Rachelle Viader Knowles is an artist, researcher and educator. As of May 2014 she is delighted to join her new colleagues at Coventry University in the UK as Senior Lecturer in Fine Arts. Her most recent works explore text and language, translocality, dialogue as art, and artistic practices/methods developed through participation, collaboration and networks. Her works have been performed, screened, found or encountered in numerous international venues including: Conflux, and the Experimental Text Festivals in New York; Three Walls Gallery in Chicago; Residencia Corazon Gallery in La Plata, Argentina; Chapter Gallery in Cardiff, Wales; the Kwangju Biennale in South Korea; the Berlin International Film Festival; the Gyumri Biennale in Armenia; and the Can Gelabert Cultural Centre in Mallorca. In 2007 she was a finalist for the Sobey Art Award, Canada’s contemporary art prize and in 2008 she was the selected recipient of the Canada Council Paris Studio award. She is an active member of the international advisory board for the Armenian Art Centre of Social Studies based in Yerevan, Armenia. Rachelle grew up in Wales and studied at the Cardiff College of Art and the University of Wales College Newport. She completed her MFA at the University of Windsor in Canada, participated in the Media Art Histories programme at Donau University in Austria, and is currently working towards a practice-based PhD through the Transart Institute/Plymouth University. Prior to her current role at Coventry University, she taught intermedia art practices at the University of Regina in central Canada from 2002, serving as Department Head and Graduate Coordinator from 2009 – 2014.
On speaking terms: a translocal approach to dialogue-based art, across social and technical networks is a project conducted through an art practice-led methodology. The aim of the project is to investigate methods of dialogue-based art production and dissemination situated within the intersection of visual and media arts. My research investigates how participatory social practices in art, extended and augmented by mediated communications technologies across social and technical networks, enables an expanded social practice opening up spaces for dialogue, less (but not un) restricted by the politics of mobility. The art practice elements, initiated or co-initiated by myself and undertaken as part of this research are conducted through collaborative working relationships and social networks. Reflecting upon works produced as part of my collaboration with Canadian Plains Cree artist Judy Anderson have led to an investigation of ‘dialogue as art’. I also maintain an ongoing collaboration with Mkrtich Tonoyan, Director of the Armenian Art Centre of Social Studies (ACOSS) based in Yerevan, Armenia. This relationship began during an artist residency in Yerevan in May/June 2011, and the subsequent invitation from Mkrtich to form an International Advisory Board for ACOSS. Reflecting upon works produced as part of this collaboration led to an investigation of ‘translocality’, a research approach drawn from the humanities to address relations, circulations and communications by/between people across locations. As this working relationship has occurred for the most part across distance, technical networks and mediated communications are central to the collaborative practice. The working hypothesis of this research is that the methods employed by artists working in this expanded zone of participatory art apply a translocal approach to dialogue-based art, across social and technical networks. The title of the research, On speaking terms, reflects both the subject matter of the research, namely dialogue-as-art across cultural and physical distance towards spaces of connectivity, and the practice-led methodology of the project: constructive dialogues between and across theory and practice; art and media art; geographic locations; and my own past and present practice.