Focus Artistic Research

Artist-Philosophers. Philosophy as Arts-Based Research.

Arno Böhler

Institute for Art Sciences and Art Education

From the very beginning of European philosophy in ancient Greece the relation between philosophy and arts has been highly problematic. On the one hand we find “artist-philosophers” like Plato or Nietzsche, whose philosophical investigations used artistic practices to demonstrate their thoughts; on the other hand philosophy has been extremly hostile to such practices, especially since Plato himself banned a wide range of arts from his ideal state ruled by philosophers. Philosophers, since then, have often even opposed arts, claiming that they were doing science (reasoning) rather than “art”––which they equal with “poetry”, based on fiction and pure imaginations.
Through his conception of the “Künstlerphilosoph” (artist-philosopher), Nietzsche probably questioned this Socratic image of philosophy most profoundly, since this conceptual persona longs for a new kind of post-Socratic “philosophers to come” who are ready to do philosophy in an almost “anti-Platonic” manner by precisely crossing-over the disciplines of arts and science. Not to mind their gap, but in order to find a new (anti-Platonic) relation between philosophy and arts that will produce a different kind of philosophy and new forms of philosophy-based art in the end.
In accordance with this historical demand, our PEEK-project aims to develop a research performance in which philosophy is methodologically and conceptually demonstrated as a matter of arts-based research rather then a “pure” science. 
This aim ought to be realized by organizing a research-festival “Philosophy On Stage#4” at Tanzquartier Vienna, in the context of which artists, philosophers and scientists will collaborate to demonstrate on stage their theoria on Zarathustra. The Artist Philosopher both in a scientific and an artistic manner. Thereby they will have to demonstrate anwers to research questions such as: What happens to the traditional image of philosophy and arts, once philosophers and artists are called to stage their thoughts and implement arts-based research practices for the demonstration of their ideas? Can Nietzsche’s notion of the artist-philosopher help us to understand what performing philosophy as a kind of arts-based research could mean?
This project will be carried out in close co-operation between the University of Applied Arts Vienna, University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (MRS), University of Bremen, University of Surrey, University of Applied Arts Zurich and Tanzquartier Vienna. It will consolidate and enhance the international research of the worldwide growing network working on the edge of Philosophy & Performance.