PuB-Topos. Art research, the public house and the dialectics of knowledge

Ferguson, Nicholas Patrick and Kim, Kyoung (2015) PuB-Topos. Art research, the public house and the dialectics of knowledge. In: Transvaluation: Making the World Matter; 21-22 May 2015, Gothenburg, Sweden. (Unpublished)


This paper invites critical reflection on the English public house as a distinctive and significant site of knowledge production, and on ‘pub knowledge’ as that which is informally and unquantifiably produced in the pub. Night-time idea exchange – half-remembered and not infrequently fuelled by alcohol – that later issue moments of clarity and connection previously absent in a line of enquiry, is part of a longstanding Western tradition that understands knowledge-making as a dialectical process of ‘drunken’ and ‘sober’ thought. Yet dominant indicator-driven research cultures have neglected this dialectic, reining in the methodological protocols of what counts as knowledge, as well as the spatial and temporal conditions of its production. Should artists be in need of a critical vantage point on the aesthetics of sobriety, or in search of a space for collective and expansive, if not unproblematic making and thinking, ‘the local’ may well be worth the trip.

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