appropriated space

I don’t remember when or how I happened across this but I thought the writing might be useful to you (as an example) with respect to how you might make words work towards your practice(s).

I do not know you, you do not know me. There is a space between us. Within this space there occurs a series of collisions, misfires, commonalities, and inescapable bounds wherein we are tied by a relation of non-identification and otherness. We form our own narratives based on our inability to understand completely.

Here’s the complete PDF: Appropriate Text

And this is where it’s from:

performance on a paper floor

This might be of interest (available through the library):

Asentić, Saša & Ana Vujanović (2008). My Private Bio-Politics A Performance on a Paper Floor. Performance Research 13(1): 70-78

Here’s a sample:

You enter the hall. Working lights. A male performer in trousers and t-shirt is already on the stage. The stage is about 11m x 8m. On the left page you can see a square of mostly paper material on the floor. Among them you can recognize some books, a video camera, a lot of documents, one chair, an unrecognizable black box-like object and along the diagonal of the square several ceramic pots. On the right there is another square; it is a ‘ring’, like a boxing ring, marked by very thin white thread, Some 10cm from the ground. In the right back corner of the ring, there is a goblin on a gantry; it depicts the figure of a female dancer. The performer is preoccupied with the needlework.

conference on writing and practice

There is an international conference on artistic research in the spring and below is some text from the call for proposals that is very relevant to the conversations we’ve been having.

The relationship between artistic practice and writing in the context of research is a challenging and much debated topic, both in and outside the framework of art degree programmes. Often the relationship is felt to be one of friction, opposition or paradox. Writing gives an explicit verbal account of the implicit knowledge and understanding embodied in artistic practices and products while at the same time art may escape or go beyond what can be expressed by words and resist (academic) conventions of accountability. A ‘written element’ is almost always asked for in the context of higher arts education, as well as by funding agencies, so the artist-researcher in that context often feels cornered, and has to meet opposing demands at the same time.

However, in the debate on art practice and writing the fact that writing itself is a practice is often bypassed. Giving a linguistic expression to one’s research is work that demands as much dedication and commitment as creative work does. Moreover, writing is not just practice, but itself creative work, a constructive process that enables the emergence of the new and the unforeseen. What is the role of writing in artistic research and what type of voices may emerge?

Furthermore, while writing can be seen as a form of practice, the same is true for the inverse: in the context of artistic research, practice is a form of writing; a non-propositional form of writing, to be sure, but in artistic research material practices and products not only embody knowledge and understanding, but as agents in a methodological sense, are also the vehicles by which that knowledge and understanding is produced and conveyed. Here practice is making a case, a claim; a discursive practice that comprises (paradoxically?) non-discursive, i.e. non-propositional material.

This years SAR conference will address writing in relation to artistic research from these perspectives: writing as practice and practice as writing. How do both writing and practice operate as ways to convey new knowledge, understanding and experiences by which we (re)organize our lives? In workshops, demonstrations, performances, discussions, open sessions and on-the-spot encounters we will contribute to the ongoing development of the relationship between practice and writing in the context of artistic research.

Details of the conference:

International Conference on Artistic Research, The Hague 28-29 April 2016

Please submit your proposal, of no more than 300 words, before 11 January 2016. Indicate which strand you are submitting for and the duration of what you are proposing as well as any special requirements you may have for your contribution. E-mail your statement to, including your name and e-mail address and, if applicable, your affiliation and relevant web link.
The selection of proposals will be completed by 15 February 2016.

The journal connected to the conference is here:

relationship between writing and practice

This list assumes that writing is distinct from the practice (or that writing is not a practice) so forgive the simplistic tone of the binary.

  • let the writing do its work, and the practice do its own work
  • parallel trajectories that focus on different (but related) concerns
  • writing that critically reflects on the practice (careful here not fall into traps of justification, complication, validation)
  • writing that helps to cohere
  • writing that serves to mess it up (careful: how to make it clear that you understand the nature of your project?)
  • “to discover a way for repeated words to become performative utterances rather than constative utterances” – Peggy Phelan (1993, p.149)

the future that will not be

The paradox is that in writing a testimony to the power of the undocumentable and nonreproductive I engage the document of the written reproducible text itself. This is the paradox of Lacan’s Real, the Real-impossible toward which we aspire and whose failure to realize is utterly assured. In the fulsome guarantee of this failure, writing records the memory of the image of the future that will not be – the one I will never see. (They are dying and they have taken that future with them.) I am writing in that blank about that disappearance.

– Phelan, Peggy. 1993. Unmarked. London: Routledge, p.31

thinking about noticing and writing

In such a culture, time spent exploring the question is only justified to the extent that it clearly leads towards a solution to the problem. To spend time dwelling on the question to see if it may lead to a deeper question seems inefficient, self-indulgent or perverse.

– Guy Claxton, Hare Brain Tortoise Mind: Why Intelligence Increases When You Think Less. London: Fourth Estate, p.5

The process of noticing and writing takes time. It is not something we can just do (like anything that is difficult). Be patient. Be rigorous. Practice.

And this:

Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.

– Gustave Flaubert

recipes as a way of writing

Recipes have a clearly defined structure that, once learned, allows you to very quickly create the starting point for an idea. This means that you can immediately begin to write without grammar, structure or semantics getting in the way. An absolutely critical aspect that the majority of researchers into creativity and design agree on is the ability of the creative mind to act.

The idea in the mind is nothing until it is expressed in some way.

– Jones, Derek. 2014. “Why Recipes?.” In Bite, 8–13. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.