Performing, Writing

At Performing, Writing (10-19 March 2017, Wellington, NZ) I presented a keynote and a workshop at the generous invitation of the College of Creative Arts, Massey University.

Here’s my Storify of the performances, talks and discussion.

I am still thinking through this symposium, and am deeply grateful to Julieanna Preston and her collaborators for offering so stimulating a set of provocations as I continue to work through what writing means to me.

WORKSHOP/PERFORMANCE: Writing in the public space

2:00-4:00pm Saturday 11 March 2017
Meet at Performance Arcade lawn, Wellington waterfront behind Te Papa and beyond

What does performing writing look like? How is it embodied? What does it tell us about performance? What does it tell us about writing? In the public space, we read thousands of words every day – words that guide us or alert us or try to sell us things. Writing in public, however, seems less common to us; as writers we prefer solitary, comfortable spaces that are highly idiosyncratic and private. Performing the act of writing in a public space is something we rarely consider consciously – and yet, it’s something that many of us do every day. The open-plan workspace orients the body toward a screen that draws the facial expression away from the circulation space. The mobile device draws the expression downward, allowing writing to be performed in social spaces or in transit while the body performs its daily routines. In each case, the public space surrounding the writing body takes on an anonymised character; an unremarkable public space of seemingly inert bodies in relation to one another. In this workshop, we will create a performance of scale: a critical mass of bodies, solitary or collaborative, writing in the public space. In doing so, we will perform a public space through the act of writing. Afterwards, we will come together to reflect on how writing (in) the public space is possible. Let’s get the words out on the street.

KEYNOTE: Performing Practice

6:30pm Monday 13 March 2017
Massey University, Museum Building Lecture Theatre 10A02
Open and free to the public

As modes of writing and as modes of thinking, critique and advocacy are fundamental to my practice. They are expansive, responsive and connective. They take a complex set of propositions, identifying them within the unique cultural and political trajectory of which they are the culminating work, and in doing so, making them public. Advocacy and critique perform the reception of practice. The third strand of my practice, experimentation, both disrupts and formalises my approach to each of the three. Experimentation is deeply personal, drawing out an instinctive mode of working, and in doing so, exposing the profound ways in which those instincts are always already attuned to writing as form. For the self, experimentation is the performance of writing as practice. This keynote traces the parallel trajectories that comprise my practice, culminating in the conscious decision to experiment with ways of making public its more private aspects: to experiment with the performance of practice. I will draw on recent adventures in archive, drawing, constructive disruption, exhibition and other ways of making public what is essentially private: performing practice as a work in itself.