk and Kevin Kerschenbauer) as well as with Katrin Bucher Trantow (chief-curator of the Kunsthaus Graz) to conduct an empirical investigation. The aim of this investigation was to identify indicators of dizziness during the creation of art, and to examine the relevance of dizziness for the creative process. This project resulted in a unique collaboration between artists and scientists.

A main challenge of this investigation was to establish a valid but yet well-defined setting for the study of the artistic process. We invited artists to create a time-based work of art (film, video) of less than 10 minutes for an art competition, the invitation was accompanied by a survey. The main award of the competition is inclusion of the artwork in an international group exhibition based on the theme Dizziness–A Resource, in 2017 at Kunsthaus Graz. The 2nd to 4th prizes will see the works presented at an artist’s lecture at Kunsthaus Graz, autumn 2016. Participants of the competition agreed to also participate in the accompanying survey. Over 40 artists and artist groups from all over the world (Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, UK, US and SA) signed up for this art competition.

© Mathias Benedek

The artists first completed an online questionnaire, where they provided information on their experience as artists and their working environment. Additionally, the questionnaire included measures of personality and divergent thinking ability. The actual start of the art competition was on January 18, 2016. On that day the participants received a quote by David Bowie “Turn and face the strange”, and were asked to take it as an inspiration for their work. The artists now had two weeks to complete their art work. During these two weeks they answered a short but daily questionnaire via a Smartphone app or online. The questions referred to the artistic process, the satisfaction and feelings connected to the work. Posing the same questions every day allows tracking of their artistic process in terms of changes in responses over time. On February 1, the art works were submitted via an online platform.

At the end of March, the jury consisting of Katrin Bucher (chief curator at Kunsthaus Graz, Austria), Sergio Edelsztein, (director of CCA–Tel Aviv), and Anna Jeromleawa (artist) met in Tel Aviv, where they screened and evaluated the submitted art works. Meanwhile, the psychologists from the University of Graz are concerned with preprocessing and analysing the data gathered in this study. At this point we like to thank all the participants who contributed to both the art competition and the survey. We are excited to soon announce the winners of the art competition and to follow up with first findings from the survey.