Judith Marlen Dobler

Potsdam University

Twitter: @JudDob

Imagining together. Epistemic Potentials of Collaborative Drawing Practices

My artistic research project aims at examining the phenomenon of drawing as a collective activity. Hereby, drawing (and its associated communication) is regarded as a collaborative practice of visualization and reflection. Starting point of the project is the assumption that the cultural technique of drawing activity is not limited solely to artistic creation or design practices, but participates in the formation and creation of various disciplinary paradigms in a non-verbal manner. In particular, visual thinking practices based on drawing interactions in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) will be taken into consideration.

But how can insights of graphic collaborations become visible as they are expressed in the intermediate space of notation and verbal communication? In order to address this issue, the project seeks to visualize and reflect the nonverbal communicative and interactive potential of drawing through a well-founded analysis of historical practices, a qualitative selection of case studies and through drawing experiments.

By quoting an example, I would like to explain my research interest: I have conducted a research workshop for interdisciplinary researchers, who should visualize their research projects through drawings and written annotations in group exercises. As supervisor I did not participate in the drawing process, but was an external observer. What struck me was that there is a strong discrepancy between the experience of participating in the drawing process and the external observation of the activity. Thus, the experiential and epistemic potentials that take place in such processes, become neither visible in the moment of observation nor in the notation itself. Although I knew what happens in a drawing process through my practical experience, this process stayed invisible to me from the outside.

Therefore, the hypothesis of my project is that the insights of drawing usually become apparent only in the common experience and activity of visualisation. By considering the close relation between body, mind, media and social experience during the drawing action it should become more comprehensible how the various interdependencies and the processes of action‐based and artistic knowledge can be made visible. With my project I am attempting to let the collective drawing action emerge in the intermediality of thinking and visualization as a distinct form of knowledge.

A central focus of my research is the interaction of the human body with analogue, hybrid and digital media. Thus, the thesis formulates questions concerning authorship, action‐based knowledge, Human‐Computer-Interaction and the use of tools and technologies in artistic and scientific knowledge processes of the present.