Sal's Trimester Summary

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Over the last six sessions, Steve has established a framework to guide our writing that follows a “What, How, Why” structure. This structure provides a clear method to organize our understanding of (art)work. The “What” establishes the sensory/physical experience of interacting with a work as well as the formal qualities of the work. The “How” provides a space to describe the processes, tools or materials used by a work, revealing something about the artist’s methodologies and craft. The “Why” in turn provides space for critical analysis and interpretation, having established how the work operates in space, and how it operates on the spectator. Steve has brought us to apply this method to work seen in galleries (Witte de With, TENT), and our own work.

Steve has also encouraged notetaking as a part of active listening and reading. Through recorded discussions and readings, notetaking is established as an essential part of engaging the material, along with the more passive acts of listening/reading. Similar to the “What, How, Why” method, writing as a tool for listening/reading encourages active participation of the listener/reader. Writing not only functions as a repository of summary notes for later use, but also as an encouragement of mental interpretation and memory creation through the creative process of writing in the mind of the writer.

Novelist Paul Auster wrote, “The world enters us through our eyes, but we cannot make sense of it until it descends into our mouths.” Artwork, photography and cinema exist overwhelmingly as images. Their articulation (in this context, through writing) establishes the basis by which we can begin to make sense of them and discuss them. For artists engaged in research-based practices, and anyone hoping to build critical positions for theoretical discourse, these writing methods are indispensable.

In my own practice, I have adopted notetaking as an integral component of reading, using Mendeley ( This program allows the user to highlight, comment and summarize any uploaded text. These notes can in turn be organized independent of the text, or by categories, keywords, etc. I have also applied the "What, How, Why" structure to all works created during the trimester. These are included with the uploaded works on User:Sal Miranda