from Graeme Sullivan

Hello Cinzia,

I’ve enjoyed reading the ‘Thinking Practices’ blog, but had trouble on the
first attempt to post a comment – so I thought I’d email you in the first
instance, and try again later.

In case you’re wondering, it’s Graeme Sullivan here – I came across the blog
when in London at the end of last year but was not in a position to respond,
so I’d like to add a couple of comments. I found the discussion about
Chapter 5 of Art Practice as Research to be especially informative. I
understand the concern over what may be seem to be an overly formal
diagrammatic effort to bring unruly things together. The apparent separation
of ‘making’ contexts in Chapter 5 and the dilemma this poses in wanting to
find a place to position an individual arts practice shouldn’t really be a
forced choice. Throughout the book where I look at other apparently
discordant forms, be it research paradigms, cognitive capacities and the
like, they are all much less formal in reality than in print.

In defense of the diagrammatic approach, a good part of the reasoning for
using these strategies is that most of the graduate students I work with
‘think’ in images so this becomes our language (e.g. they create wonderful
visual literature reviews, where, like curating an art exhibition, they have
to commit to constructing themes around an idea that is informed by other,
but owned by them ­ and they need to Œsee¹ it, whether in wire, string,
cardboard, or metaphor).

Let me give an example. There is a good point raised in the blog about the
inadequacy in how to accommodate a “21st century connected urbanized
reality” within some kind of tight diagram – great comment. But the
triangular structure shown is not an attempt to fix reference points – quite
the opposite – and here one sees the limits of what can be frozen into a
diagram. A better way to appreciate the structure is to view the animated
version that can’t be lodged in the book. You need to go to my blog: – and scroll down until you see a version of the triangular structure – and you’ll see a video clip – it’s an animation
that runs about 17 seconds (click/watch twice to get the right speed).
Somewhere in this constantly shifting ‘in between’ space is where we find a
lot of what it is we do.

So I’ve very much appreciated your blog. Incidentally I’m currently writing
a new edition of Art Practice as Research that is due out later in the year.
I’ve now had a few years to road test some of the ideas and the next version
will be better for the kind of comments made on this blog – so I thank you.


Graeme Sullivan

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