The artistic research project Illuminating the Non-Representable was launched with a symposium that invited guests from cross-disciplinary artistic practices to investigate and discuss the transformative role of illustration in contemporary communication. At the center is the discussion of what defines illustration practices in our times, and what ethics and challenges are connected to this.
IN-R Symposium 2: Materiality, Space & Embodiment (2021) was the second of the symposia linked to the three-year project funded by the Norwegian Artistic Research Program. This virtual artistic research symposium explored how illustration can offer insight and meet social needs through engagement with complex materialities. A 3-day symposium highlighted the keynote speakers: Prof. Nina Sabnani (India), Prof. Johanna Drucker (USA) and Senior Research Fellow Sarah Bodman (UK) as well as artists, and designers, to engage in tailor-made workshops, and live exchanges that explored the diverse landscape that has unfolded through social transformations, technological changes and novel approaches in illustration.
The final symposium of the artistic research project Illuminating the Non-Representable was called Illustration and the Non-Representable (IN-R) and took place on June 29th, 2023 at the Falstad Centre, a museum, memorial, and human rights center in Ekne in Levanger. This symposium followed up the preceding gatherings Transposition as Artistic Practice (2020), Materiality, Space and Embodiment (2021), and Work in Progress (March 2023), where the international network of the project together with invited guests have presented explored and discussed topics relevant to the research development of the project. The main research question along the journey has been:
How can an expanded approach to illustration communicate profound human issues typically considered non-representable?
Representation and the narratives of “us” and “the others” through illustration was the common denominator for our cross-disciplinary projects. In the final symposium we invited guest speakers who through their work approach similar topics as well people from our IN-R network that have been vital to the discussions and development of the four work packages in the project.
We warmly thank the Falstad Centre for hosting this symposium, the University of Bergen and the Norwegian Programme for Artistic Research for funding the project. We would also like to thank the project leaders who have so bravely conducted the cross-disciplinary and collaboratory research, resulting in illuminations and illustrations that challenge the limits of illustration. A warm thank goes also to our international guests; Catherine Anyango Grünewald, Ilgım Veryeri Alaca, Susan Doyle, Jaleen Grove, Nanette Hoogslag, and Stephanie Black. And to all who have helped us develop the project throughout these years: Thank you!