Text and pictures: Joonas Vola
In the blog, Joonas Vola presents a radical reworking of his Arctic research “Homunculus: Bearing Incorporeal Arcticulations” by cutting the introductory lecture, lectio praecursoria of his public defence into pieces and reconstructing a new whole from its fragments.
Besides of linear reading, the text may form surprising and unexpected links self-referentially, enstrengthening the argument or even making way for new ones. Intratext (see Palmer 2002, 1; Sharrock 2019; Vola 2022, 5–6) has the capasity to restructure the data that it consists of, that is to say, it may know and learn. An argument or a research finding might already be in the text, but we haven’t yet made the connections. We don’t know that the text knows …
You may reconstitute the text from the phographed pieces of cut text, in respect of the role of the reader. Some of the contents are written down fragmentarily to ease the accessability.
In writing my doctoral dissertation, I replaced the research questions with a research outcome, an answer towards which to navigate through different questions and research tasks. A unified research object “the Arctic”, under critical study and alternative ways of writing led to a portmanteau word “Arcticulation”, blending together the words Arctic and articulation. This term emphasises the critical approach towards the unifying features of the Arctic, and emphasises the heterogenous and actively connected differentiated parts joined (articulated) together. Here it is critically important to recognise the role of the research, where the research concerning the Arctic in change is articulating and constituting both the Arctic and its conditions.
While one contributes to the Arctic research, the given statements becomes part of the Arctic discourse, bearing its weight and carrying it further. For a critical scholar, one has to bear this in mind, not to turn a blind eye to the history of the terminology or involved scientific practices.
Since we can consider arctic as a scientific and political discourse, where discourse should be considered both linguistically and materially, a word incarnated, any repetition or rewriting either re-establishes a status quo or radically challenges the current status of the subject under study. Therefore, the research does no only take place in a specific territory as a research field, or due to implicated policy briefs, but begins to change in the moment when the studied phenomenon is pinned or written down. The research subject has another related live in the textual landscape.
Because the understanding and image of the Arctic is constituted from different descriptions and recordings, utilising the means and methods of both science and art, and since it has historical, mythological and modern meanings, one has to ask whether the research topic is factual or fictional. To state this radically, the Arctic is not a research object or field, it is an outcome of research; in other words, it does not precede research, but becomes in the process. Here the mimesis (art imitating nature) and anti-mimesis (nature imitating art) have to meet in a synthesis (the art of nature-making).
It is common to find the Arctic from spectacles, such as declarations, strategies, works of art, and vast scale crisis, “natural” or “political”. These occasional performances are intelligible moment where the Artic is underlined, but which nevertheless disregard the constant state of relations in alteration. That is the unintelligible part of the Arctic, arcticness or arcticality. The critical thought should be targeted to the most obvious and mundane things, where the Arctic ‘takes place’. They are source where the Arctic hides and resides, and may bear fruit for critical inquiries and radical thought.
The scientific practice for developing critical Arctic studies, must recognise what the paradigm which it both feeds into and emerges from has eaten and what keeps its literal body running and growing.
Joonas Vola is a scholar of political science in the University of Lapland, Rovaniemi. Vola has concentrated in Arctic research context and has an interest in politics of aesthetics, post-humanism, new materialism and political economy.
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Vola, Joonas (2022). Homunculus: Bearing Incorporeal Arcticulations. Acta electronica Universitatis Lapponiensis 334. ISBN 978-952-337-309-9, ISSN 1796-6310. Lapin yliopisto, Rovaniemi. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-337-309-9