Affinities + Urgencies in Language-based Artistic Research


Tuesday 7 December 10.00  18.00 CET 2021.


This event — a day-long gathering has evolved in response to the questions:  How can we collectively support the emergence of different species of proximity and community within the field of expanded language-based practices: we-ness and near-ness; participation; observation; conversation; caring/curation; listening; hosting; guesting; audiencing; supporting; bearing witness; hearing out; feeding back; offering help; spending time; sharing time; sharing resources, world-building? How can we together support different modes of relationality and connectivity [gravitational pulls and resonant affinities] within the field of expanded language-based practices, further ways for generating mutual support and resource?


Affinities + Urgencies in Language-based Artistic Research comprises a series of sessions led or facilitated by different individuals or groups for engaging with a specific thematic focus, a field of attraction and resonant affinity, or a matter of urgency relating to language-based artistic research.


Towards a more distributed, open organisation of the Special Interest Group within this expanded and expanding community of practice. This online event will provide a context for sharing live constellations of interest and focus within the field of language-based artistic research.   


Affinities + Urgencies in Language-based Artistic Research (Part II) will take place on Tuesday 15 February (online)  10.00 - 18.00 CET (more to follow soon!)

Tuesday 7 December 


10.00 – 10.15                Welcome: Affinities and Urgencies (AM)


10.15 – 11.15                  Session 1: Choreographic Writing


11.15 – 11.30                  Break


11.30– 12.30                 Session 2: Conceptual and Generative Practices in Language based Artistic Research


12.30 – 12.40               Close of morning session    


12.40– 1.40                  Lunch/Break


1.40 – 1.50                   Welcome back: Affinities and Urgencies (PM)


1.50 – 2.30                   Session 3: In bits and pieces: hybrid writing, research, and (auto)fragmentation


2.30 – 2.35                 Break


2.35 – 3.05                   Session 4: The un|common ground: Language as a Hiding Place

3.05 - 3.15                    Break


3.15 – 4.15                    Session 5: Writing as Research as Writing


4.15 – 4.30                   Break 


4.30 – 4.45                  Future Affinities + Urgencies  micro “calls” for Part II  event 


4.45 – 6.00                 Discussion / Reflection in breakout groups 

                                   A summary of breakout discussions can be

                                   found  here.

Choreographic Writing


Kirsi Heimonen | Rebecca Hilton | Chrysa Parkinson | Leena Rouhiainen


Kirsi Heimonen and Leena Rouhiainen began by showing their film Writing the Shadow as Choreography (2021) [see still from film above] before sharing and discussing the score used within its generation, then opening into a wider conversation with Rebecca Hilton and Chrysa Parkinson.



This panel addresses how different notions of writing have informed recent progressive choreographic practices. It does so by presenting and discussing practical examples of choreographic writing, which provide a basis for contemplating how writing and text can be understood in choreography and what conceptions of movement and language they put forward.


Writing in different forms and modalities has gained impetus as an activity through which the actual practical processes that choreography entails are forwarded and shared as well as examined and discussed in a variety of artistic and academic contexts, often by artists themselves. (Blades and Meehan 2018, 5). The interest dance artists and choreographers have in writing offers evidence to the reflexive and experimental forms that currently determine much of contemporary dance and choreography. This tendency is the consequence of many influences: conceptual art, hybridisation of the art forms, artistic research, the information age and digital media to name a few. In their experimental undertakings, dance and choreography are active in reconfiguring the potentials human and more-than-human sensation, perception and agency entail. They thus explore the relational characteristics of embodiment and materiality and what bodies in fact can do. Indeed, choreography is now mainly conceived of as an open frame or set of principles that processually structure movement and events related to agency, bodies, objects, materials and places, also beyond the anthropocentric human horizon.


The panel’s objectives are to 1) to present some examples on how choreographers have recently pursued writing related choreographic processes, 2) to begin articulating and conceptualizing approaches to performative and experimental writing in choreography as well as 3) to substantiate understanding about the opportunities choreographic writing offers for artistic research.



Questions posted in 'chat' in response to Session 1

Prompt: When making a post could you phrase it as a question?




Is language a system?

One might think language is generative ("portal"); your process / score was generative; but the editing seems almost the most important part -- you say you shortened a lot the text output; is it not curious that we often speak of generative processes, when the important property to respond to them is to devise strategies of "ungenerating", "unwriting", thinning out, removing, condensing?

Does is create portals?

Was there a score for the editing process? If yes, how did it look like?

Do systems of ‘unselfing’ create portals?

Do children have a secret … or even very open language and it is only the growing up, that breaks up with original ideas and forms?

Is there a difference in how dancers use words as portals to experiences? Is the actual meaning less important when we engage with letting those words touch and taste us rather than us touching those words?

There was a score for recording video?

How are we affected by something impenetrable?

Language, a system to categorise and share? Un-self, a category of the unconscious and intra-active?

The growing up breaks the embodying of language and its vibrational power. Are these vibrations the portals?

Was the score formulated before or after the shared processes?

How to keep the processual character of the writing visible in the resulting text? How not to erase the processuality of the writing in the resulting text(s)? How to generate textual forms which read as processes?

Research: about counting, is the amount of words increasing? in total?

Do the video recording happened once the text was finished?

In this work, have text and video the same “research function”?

Instinct is the fastest assimilation of…..?

What you already know

How does the meaning of the word score (late Middle English - from Old Norse skora ‘make an incision’) impacting the affect, intuitive, organic, quality of the process or writing and of the outcome? Was it rather fluid or rather segmented?

Language as a portal of language

Thinking about proximities and resonances: (1) Your proposal for the session invites reflection on choreographic writing as a field of practice, how are the resonances between your specific practice and other choreographic writing practices. Are there shared affinities and sensitivities with others in the field? (2) The filmic mediation of the practice - I was reminded of the form / genre of ‘film essay’. The language also seemed to mirror/echo a certain lens-based/filmic attitude - zoom in, close up, pan, point of view, cross fade. How is the relation between choreographic writing and filmic writing?

With an interrogation mark

How did you come to/decide on the tempo of the reading?

Does ‘writing the shadow’ open (portal-like) the ‘original’ inside the present (revisited)?

What makes the relation of naming and meaning fun as research?

Does language in this practice the function of generating meaning?

Rocks are liquid - just a matter of the time frame of observation?

How in the invitation of words and sentences to rise again again, made then the text dance?

Does ‘writing the shadow’ emphasize the deliberate writing with/ through other?

Is language (when alive - like poetry, as different from business / corporate language) not rather soft and porous than solid? In a sense that words almost breathe, and inter-breath, when next to one another?

Are terms like glass fluid and can shatter? What is with the edges?

Who/what is finishing who/what’s sentence?

What do you consider ‘original’?

How did you choose the site?

Is this a site specific work (related to the very location) or rather, to a higher degree a Kirsi-Leena-relation-specific work?

Thank you for this wonderful collaborative work. Did you experience any asymmetries, conflicts, problems when dealing with different languages, so to speak?




Conceptual and Generative Practices 


Marjolijn van den Berg | Rachel Smith | Marinos Koutsomichalis | Andrew Hauner | Simon Roloff


Contemporary artistic and avantgarde literary practice, especially where it belongs to the tradition of language based institutional critique, conceptual art and generative art is often based on procedures and methodic frameworks, sometimes to the extent that the process of development of an artwork will be indistinguishable from the work itself. These procedures are not reduced to, but can be developed in engagement with theoretical concepts from the Humanities, Natural Sciences or Life Sciences as well as be derived from scientific methods of research and academic modes of presentation of its findings. The resulting concepts, methods or algorithms won’t usually resemble strict scientific modes of the production of knowledge, but rather aim to be unique and irreducible practices of enlightening, critical or otherwise thought-provoking insight in confrontation with language as an artistic medium.


This session will map affinities between very diverse practices of conceptual and generative production of knowledge in language based artistic research. The participants are to present extracts of their work and discuss how the concepts and methods involved are feeding into what they regard as their research process. In doing so, we will cover contextualized practices from performance art, sound art, artist book production and computer-generated art.


Questions posted in 'chat' in response to Session 2

Prompt: When making a post could you phrase it as a question?




What patterns, similarities and differences emerge?

What might be gained from the generative excess of language?

There is a genealogy of conceptual and generative practices … how are current citational / appropriative practices shaped/informed by the contemporary context. How do they resonate with and perhaps also differ/depart from earlier examples of practice?

What is a colonialist AI?

What is difference between colonialist-style text and colonialist-logic of text?

Probably, colonialist-style text is an imitation, or?

I was reminded of a text from the “Open Systems: rethinking art” publication, called “Mystics Rather than Rationalists” by Johanna Burton. How might system-based practices perhaps counter-intuitively open up towards the unknown?

Hard to tell … if/what is the difference: AI works by attempting to “learn” what the original text is all about in order to be able to generate text that is in the same spirit as the original

But what exactly “learn” means in this context, and if it’s more about “style” or “logic” it all depends on how you define these terms?

Technically speaking, AI simply tries to guess what character (not word, character!) is most likely to make sense after a certain other - but it does that after a very complicated multi-dimensional analysis of the original training data (which is several books long) so that the associations formed internally should - at least in theory - encapsulate the ‘logic’ of it

Who is (not) read(writ)(cit)able?

Maybe starting from here: writing to understand means inviting the un-invited, the unknown and vague, and facing them

We have this clear distinction between reading and writing, but both activities are somehow so similar, perhaps not in the material substrate, but in their performance? (Is writing visible and reading invisible?)

On the timeliness and urgency of conceptual and generative practices - what gives them vividity and resonance now? For example, the notion of appropriation has different resonance at different historical moments … how  might citational practices shift from the arguably postmodern practice of “emptying out” of meaning, towards more affective, even ethical engagements?

Is there something about generative processes somehow having capacity to bypass or disrupt/dislodge the willed decision-making processes of the individual?

Notion of constraint?

About System-transparency in generative writing?

The connection to creative writing practices of earlier/other days incl. and places … before printing … seems [?]?

Is there a way to give citations different temporalities — the way organic matter manifests at different rates?

Once we used to talk about “intertextuality”. Perhaps today the concept of “haunting” is more appropriate - less the palimpsest than the sense of disembodied voices breezing through the ruins of authorial intention…

How can we create new citational pathways in artistic research? New forms of citing each other through body quotes, performative quotes, footnotes, headnotes. Citing as a gesture of giving attention to someone, outside or beyond the existing academic reference system.

Lena, are you going to close the session with a reminder about continuing to use chat?

Who is (not) read(writ)(cit)able?

Is transparency = illuminated = good? Edouard Glissant: a right to opacity... You can read traces of someone who does not want to be read / traced?

What gets to be unspoken or unheard when this is not its intension? or Who/what dominates conversations on language?

How do we choose (writing) strategies, from what place do we choose them, what can a  (writing) strategy resist?

In between ”Uncreative Writing” and ”Against Conceptualism”, could one think in terms of care rather than power when developing citing/ writing/ reading practices?

You share something that matters to you and then ask whether the other empathise or not. It could be a ‘thank you’ (in that you do offer something back indeed), but not necessarily (in that the other might not appreciate at all) - plus that you will most likely feel exposed/awkward (so that you’re not even sure yourself it that’s a true ‘thank you’ or not).


In bits and pieces: hybrid writing, research, and (auto)fragmentation


Kris Pint | Nadia Sels | Goda Palekaitė | Maria Gil Ulldemolins


See https://www.projectpassage.net/ for more about the journal, Passage


Our group, Passage, tries to establish complex, unexpected relationships between contemporary practices and cultural heritage(s). Often, our dealings with the past result in clusters of diverse bits and pieces, texts as well as other media. So, although we come from different backgrounds (anthropology, performance, mythology, literary studies, visual culture, and art theory); we meet in the writerly and the fragmentary. From here, we also share an interest in the fragmented constellation of subjectivity itself. The perception of the self as a heterogeneous, complex construction makes us ambivalent about autotheory both as a literary and artistic phenomenon. On the one hand, we very much support the “impulse”, in Lauren Fournier’s words, to mix the personal and the theoretical. On the other hand, precisely because of this multiplicity we are so aware of, we find the “auto” constrictive.


We would like to present our experiments and practices in progress, as individuals and as a group, as a way to kick-start a greater conversation about using fragments. How is writing a form of historical fragmentation? How do our personal archives echo not so much the diaristic self often associated with autotheory, but a secular version of rapiaria, little collections of quotes, phrases and extracts used in the Devotio moderna for a daily, meditative reflection? How can we use mythology as a way to retell parts of our own experience without falling into the trap of the confessional, the self-fashioning? How does technology help write in non-linear, hyperlinked clusters?



Questions posted in 'chat' in response to Session 3

Prompt: When making a post could you phrase it as a question?



Can there be a notion of outward feelings? Do you know Willy Hellpach: Geopsyche?

could you post the link to your site here?

The pieces and fragments in a way point to the complete figure (even in its absence). However, I got the impression your presentations were more united through the concept of intimacy/proximity? Is it the scale; the small bits is what you hold close in front of your eyes / ears?

What constitutes the fragment, when the fragment can only be defined a posteriori? Does the fragment begin on its own, or is it begun by others, writers and critics? Does it acquire a name of its own, or is it labelled by others?

See The Fragment: Towards a History and Poetics of a Performative Genre, Camelia Elias

On the timeliness and urgency of the fragment - what gives fragmentary writing vividity and resonance now?

Do fragments introduce the agency of the absence? (as intimacy does…)

Also, fragment as both verb and noun, and how this difference/relation might manifest in language-practices?

How do you challenge traditional ethnographic approaches when working with old/ancient material which has accumulated its own cultural capital in different cultural contexts (to your own) and partly had done so on account of its “ancientness”?

Fragment almost implies hardness, stiffness; soft and elastic things don't really break?


The un|common ground: Language as a

hiding place


Anna T. | Marinos Koutsomichalis | Phoenix Savage |

Regina Dürig



Following their presentation, the group invited response to this question in the chat function of zoom: “Where do you hide in language?”. What followed was a wordless section of the session, where the sounds of collective typing could be heard, and responses to the question could be read directly in the chat. These responses in the chat function cannot be seen in this recording and so are posted below.


Our individual research areas overlap in decolonial, non-western, and off-center language-informed/language-driven and poetic practices. How do languages embed, implement, and help establish colonial regimes and how may these be challenged and resisted through language? How can we use language to creatively articulate decolonial concerns? Can language become some kind of sanctuary? A hiding place wherein borderland and non-dominant (micro-)cultures may dwell and thrive? How can non-western languages and off-center references set out new directions for artistic research and practices? What happens when such off-centered – strictly non-western, non-dominant, queer or feminist – local points of reference intersect and inform one another? What is the relationship between language (embodied, oral, and written) and community-forming, ununderstandability, untranslatability, and opacity? We have formed a group to reflect on these and other questions against the backdrop of our research practices and poetic/literary projects. In the context of the SIG meeting, we’d like to invite other members with similar approaches to join our discussion. As an entry point into the discussion, we will be presenting the results of our text/multimedia exchange circling around the above mentioned questions in common and uncommon languages.



Questions posted in 'chat' in response to Session 4

Prompt: When making a post could you phrase it as a question? And the question/prompt "Where do you hide in language?"



What accent does an algorithm have?

Do all roads lead to Roland Barthes?

Is there a „Roland Barthes“-street?

Who would be furthest _away_ from language?

The Barthes metaverse, the soft in-between soup we all associate in





What is language when not meaning-making?

i like the silence

Where do you hide in language?


Where do you hide in language?

How do you listen when you do not understand the wording?

accepter de ne pas comprendre comme je pensais devoir comprendre et commencer par comprendre autrement?

In plain sight.


zwischen den Worten oder im unteren Bauch des grossen B.

I am hidden and revealed by the words of others following Echo’s ingenuity

 in the commas and ellipsis,

this is sc/sharing

(Obwohl ich sonst nicht der Typ bin, der sich in einen wie auch immer gearteten Bauch (zurück)wünscht)

through griffonage


In the apostrophe

gwrandewch mewn distawrwydd

in the underpages

I hide in my third language, far away from my mother tongue

Who is this “I” doing the hiding?


is this far enough?

Ymmärtää ymmärtämättä, mitä se voisi olla?

Or is it maybe an ‘we’ or a ‘you’ ?

Ich B-auch nicht. Was für ein  Typ bist du?

I wish there was a term for the place where the front and back of a page meet.

where does language hide in language


In de tong

in the errors and slips ups?

I don't know what it means to hide in language

I det osagda?

the politics of words hide the meaning of a language

Shall we create a secret interest group?


anna, come to austria :-)

schon passiert!


Sanojen väliin, sanojen taakse, kenties….

Whose sacrifices does Elegbara carries to the sea ?

Was passiert hier?

where am “I” hidden in language

auch das has passiert

The abbreviation of a secret interest group is SIG so maybe we already have one?

what would the secret interest group do and how would we know?

Clearly behind the L, Emma

die Welterschöpfung deuten passiert hier …

言葉の隠さ !

who “else” is hiding in language


beautiful keyboard music!

Psavage, the first rule of the secret interest group….

Can we all turn on our sounds for a moment?

who am I hiding in language

What can a secret hold when it is a collective effort?

Is this the sound of you all writing?

a symphony!

えりかさん、多分 … わかりません!


the palimpsest as a place where the erasure coincides with the inscription

who does language hide

this is the sound of my keyboard, my fingers touching …

Like rain dripping

about Hidden in language in the case of Japanese,

language hides age

Ik wurd ferburgen yn myn lytste taal.

And then language is the roof

keyboard… fragmented language…

Who is this “I” of writing hiding?



this is the hidden place of language … it is time

Who is this “we” of writing hiding

How come there is a sense of hightened presence now?

An urgency?



Who is this “I” of writing hiding

like water

Who is this “we” of writing hiding

so nice to wake up to  a group of  people quietly texting and smiling

in un-speaking, un-telling body languages, somatic experience and facial expressions? in erms, errs, stutters, hesitations, in the pause.

I is still behind the L

The alarm clock has spoken

When we share a sound, do you we share a space?

But I am also by the L!


And drifting language is a very interesting idea - relates a lot with affinity, especially for those speaking a few languages - doesn’t it ?




Writing as research as writing 


Marjolijn van den Berg | Nirav Christophe | Daniela Moosmann | Ninke Overbeek



The session began with a video which can be viewed here.

A document used for the group writing exercise can be viewed here


When artists undertake artistic research, they open up their work and share their creative strategies. The writing describing their research is often considered a way of reflecting, rationalizing, explaining, and even controlling intuitive and embodied artistic processes. When we talk about artistic research and writing, we should inquire into the phenomenology of writing. Can the writing process mirror the creative making process by giving voices to the stuttering, the silence, the body, or the not-knowing?


The production processes of writing and researching have become more and more intertwined; the research and the work exist in dialogue. Working from the perspective that dissemination of research is an intrinsic part of the research and not only a report of research outcomes, we consider the very act of writing as a method of doing research. In the research group ‘Beyond Freewriting’ within the Professorship Performative Processes of HKU Utrecht University of the Art, we explore and inquire how creative writing techniques are used as a method of artistic research and how knowledge on writing processes inform artistic research methodologies.


Our presentation will be a collective polyphonic dialogue because we consider both writing practice and artistic research as co-creative activities. We will share, discuss and write through four strategies of combining creative writing and artistic research: peer-writing, source-writing, polyphonic writing, and focalization in writing. Describing and showing this network of molding strategies, we hope to articulate the meaning and the beauty of writing in artistic research.



Questions posted in 'chat' in response to Session 5

Prompt: When making a post could you phrase it as a question? 



Is language the tool? If it is yes, what kind of tool is the language? Through the language, what can we produce and provide? Thereby, I address the topic of creativity in communication in reading silently, speech, and listening.

What voice is not speaking here? What is not being heard?

Let the voice speak, give language to that which is still silent.

I guess I am interested in the relation between interaction between the different writers and the capacity for interaction with the emerging text itself. How might the emphasis on the human interaction somehow limit the capacity for interaction with the text itself<

This is just a comment: In the sentence (paragraph), that is just objective and no any experiences, and no any voices of people. I think, "creativity" in writing, in the Human and Non-human society, will import more and more. Thereby, the question (in my artistic

What is the function of disruption, interruption, distraction within the writing practice?

What are the inbuilt boundaries for collective writing in a google doc? Someone erasing everything all over again?

Maybe I was also thinking about how a certain kind of affirmative, estranging boredom has a critical role in the process, and can at times not be allowed in if there is too much distraction or interruption?

Writing is an aesthetic experience, as well as in reading?

The choice of Google Docs as a site of writing also reminds us that there is rarely (never?) a neutral political space for writing.




CALL: Solitude and Language-based Artistic Research

Initiated by Steve Dutton 

Contact - duttonstudio@gmail.com


CALL: Language Involution

Initiated by Sepideh Karami | Rosie Heinrich

Contact: rosie.a.heinrich@gmail.com & sepidehkarami@gmail.com


CALLS - Future Affinities and Urgencies



A series of 'calls' in relation to the forthcoming Special Interest Group event on Affinities and Urgencies within Language-based Artistic Research, 15 February 2022. 

CALL: ELIA-Islanded Practice-Based Literary Research?

Initiated by Elina Mikkilä

Click on the icon to the right to view text >


CALL: Words as Matter - Alchemical Operations on Words

Initiated by Mariana Renthel

Contact: mariana.renthel@udea.edu.co