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.


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