In the Western philosophical tradition of thinking about the epistemological value of the arts and the aesthetic, the common understanding is that all knowledge is grounded in reason. This view implies that art is seen as a preliminary stage of cognition and inferior to the intellectual. The current debate around artistic research has revived the debate about the epistemological value of arts and making. Artistic research fosters a practice-based inquiry into aesthetic thinking and knowledge and reveals the urgency of expanding its traditional discourse by involving art itself.
In my research, I understand aesthetic thinking as the process of articulating knowledge in-and-through the process of art making. I investigate lace-making as aesthetic thinking and as spaces of possibility for entanglements of art and research. Lace-making is based on a systematic alternation of twisting, crossing, knotting, and intertwining threads. I consider it a tool for thinking: different strands of knowledge (threads) can be linked together in multiple ways. The generated patterns are integral to the process which produced them. Structurally, following Deleuze and Guattari's idea of the rhizome, lace-making is a rhizomatic process and can be read as a mode of thinking. Potentially, it morphs and shifts its configurations and outputs, grows in all directions, and provides multiple entryways.
My artistic concept links and divides theory and practice. It loosens its philosophical concept in order to entangle in an aesthetic thinking practice. As a practice-based extension of epistemology, I explore ways of articulating artistic knowledge that meet the requirements of academic research and art alike.
What questions does this experimental research enable me to raise aesthetically? Into what dimensions of thinking can it lead? What spaces of artistic knowledge does it open up?
Christine Rafflenbeul (1983) is an artistic researcher based in Hamburg, Germany. She obtained her MA in Fashion, Costume, and Textile Product Design with a focus on Design Research at HAW Hamburg (2021).
In her practice, Rafflenbeul explores spaces of possibility for feminist futures of art and science. Through female handicraft techniques, she investigates practice-based modes of thinking. She aims to make visible a reflective meshwork of situated knowledges in extension to traditional epistemology.
Rafflenbeul is a laureate of 'Ausgezeichnet', the award for outstanding, research-related Masters Theses awarded by the 'Centre for Design Research', HAW Hamburg (2021), and grant recipient of the 'Peer to Peer-Academy' (2021) in Bremen.
She was a guest lecturer at HAW Hamburg (2021) and a contributor to the panel on 'Standards of Good Scientific Practice in Design Research' at the general meeting of the Society for Artistic Research in Germany (2022).
Rafflenbeul is part of the international design-lab 'Re-imagine your city'.