Performing Research, Writing Silence
I will take my recently completed spoken-word performance work, ‘Between Our Words I Will Trace Your Presence’ - from which I will perform an excerpt - as the starting point for discussing the place of writing in my work. Specifically, I will explore my artistic research’s capacity to examine different sites of silence; familial, textual and institutional. My work deals with silence not as a sensate phenomenon, but as something relational; something enacted or performed, founded in acts of repression and denial; its character always specific to a given set of circumstances, but always characterised by the presence of something unspoken or unheard.
In my examination of such silences, I have found myself adopting strategies which draw on Jane Rendell’s model of ‘site writing’. Also developing a mode of autofiction writing, which is informed by Mona Livholts’ conception of a ‘situated writing’ practice and which lays emphasis on insights localised in the writing-subject’s position. Together, these approaches create a writing subject, whose presence and experience are central to the creation of both site and knowledge.
My writing also aspires to a performative - as opposed to an expositional – agency and through spoken word performances, I have been performing my writing. In this presentation, I will discuss my writing practice and introduce the issues raised by the proposition that my writing and my performance of my research have the potential to create distinctive relationships between researcher, knowledge and audience.
Please, enter two main questions that you would like the conference delegates offer feedback on. This is important to assure focused discussion in the conference.
1). I regard silence as a relational, not a sensate, phenomenon. I have drawn my textual reference points for this proposition predominantly from literature, poetry, cinema and theatre. Salome Voegelin’s practice offers a fascinating example of working with silences born of the unspoken and unheard, within a fine art practice. What examples of working with relational silences – silences rooted in the unsaid and the unheard - would others offer, from fine art practice?
2). I’m intrigued by performance as a modality for articulating my ideas and performative writing as an alternative to exposition. What examples of performative writing, which enacts its ideas rather than relying on exposition, and what examples of practitioners using performance as a mode of articulating their research do others find successful and interesting?