I think that my job is to observe people and the world, and not to judge them. I always hope to position myself away from so-called conclusions. I would like to leave everything wide open to all the possibilities in the world.
– Haruki Murakami
What interests me about Murakami’s statement is that it works paradoxically against the potential for art and arts-based research to clarify, reduce and generate certainty. I don’t mean that certainty is something to be avoided, but rather that resisting conclusions is valuable in how we think and talk about our work as artists (regardless of the context within which we are working).
But how is it valuable?
Consumer capitalism demands certainty – how much money we make, what we are prepared to buy, our likes and dislikes, our economic value to society – and in generating problems or ideas that are inconclusive, I imagine the smallest kind of reconfiguring of how I am able to participate in this economy. This occurs at various levels, but the one I am most involved in is higher education in the UK. What are the ramifications of being what is called an ‘active researcher’ in higher education and then to to only produce inconclusive ideas and projects?