VIS #8 oscillates between established structures and their innate disturbances. The seven expositions under the theme "rules and alternatives" operate in the blind spots and on the fringes of the arts, they open up new perspectives and frames, and recontextualize what is hidden in well known areas. Artistic research hereby actuates new work emerging from what exists.

This is VIS’ first co-edited Issue, an endeavour that has not only deviated from our established norm, but also potentially introduced an alternative way to organise our editorial process, which, in its own right, is within the ecology of the very theme. The two editors, Serge von Arx (who has been a member of the editorial board since its beginning) and Eliot Moleba (who had just started as a new member to the board), met for the first time when they initiated the co-editorial process, as a dialogic form of thinking and questioning. We wanted to create an issue that gave room to artistic research situated in the duality between the known and unknown, the old and new, the established and the subversive to highlight the ambiguity, the blurry, and the liminal that more and more identifies emerging art contexts beyond commodification and clear demarcation, art that emerges and lives on the fringe.

To question and dissolve the gap between rules and alternatives by fusing, obliterating and subverting that dichotomy, framed the call of this VIS issue. It opened up to contributions beyond distinct artistic delineations and gave space to artistic research inquiries which operate and exist on thresholds and in precariousness. The focal point of this issue is to become aware of peripheral fields, blind spots and the areas which disappear once we turn our gaze to them.

This duality at the basis of our theme is like an elastic – rules, on one end, and alternatives, on the other. When no part of the elastic is pulled, nothing interesting happens. But when it is, which could be from any direction, tension is introduced – a fertile ground for something interesting to emerge. The resulting tension from the pull becomes or materialises the liminal space – and we wanted to see how this tension is manifested and shaped in artistic research projects, looking at how artists and researchers are working with it, or rather, making use of it.

VIS Issue 8 offers seven expositions from different places which bring various liminalities into a critical dialogue as a map of fields of tension.

Serge von Arx and Eliot Moleba, Editors of VIS #8*

Image, “aardvark”, borrowed from Dave Ball’s exposition “A to Z: Visualising Every Word in the Dictionary in Alphabetical Order” VIS #8.