Siobhan Murphy

Australia (residence) °1974

Siobhan makes intimate live performance works and dance for screen, often combining the two genres. Her live works have been performed in Melbourne and Sydney, and screen works have been shown throughout Australia and internationally. She has written two book chapters on the nature and role of writing in artistic research. Siobhan holds a PhD in Choreography from the University of Melbourne, where she gives occasional seminars on writing strategies for artistic research and supervises research students.




Two book chapters, ‘Writing Practice’ and ‘A Narrative of Practice’ in ‘Live Research: Models of practice-led research in performance’, edited by David Fenton, Leah Mercer and Julie Robson, Post Pressed, Brisbane, forthcoming 2011.


Recent Projects:


2011: this skin between us, a series of single screen dance videos and a video installation. Created with dancers Jo White and Michaela Pegum, in collaboration with video artist Dominic Redfern. The project explores the kinaesthesia of communication, using close-up footage of throats, eyes, mouths and hands engaged in conversation. The choreography develops from these gestures into candid movement ‘portraits’ of the two women. 


2009: Refugia, a dance solo as part of a gallery installation in collaboration with Dominic Redfern and senior landscape artist John Wolseley. Commissioned by Mildura Arts Festival, the project was devised in, and as a response to, the arid Murray Sunset National Park in the Mallee region of Victoria.


2008: Strand, a dance video made on Lake Tyrell, Victoria’s largest salt lake. Devised with Michaela Pegum and Dominic Redfern, the work is both a response to that specific natural environment and a reflection on the imaging of the dancing body in landscapes. Screened in Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Lisbon and Edinburgh, Strand was a finalist in the Australian Reeldance Awards 2010.


2007: here, now, a solo performance using dance, text, sculpture and video. The work is about corporeal remembering, a kind of sensorial inventory of the residues found in mind and muscle when recalling people and environments. Performed at Studio 45 in Melbourne and Carriageworks in Sydney.   


2005: the backs of things, a site-specific piece for two dancers. Devised from an improvisational practice based on touch, the work was presented in an unconventional and intimate space at the back of a city office block in Melbourne.


…Siobhan’s thoughts on artistic research:


“Artistic research makes articulate that knowledge which is nascent and/or tacit within a practice. Artworks communicate knowledge on their own terms. But in addition to the knowledge embodied in the artworks, artistic researchers seek to make sense of and communicate the meanings and knowledges that arise within artistic practices. Often, though not always, this process of sense-making is housed in language.  This ‘languaging’ of artistic knowledge often requires a renovation of accepted academic discourse such that the contigent, intersubjective and ephemeral knowledges of artmaking are allowed.”           


Exposition: Talking in Circles: Interview, Conversation, Metalogue (01/01/2014) by Amber Yared et al.
Siobhan Murphy 09/06/2014 at 21:49

The exposition addresses intellectual questions in an artistic manner. It enacts content through form, and resists the reification of knowledge through insisting on multiple rather than singular meanings. The circularity of the title is enacted throughout the exposition and this rhythm is akin to artistic approaches that return to a subject time and again without exhausting it, gleaning more from each iteration.


The exposition’s exploration of form, and the explicitness with which it conducts that exploration, certainly has a lot to say to artistic researchers, albeit somewhat unexpectedly. The ways in which the authors approach the knowledge-making endeavour turn out to be not at all dissimilar to how knowledge arises in artistic research. The focus on dialogue as a site for learning is a useful provocation to thought for artistic researchers – as evidenced in some recent expositions in JAR, the tacit knowledge of art-making is often usefully uncovered through dialogue with another. In this context, I think it is timely to include an exposition that focuses explicitly on dialogue as form. This is of particular interest to artistic researchers in performance which is by nature collaborative and thus already a form of dialogue. The exposition provokes a re-consideration of the solitary reflection often undertaken by artistic researchers when they are engaged in writing.


The exposition does not seek to exhaustively answer or even pose questions. What it does is to evidence a history of curiosity on the part of the authors regarding the nature of dialogue and the relationship of dialogue to education. Rather than putting everything ‘on show’ in the exposition itself, the exposition serves as a window onto the authors’ broader practices. In this context practice does not mean artistic practice per se, but rather the authors’ ongoing practices of seeking to learn through talking to others and of seeking novel ways of communicating the singularity and inconclusiveness of that learning. The way in which the authors’ ideas are unearthed in dialogue with one another such that content is not touched on without formal experimentation – content is always enacted as form – takes the exposition into the realm of the performative. It thus enters provocatively into what might be called artistic research even though art-making is not the wellspring of the exposition.

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