Spill Festival En Masse: Critical Writing Workshop

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I am one of a handful of writers picked to respond to the performances at Spill Festival 2016. The theme is en masse and the suggestion is that we explore ways of writing collaboratively and experiment with performative writing practices.

This is really helpful to me as writing critically and discursively is an area I would like to develop. Below are some thoughts I have going into the workshop and my hopes for what might emerge from it.

For me, en masse is a grouping of multiplicities where images, energies and desires can travel. I am intrigued by the routes this travelling can take. Reading Dominic Johnson’s ’The What, Where and When of Live art’, I feel invited to follow Peggy Phelan’s call for ‘performative writing’ to enact ’the affective force of the performance event again, as it plays itself out in an ongoing temporality made vivid by the psychic process of distortion’.

Johnson describes how Phelan wrote collaboratively with Deirdre Heddon, Helen Iball, and Rachel Zerihan to compare their experiences of three one-to-one performances they attended in one day. It makes me wonder how our Spill En Masse collection of writers can collaborate, and by doing so, in what multiple ways the mediated images from individual performances throughout Spill can travel.

I imagine that we may come from different backgrounds/practices, have been reading different texts that might be on the surface of our minds, we may have seen a piece of work that reminds us of other past works, and have multiple citations and images that may coalesce or differ from each other.

So, through writing collaboratively, I hope to de-habituate myself from the frameworks and perspectives that I am used to reading work, and travel down new paths.


Mind Map

This a skeleton map of the fields I am looking at, and artists and writers that are within the discourse. It’s really helpful to visually look at where I’m at now in researching the field. The draft research question I’ve been working from is, ‘What is the disruptive potential of the image to pose a Queer Feminist Durationality’?


Not Now! Now!



I have just come across this book in my literature search. It is edited my Lorenz and Boudry, artists who look at temporal drag through their film making practice. It looks extremely relevant to the questions that I have been asking about the potential of queer feminist practices to produce queer temporalities. I have ordered it and look forward to reading more.

Here’s a quote from the blurb that I find particularly useful to how I am thinking about my research:

‘Not Now! Now! engages with the politics of time in art: historical narratives and memory, the unforeseen rhythms of time, and the challenge of visualizing time. The book connects the postcolonial and queer debate around chronopolitics with artistic strategies that introduce breaks, stutter time, use citations and anachronisms, and introduce deferrals and collapses between time and meaning.
They thus challenge orderly and rigid temporal concepts and their effects on bodies and the social. Contributions by art theorists, artists, and artistic researchers highlight how temporal norms organize our biographies and intimate relations, as well as the handling of capital or the continuation of colonial relations. The book instead suggests to focus on a particular non/moment in time: the not-now/now. It indicates a possible break in the temporal order, a meaningful gap between “not now!” and “now!” Or: the past and the future (“not now!”) uncannily but promisingly showing up “now!”’

The idea of the ‘not now! now!’ as the past showing up now in a meaningful way- touches on how I have been thinking about ‘The Jerk’ in time that I am attempting to access in my practice. Instead I have been looking at what Brian Massumi calls ‘The Virtual’- which is both the past and the future- and it’s potentialities contracted into the event in motion.