Background for the conference is the latest boom in artistic and design research, which produced turbulences and raised critique in established fields of science and regarding university policies due to their allegedly unconventional working principles and »creative« understanding of methods. Metaphors of messiness, blurriness, chaos, and non-linearity seem to play a major role in the methodological discussions of these research disciplines. On the one hand, this discourses aim at accentuating certain characteristics (and myths) of creative production. On the other hand, the debate connects to a tradition of scientific methodology from the 20th century, that addressed the messy and unsteady processes involved in scientific research as well as their interference with creative practices.

In the works of Fleck and Bachelard from the beginning of the 20th century respective depictions of scientific practice are already to be found, that are most notably continued with approaches like »anything goes« (Feyerabend), »bricolage« (Levi-Strauss, Derrida), »parasites« and »mixture« (Serres), or »politics of mess« (Law). They all share the belief, that elements of messiness are neither secondary phenomena in scientific processes, nor that they are to be avoided in a manner of methodological hygiene. They are conceived as rather constitutive for research activities, that are characterized by transitions between different levels of order and run in an unpredictable and open-ended course.

The conference intends to seize the discussion, that recently has been pushed by science studies and historic epistemology, and to intensify it with a critical perspective regarding artisitic and design research practices. The purpose is to escape the confrontation of order and disorder and to avoid stereotypic dichotomies between art and science, in order to enable flexible, adaptive, and variable accounts of research instead.

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