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  • Writer's pictureKim Myer




This week’s blog task asks us to create a self-portrait of our practitioner self through a medium of choice. The purpose is to formulate a research question through the creative process. Drawing on homage, nostalgia and phenomenology, this inquiry interrogates the ambiguity surrounding art as knowledge.

The outcome was an audio collage reflecting the ambiguity surrounding creativity as research! The piece mirrors my internal questioning process and portrays the complexity in expressing musical experience in words.

Positioning art within an academic framework requires both practise and inquiry to come together with intention. As Borgdorff claims, “Art practise qualifies as research if its purpose is to expand our knowledge and understanding by conducting an original investigation in and through art objects and creative processes.” (p.2, 2007). While I agree and understand art can be research, in the context of my own practise, applying intellectualism and self-critique is something new. It’s not necessarily a case of unlearning but more of rethinking and building upon.

To pursue academic research though artistic practise one must pose a question and go on a journey of discovery. According to McNiff, during the process of discovery other questions may formulate and the inquiry might take unexpected twists and turns. Some may even arrive at a position which invalidates an original theory or reveals no definitive answer at all. (2008)

Using descriptive language to understand subjective experience is a challenge in and of itself, let alone designing a research question that is unique, comprehensive, not too personal, and contributes to knowledge. This process, as McNiff describes is “characterised by a crucible of tensions, struggles, and a certain degree of chaos.” (p.39) This idea of chaos and discursive deconstruction drew me back to John Cage, and his album ‘Darmstadt Aural Document.’

Cages dialogical and deconstructive approach to music creation questions the very essence of the process of composition. Favouring himself to be more of an inventor than composer, Cage’s “experiments with chance, silence, and ‘discreet’ music in his compositions were a means to radically question and upend the received classical music tradition.” (Perloff, 2002. p. 64) Inspired by Cage’s deconstructive style, I depart theory and look to my creative practice. Can I make an audio piece reflecting the ambiguities surrounding creativity as research?


Pro Tools Session

Import Audio

Cut up material

Reposition randomly along time line

Edit, cut, mix and refine

I remixed instrumental parts of some of my songs and overlayed them with dialogues from John Cage, Rudolph Steiner, Alan Watts, J. Krishamurti, and special guest John. F. Kennedy. The excerpts drawn from an array of my recorded tracks in the key of AM. The idea was to have a blank canvas to throw around ideas, Pollock style. I wasn’t sure of the outcome but I did trust the workflow and the tools at hand would move me in the right direction. I used other people’s theories to build a bridge between what I wanted to say and what others have said before.


The outcome was an audio collage reflecting the ambiguity surrounding creativity as research! The piece mirrors my internal questioning process and portrays the complexity in expressing musical experience in words.

Can I create a piece of music that reflects the challenges of designing a research question? I think the results are open ended. The deconstructive nature perhaps opening more lines of inquiry than expected.

Some questions that developed through the process were: What is the essence of music? How can you look at creativity in a new way? Is it possible to create a system of artistic inquiry through remixing and refining old ideas?


Borgdorff, H. (2007). The debate on research in the arts. Dutch Journal of Music Theory, 12 910, pp. 1-17

Cage, J. Composition as process: Darmstadt Aural Document

Chem is Try. (2020, January, 11). Reality, Art and Illusion Part 1. Chem is Try. [Video}. YouTube.

McNiff, S. (2008). Art-based research. In J. G. Knowles & A. L. Cole Eds. Handbook of the arts in qualitative research: Perspectives, methodologies, examples, and issues (pp. 29-40). Los Angeles: Sage

Perloff, N. (2002). “The right to be myself, as long as I Live! As if I were a sound.” Postmodernism and the Music of John Cage. In: H. Bertens and J. Natoli, ed Postmodernism: The Key Figures, Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, pp. 62-69.

Rudolph Steiner Press. (2019, April 14). The Lemurian Race. [Video]. YouTube.

Rudolph Steiner Press. (2021, November 7). Mineral consciousness and Plant Consciousness. [Video]. YouTube.

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Through this creative inquiry I came to understand what music represents to me. By means of improvisation and experimentation, the track developed into a thing in and of itself, transcending the need


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