Research is the pursuit of truth, through practices of curiosity and care. Truth does not mean fact rather than fantasy, but the unison of experience and imagination in a world to which we are alive and that is alive to us. Amidst panic that we have entered a ‘post-truth’ era, however, truth itself risks being devalued even by those who spring to its defence. It is reduced to an objectification that only further exacerbates our sense of separation from the things that concern us. In this climate, the meaning of research has been corrupted beyond recognition. It has become an industry of knowledge production, dedicated not to truth but to novelty and impact. How can art restore research to its proper vocation?
Professor Tim Ingold is the Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen. His latest research and teaching is around the connections between anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture (the ‘4 As’), conceived as ways of exploring the relations between human beings and the environments they inhabit. Taking a radically different approach from the conventional anthropologies and archaeologies ‘of’ art and of architecture, which treat artworks and buildings as though they were merely objects of analysis, he is looking at ways of bringing together the 4 As on the level of practice, as mutually enhancing ways of engaging with our surroundings.