Performing Research is a way of working that has been developed over the last 15 years. It starts by reclaiming our sense of research: Everybody’s research, that is driven by desires and wants As an inclusive method it combines, academic and artistic approaches to playfully shift from individual to collective research. In this process the sense of research and the sense of possibility belong together and form the improbability drive: we will only continue to explore if we believe that what we wish for can become reality.
Sibylle Peters has many years of experience in Performing Research, giving workshops, lectures and working as an advisor for universities, municipalities, art institutions and a wide spectrum of projects between art, academia and civil society.
Doing research is actually something very simple. We all do it as soon as we enter this world. We want something – master something, experience something, absorb something, have something, achieve something – and so we try. Mostly, it does not work out the first time. So we try again. And hence research has already begun. In our early years we often have amazing results. Indeed we succeed in standing, walking, speaking, drawing; no wonder that for a while we think that everything is possible: If you can learn to speak, why not to perform magic or to fly? And as a matter of fact, we as humans have learned many things that appeared to be magic. However, we have not achieved that on our own, but together with others, in complex constellations of beings and things. But instead of growing into this joint research, society teaches us something completely different. We learn that certain wishes can be fulfilled and others cannot (at least not for us), and that there are prescribed ways that have to be followed in order to fulfill the more realistic ones. This system of probability is disastrous for our sense of research. It wastes away, and then a societal division of labour takes effect: Research becomes something that only a few can afford to do, something, the few claim to do for the many. If we want knowledge society to be a democracy, we have to change that. We have to claim the right to research for everybody and make institutions of science and of culture accountable to provide the means for this right to be exercised.