TrainWreck, or The Failures of Infrastructure: reflections on a Creative People and Place project
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This reflective text considers the ‘failures of infrastructure’ from the perspective of a researcher involved in a participatory art project funded by Creative People and Places. It uses a single project to act as a microcosm of the practice in general, and encourage the field as a whole to take stock of how artists’ research is expected to occur. It has very consciously not discussed the methods or methodologies of the ‘what’ or ‘why’ of the artistic research undertaken, but rather focuses on the human element of doing artistic research, exploring this from a personal perspective. It has done so to give credence to the notions put forward by Howard S. Becker as long ago as 1984 regarding the interconnectedness of artistic processes to other elements of human existence, and the extent to which infrastructure affects artistic (or artistic research) production. Artists/artist-researchers cannot therefore operate as isolated islands, but rather must consider all the elements around them that impact their work: this includes an understanding of the ‘personal’. It is relevant to – and explores the intersection of – the fields of cultural policy (i.e., government/organisations), cultural management (arts organisations/institutions) and cultural production (i.e., artists/communities), as it concerns the infrastructure that links those fields together.