Francis MA (2009) Discussion paper from the working groupon 'situational fiction', Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London: On the value of 'Situational Fiction' for an artist’s writing’. Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, vol. 2, no. 2 , pp. 151-158
Building on the approach and argument taken in 'In the Café Flaubert', this article extends Francis’ work on art-writing and thinking through writing. Through a focused investigation into what Francis terms 'situational fiction', this article engages with previous discussions on fictional art-writing (e.g. Krauss, 1994; Walsh, 2005) and investigates the relationship between content, context and mode of address.
Presented originally as both a paper and paper-as-artwork at the Art of Research conference (Chelsea College of Art and Design, 2008), this article shows how the spaces where writing and speaking about art takes place (such as the review, lecture theatre and conference hall) might inform fictional art-writing. At the level of content, Francis argues that, among other things, the use of fiction can assist in resisting a reductive will-to-explanation in art-writing (Sontag, 1961) and can encourage us to approach and understand artwork in more affective and perhaps a more sensuous way.
The use of a fictional formal structure, however, intentionally complicates Francis’ argument - the recursive logic of the argument challenged by the fact that the article itself might be considered a form of ‘situational fiction’. In suggesting that there is a value in art-writings taking on aspects of aesthetic form, this paper looks at how discussions surrounding practice-based research might inform writing about art and art-writing. As such, it suggests that artist-researchers have scope for more closely aligning their art and writing, while being alive to their necessary differences.