Arts and Ideas in Motion Parkour Project
The Art and Ideas in Motion Parkour Project (AIM) brings research and artistic creation together to develop an account of how artistic and intellectual works and ideas move among people and places. It will study how that movement creates new public spaces for collective discourse and action, and how it makes new communities, often across barriers of language, class, race, sex, age, and nationality. It is the founding project that establishes an original and significant area of scholarly and creative activity within the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas (IPLAI), McGill University. AIM addresses head-on the convention that meaningful discourse and public action and artistic creation are only understandable reflexively and after-the-fact. The project argues for the validity of 'thinking through making' or 'fabricative knowledge': the capacity 'to know' through making and manifest ideas through the creation of artefacts is already (embodied) knowledge. It accomplishes this by structuring an interdisciplinary research-creation project that simultaneously informs and is the object of speculation of three interdependent research axes (Tracing, Play and Artistry), all with explicit goals to articulate, and appropriately represent the movement of art and ideas as well as develop new methodologies in the humanities. AIM gathers diverse disciplines and aspires to disrupt and re-structure conventional expectations and boundaries of those disciplines. We will propose and enact new methodologies and innovative modes of dissemination, and will construct and refine interdisciplinary languages and techniques through a process of active scholarship and participation in research-creation activity. The AIM research program is anchored by an central project that brings together team members in the humanities and artists, performers, and architects to propose alternative disciplinary practices that engages the movement of art and ideas. The image conjured for creating the inaugural project is the urban activity known as parkour, commonly referred to as the art of movement. Those who partake in the art of parkour understand the city in a wholly original manner that overcomes commonly perceived constraints and limitations. The method and manner of such insight is formative and emblematic for AIM. The Parkour Project: the obstacle course for arts, ideas, and publics is the experimental material for the research axes. The project will entail the creation of a multimedia, mobile, expandable and reconfigurable structure upon which performances are carried out in the city, publicly. A multimedia production, supported by leading edge industry partners, will incorporate the information, narratives, and participation of the audiences. Performances, enacted by internationally recognized artist-collaborators, will be devised in relation to diverse venues and audiences that will include dance, opera, music, spoken word, clowning or a combination of several. AIM will engage directly with a diverse participatory audience that will push the work of the three research axes as well as the Parkour project beyond the academy. Ideas resonate in and through works of art through dynamic and synergistic processes that draw together known an unknown forces, objects, people, and issues, and which have a multitude of determinations from serendipitous and contextual to instrumental and technical. As such, Arts and Ideas in Motion Parkour Project will make an original contribution to the advancement of knowledge concerning the way in which artistic practices, methodologies, and works proffer ideas that have specific political, social, epistemological currency thus creating hidden and overt economies through the creation of diverse publics.