Thursday, 30 September 2010

Performance Matters - Performing Idea

by Mary Paterson

A week long programme of events, lectures and performances on 'Performing Idea'.

Performance Matters is a 3 year creative research project carried out by Goldsmiths University of London, Roehampton University and the Live Art Development Agency. It explores, 'the contemporary values associated with performance at a time when it has increased resonance as a cultural phenomenon, and as a concept and metaphor in critical discourse.'

The first year is is themed 'Performing Idea', and the Performing Idea seminar launches on Saturday 2nd October.

Not to be missed!

The organisers have just announced there will be a specially commissioned video of Hélène Cixous in conversation with Adrian Heathfield (by Hugo Glendinning) in the Performing Idea Symposium on Friday 8 October.

The programme is spectacular. My personal highlights include the conversation on 'Moving-Writing' between Adrian Heathfield and Jonathan Burrows on Monday 4th October, the Performing Idea Archive Presentation on Thursday 7th October, and the showing of Rabih Mroué's new film 'The Inhabitants of Images' on Saturday 9th October. But you will find more to engage and excite you when you browse the full programme on the Performance Matters site here.

Book tickets here.

All events are held at the Whitechapel Gallery and Toynbee Studios, London.

Sunday, 26 September 2010


by Mary Paterson

Pilvi Porkola invited me to contribute to Esitys Magazine, a Finnish-Language forum for discussions on the art and study of performance. This edition includes essays by Caroline Bergvall, John Hall, Heather Kappalow, Maija Hirvanen, Pilvi Porkola, Leena Kela, Johanna MacDonald, Tuomas Laitinen, Janne Saarkakkala, Masi W. Eskolin & Suvi Parilla.

Buy the magazine here:

My essay (in English) is a short piece on writing, performance and lies. I used the opportunity to delineate the relationships between writing and performance which are the backdrop to my work with Open Dialogues and elsewhere.

I wrote about lies because I am increasingly drawn to the morality of writing. This has come from thinking about the experience of writing as it relates to time and translation (as well as performance). Of course, writing is never an equivalent for time or another language; in fact, writing always overlays other times and other languages. But whilst it's important to acknowledge this necessary imperialism, being self conscious can damage what is functional or even beautiful about the written form.

I find that writing in the context of art ('art writing', or 'performance writing') sometimes has a tendency to concentrate on the materiality or process of a textual work over the fluidity of the writing itself. This is intellectually productive, but not always affectively so. At worst, it feels likes moral abdication, or a kind of soft-focussed ghost of post modernism, which casts a shadow over daily life.

I find myself turning to familiar forms like plays and poetry (the ultimate score for performance, and the ultimate performative writing, respectively) in order to step outside the weight of knowing your own limits. Or, more specifically, to step outside the structural boundaries of this conceptual art tradition.

Looking at the architecture of writing from another perspective, I can see the moral relationship more clearly. (I can even see that the material relationship can sometimes slip into being a proxy for truth.) That entire edifice is an act of deception, which means the question now becomes - how can you make the deception consensual? Which is to say, morally acceptable?

Clearly, it's not enough to know that writing and reading are performative acts that create meaning - you also have to create meaning. It's not enough to invite the act of reading - you also have to address and position your reader. And in order to do this through consensus (if you are, as I am, that way inclined), then you have to acknowledge the moral in the material relationships. Which means I step back into the structure with a renewed enthusiasm, ready to tell some lies.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

How is Art Writing?

By Rachel Lois.

A series of artist-led conversations over dinner

How is Art Writing?

An impossible question

A dinner date

A get-together round a table


How is Art Writing?

Is a series of artist-led dinners that enable a travelling conversation through and alongside the In a word… research partnership, supporting the programme’s aim of profiling an ecology radical writing practice in and from Yorkshire.

Each dinner has its own content and flavour – that of its host and its local situation.

Places at the table are open: dinners enrich existing connections, as well as forging new ones.

Dinners represent different voices with diverse perspectives on writing.

Dinners have an implicit creative impetus but their main aim is to facilitate meeting, talking and eating.

The dinner host receives 150GBP contribution towards the dinner.

Documents play a part in each dinner and contribute to a published outcome. These documents diagram the event, index or record aspects of the conversation and are produced by the host, the guests, the food or the table.


Details of the first dinner are here. Arrangements for other dinners are being finalised with: East Street Arts (Leeds); Caroline Bergvall (London); Kim Rosenfield and Rob Fitterman (New York); and Claire Hind (York).

If you would like to reserve a place at the table please go to

If you would like to host a dinner as part of this series, please contact


How is Art Writing is curated by Rachel Lois Clapham in collaboration with Simon Zimmerman for In a word… as part of Writing Encounters.


Thursday, 16 September 2010

Open Dialogues and Edge of Europe - ANTI

photo (c) Maija Hirvanen

Open Dialogues has been invited by Edge of Europe to write from the ANTI Festival seminar on writing, language and site.

About ANTI Festival

ANTI - Contemporary Art Festival is the only international contemporary arts festival in the world presenting site-specific works made for public space. ANTI – festival presents live, sonic, visual and text-based art from today’s most exciting and innovative artists in the Finnish town of Kuopio. Free of charge ANTI - festival is a meeting place for artists and audiences fascinated by how art shapes and responds to the places and spaces of everyday life.

The concept of ANTI is unique in the Finnish and international art scene.

About the seminar

This year's seminar asks: How does writing operate in public space? What are the performative possibilities of thinking about writing and reading in an expanded sense? What compositional techniques and methodologies allow artists to engage with the written and spoken word when working contextually? An international group of academics, artists and writers will discuss these issues through prepared papers, artists’ talks and performance lectures. The seminar is co-curated by Larry Lynch (Department of Performance and Performance Writing Research Group at University College Falmouth); artist and editor Pilvi Porkola (Esitys journal), artist and coordinator Maija Hirvanen (Edge of Europe) and ANTI Festival. The ANTI seminar is chaired by Maija Hirvanen.

Presenters are:
Wed 28th Sept -Larry Lynch, Kira O’Reilly, Emma Cocker
Thu 30th Sept - Jane Jin Kaisen, Pilvi Porkola, John Hall, Rosie Dennis
Fri 1st Oct - Caroline Bergvall, Timo Heinonen, Maija Hirvanen

About Edge of Europe

Edge of Europe is social, pedagogic and experimental project in the areas of performance and writing. The project explores the artistic and critical possibilities of writing and other forms of textual work in their relation to contemporary performance.

Mary will be reporting from the festival in the form of a play's script. She will also be functioning as the Department of Micro Poetics (Finland) for EXCHANGE VALUE and WRITNG/EXHIBITION/PUBLICATION, both curated by VerySmallKitchen.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Re- (Reader)

Below are images of the Re- (Reader) which is currently part of the exhibition Afterlive at Norwich Art Centre.

Re- is a collaboration between Rachel Lois Clapham and Emma Cocker. The Re- (Reader)was developed in collaboration with Marit Muenzberg.

Re- (Afterlive)

Below are images from the performance reading Re- which was presented as part of Afterlive Norwich Arts Centre Saturday 4th September. The reading was presented in conjunction with Re- (Reader).

Re- is an iterative work which responds and is reworked in relation to the specificity of an invitation to perform (text). A previous iteration of the work, Re- (RITE), can be found here.

Excerpts from performance Re- (AfterLive) 2010.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Study Room Gathering

A small audience of contributors will be gathering in the Live Art Development Agency's Study room tomorrow night to celebrate the launch of the Study Room Guide
(W)reading Performance Writing, and to carry on the conversation that the publication has started.

Andrew Mitchelson of the agency will open with an introduction and welcome, after which Rachel Lois Clapham will lead an informal discussion on Performance Writing and critical assemblage. At some point, we will collectively handle the special edition of the guide. A document will be produced from the night, and available here...

(W)reading Performance Writing contributors include Charles Bernstein, Caroline Bergvall, David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham, Emma Cocker, Mark Caffrey, Alex Eisenberg, John Hall, Claire Hind, Richard Kostelanetz, Johanna Linsley, Claire MacDonald, Rebecca May Marston, Marit Münzberg, Tamarin Norwood, Mary Paterson, Joshua Sofaer, Danae Theodoridou, Peter Walsh and Simon Zimmerman. Design by Marit Munzberg.


Open Dialogues at the Department of Micro-Poetics...

THE DEPARTMENT OF MICRO- POETICS will be in long-distance residence at the AC Institute, New York as part of Exchange Value (Sep 9-Oct 16 2010). Co-ordinated from London by VerySmallKitchen, the Department offers ongoing research into the histories and contemporary manifestations of micro-poetic practices, conceived of both as a form of writing and a quality and practice of invitation, economy and relation.

For EXCHANGE VALUE the Department compiled an exhibition in the form of a box of ideas, scores, drawings, maps, lists, books and wall texts, sent from London to be installed by curators at the AC Institute space in New York.

The Department currently includes projects by Rachel Lois Clapham, Emma Cocker, Matt Dalby, James Davies/ If P Then Q, The Festival of Nearly Invisible Publishing, Marianne Holm Hansen, Márton Koppány, Marit Muenzberg/ LemonMelon, Tamarin Norwood, Mary Paterson, Seekers of Lice and Mary Yacoob. The DEPARTMENT is a working space and new works and texts will be added throughout the month, along with updates on the departments research.

On gallery opening days, THE BULLETIN OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MICRO-POETICS will be published in London, emailed to the AC Institute and distributed in the space. Copies of the template will be available in the space and at VerySmallKitchen for visitors to contribute their own issues of the bulletin, exploring an open model of publication and research, and how diverse forms of exchange and distribution can be represented in the gallery space.

THE DEPARTMENT OF MICRO-POETICS participates in the possibilities and crisis of poetry's non-monetary economy of gift exchange. It is curated/ Assembled by David Berridge/ VerySmallKitchen. For more information contact David at

Photos- 1) Emma Cocker, Field Proposal (2010) , 2-5) Marianne Holm Hansen, For The Record (2010)

DIY Workshops

Open Dialogues are participating in two UK workshops this September

Mary will be Thinking Space with Karen Christopher.

Thinking Space - Writing in Public

A 2-day writing workshop that looks to public spaces and the influence of location to produce plural writing, marked by space, by interruption, by bodies, by sound, and polluted by public influence.

This workshop, using methods of thought connected with placement of the body in specific contexts, will be largely a practical experience that is nonetheless stitched together with just enough theory to locate what would otherwise feel commonplace within an illuminating and self-consciously productive practice. Sessions will take place in public sites: park, train station, cafe, gallery, museum, and on public pavements in transit through the town of Whitstable.

This project is supported by Whitstable Biennale, a festival of contemporary visual art exploring performance and artists' moving image:

And Rachel Lois will be eavesdropping with Fiona Templeton alongside participating artists Philip Davenport, Becky Cremin, Daniel Gosling, Elizabeth Guthrie and Nicola Singh.

The Eavesdroppers’ Choir

A found-live-language speaking choir, based on a 3 1/2-day intensive collaborative workshop to explore techniques of gathering, creating forms with and improvising live with found language.

musical, such as rounds; poetic, such as sestina; visual, such as collage, etc. We will do this individually and as a group, again listening, creating layers, hockets, group sentences, and jams. Then we’ll take the Choir back to the streets to practice its results in situ, both with previously generated material and using the language of the immediate surroundings.

This project is one of the launch activities leading up to the third Text Festival (April-July 2011)

Photographs courtesy 1) Karen Christopher 2) Fiona Templeton