Katherine 2nd draft

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NOTE to steve...still to do the expansions...

Prior to arriving at PZI I worked towards projects. I wanted to undo this method of practising and work without considering outcome while developing existing areas of theoretical and material research. I particularly wanted to understand writing as method and material.

Previous research on the ethics of relating and the intersections and mediations of affect, subjectivity, power and identity was manifest through art practice as performance, sculpture, video, experiential workshops, programmed screenings and discursive events and through relational art therapy practice.

polyvocal subjects, 2014, considered the embodied ways through which language is communicated with a view to proposing alternative forms of listening, speaking and being in touch with others. It activated a more complex exchange between the two practices by bringing closed experiential workshops into an exhibition framework.

This chronological path through my activities at PZI describes my movement from this starting point.




past futures live in this present (after eve, howard, daniel and sylvan)

2014, single channel video to be heard on headphones, duration 03.13, https://vimeo.com/116607016

File:Past futures.tiff

This video was made in September 2014. It used footage filmed a year previously and marked a desire to bring more filmed footage intuitively into my visual language which previously used more appropriated footage.

The audio is my voice reading a text that adopts its form from a description by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (2003) of Sylvan Tomkins’ writing style.

“…a potentially terrifying and terrified idea or image is taken up and held for as many paragraphs as are necessary to “burn out the fear response,” then for as many more until that idea or image can recur in the text without initially invoking terror. Phrases, sentences, sometimes whole paragraphs repeat; pages are taken up with sentences syntactically resembling one another (epistemically modal non-factive utterances of the form “It is possible that…,” “If…may…,” “Whether because…”), sentences not exemplifying a general principle but sampling - listing the possible. This rich claustral writing nurtures, pacifies, replenishes, then sets the idea in motion again.”

I wrote several texts in this style. This was a deliberate attempt to begin to find a way of writing that directly incorporated my subjectivity, including desire and sexuality, through my own voice, while also speaking to wider concerns.


Making past futures led me to begin blogging as a way of externalising texts I was beginning to make as part of a regular ongoing writing practice.



Listening and Speaking Devices

2014, Past Caring, Gallery II, University of Bradford

File:DSC 0249.jpg

Listening and Speaking Devices, are a pair of large papier maché parabolic reflectors that have an effect on the sound quality in the space in which they’re made and then presented in. They’re becoming a repeated form that it’s useful to return to and work with in different spaces. They provide a material grounding to the discursive nature of much of my working process - a way to work with sound without producing more sound or text.

There’s tension in the material process between control and chaos - layered change and transformation, precise measurements made wet. There is a degree to which I can control the process now but it’s partially out of my hands. I am shy of materiality in my work and yet when I make sculpture I am able to work with confidence and integrate ideas materially. I continue to be interested in making large-scale sculpture with non-toxic biodegradable materials. Perhaps this work relies on responding to a context.


Breakfast group critique

2015, facilitated and mediated group conversation

I had been thinking about how much time I spend attending to the working processes of others, how I find it easier to listen through someone else’s questions. Was wondering if this is part of my practice along with the workshops and screenings and bringing things together to have conversations about them.

I originally wanted to perform the text of A being in touch within an immersive video environment where the viewer experiences their own body vividly. Both elements relate to Felix Guattari who informs my art and my therapy. There is an ethics of responsibility and care inherent to his work and a commitment to practice as a place for developing thinking and a belief in the political potentiality of every interaction. BK and I talked about trans-spatialising the text and trying to make an experience that did what the text talked about.

BK: “The experience becomes the reflection.”

Everyone arrives. They are asked to put their phones in a bucket and everyone does apart from VSR who manages to fb some photos but not till the next day. We sit round a coffee table on all the chairs in the house and the floor and eat porridge with wooden spoons and drink tea and coffee. There is a lot of coming and going and hugs and good mornings and the atmosphere is social and convivial. We begin. We read three texts aloud (I read one so that I am doing what I am asking others to do) and watch a video clip and eat and have a conversation about labour and care and daily life and making change. This takes an hour. I hand out black bits of stretchy fabric without speaking and everyone holds them so we are all connected and Raluca moderates the crit. This takes 45 minutes.

I learn that the use of the texts within the conversation can function as a point of grounding/triangulation that brings rigour to the situation and that I can bring the personal/universal together within an active matrix.

Following the crit I am left with ongoing questions about bringing together experiential modes and an uncertainty about doing this within art. The uncertainty is of the type that encourages me to continue thinking and make further efforts to consider how some relational and ethical elements of a therapeutic practice can be integrated into an art practice. Considering how and for what these modes of being and becoming can function when removed from the institutional stabilisers of therapy involves questioning how this reframes responsibility, mutuality and authorship when applied to collaborative discussion and expression in the framework of art.

I continue to have questions about visibility and product. I am considering how writing and photography can materialise invisible/social/conversational processes for existence in another space/time for a different audience without impinging on the privacy of the original experience.

The potential for fiction, polyphony and flattening of the voices into a flow where the beginnings and ends of individuals is not clear, addresses problems I have with appropriation and representation.

LR: “Authorship is temporary…It’s not our language and that’s the problem. But we have to make it our language.”


A being in touch

2015, single channel video projection, duration 06.39, https://vimeo.com/116607015

File:Projected tests1.jpg

A being in touch is intended to be projected immersively. The audio is my voice reading an essay on embodied communication, the mediation of intimacy through technology and the limits of language. The text was developed through a process of daily writing as a method for reflecting on and materialising research and experience from life in order to be able to work with it in the studio. It was recorded in the studio as a straightforward reading of the written text. It marks a shift in approach for me to audio as it is only the second video that I have used my own voice and a text that I have written without appropriating other sources. I would like to develop the techniques I use for performing the reading and recording the audio.

The video was made by working experimentally with layered projections and transparent materials like water, soap and steam in front of the camera. I intend to make more videos using similar methods. It is part of a developing series of works that use a particular visual language of reflective and transparent materials to talk about aspects of feeling that are not verbal. They have an affinity with the concept of shimmer that Brian Massumi (2010) speaks about in his writings on affect theory. They develop an idea that was tentatively explored in possibility of a shimmer, 2013, https://vimeo.com/63639265.

The work was made as an attempt to materialise and give form to my thinking about interpersonal relations. This was a useful exercise in developing a form that I can show to others that integrates my current formal and theoretical concerns with brevity. I have gone on to use the video as a work in its own right and as a form of visual proposal for further research.



2015, performance

File:IMG 8637.JPG

Con-sensual was a performance made for the Open Studios event. I read with a microphone from the front of the space a text about the experience of having depression and taking anti-depressants. The audience were seated facing me. The text was scored into sections that were picked up and placed on the floor as they were read. Two fellow performers - Angharad and Natalia - moved round the audience blowing bubbles throughout the performance until the final section when they scattered confetti over the room. The three of us wore white baseball caps. A silent video of a bath draining, me applying lipstick repeatedly and footage from the woods round the Teufelsberg listening station in Berlin was projected on the front wall behind the microphone. The video was made once the text was edited and laid out as a script for performing.

This text was also developed through the process of daily writing as a method for reflecting on and materialising research and experience from life in order to be able to work with it in the studio. Using my voice as live material felt ethical. It was a way of addressing care and intimacy differently than in the crit, using my body a different relationship to the audience. The performance was written to bring together material about the way wellbeing, illness and cure are categorised and understood with personal experience. I wrote it to understand my somewhat ambivalent position of having a critical professional awareness of psychopharmacological research paradigms and their limits and problems while also using the results of this paradigm in order to cope and feel well.

I am considering developing the text into a video work. By putting the same text to work in a different form I am attempting to bring a rigorous methodology to the question of whether the text or the form that I use to present it with are the crucial factor in the eventual work.


Present Moment

2015, 2 channel video

This work is in progress for the interim show. The material was filmed with four actors and a two person camera crew in an empty theatre space as a script was rehearsed and workshopped. The script follows an exchange between a family on a bus. The dramatic point is that there is a shift from the group being in conflict over individual competing needs to being in cooperation with everyone’s needs being met adequately-enough.

The script is coming from a research question around the generation of empathy - if empathy is most easily felt towards experiences that are closest to one’s own, can role play function as a tool for widening the possible field of felt empathy? I need to answer questions about why making a film that represents the emotional experience of others on screen as they represent the emotional experience of a character has anything to do with this background research question. I also need to role play the bus script to test the empathy hypothesis.

During the shoot I did too many things and as a result there is a key decision to be made in the edit. Do I focus on representing the workshopping and the actors methods or the narrative of the script itself? Through my mistakes I understand better how I would approach working with a script and actors again differently. I need to explore this method again in order to know if it helps me represent what I am trying to say through my work.


Ongoing Research and Future Plans

Research strands

mental health and wellbeing, empathy, intimacy, the mediation of intimacy through technology, the embodied ways through which language is communicated with a view to proposing alternative forms of listening, speaking and being in touch with others.

Research methods

Studio Routines

embed daily writing as a practice, gather more video footage, continue to work without aim with video and writing to allow connections to emerge


screening event looking at the use of confessional voice in moving image by female artists, academic/analytic essay with accompanying in-school screenings looking at artists moving image and presentations of trauma for VSR seminar, organise a Testo Junky reading group


youtube channel of readings from female poets (for fun), develop Con-sensual performance into a video version, continue the green screen water video into a loose series, develop the present moment interviews into a script


make some papier maché sculptures as elements fro video installation, make costumes from Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s Herland


consider techniques of voice recording

Social practice

possible 2 public projects through voluntary work at Pauluskerk Open Atelier - one that incorporates the work of people who use the studio with the work of the artists who facilitate it, one that makes visible refugee experience as a way of pressing for a change in Dutch government policy on treatment of refugees


printed or online publication with Transmission gallery on voices spoken in public, exploration of the use of personal experience as material for writing is ongoing, continue to read writing that integrates the personal, fictional and theoretical and watch moving image work that does the same

The process of writing and rewriting conversations that happen in social life. The process of writing and rewriting my understanding of being in groups. The process of writing and rewriting sensory and material experience. The process of writing and rewriting ideas and situating them in the matter of the writing.




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Laure Provost

Manon de Boer - (not all her work but the trilogy based on interviews with women subjects) Resonating Surfaces Let’s Talk About Wood Let’s Talk About Metal Sylvie Kristel Paris New York

Stephanie Berroes

James Richards

Lygia Clark

Steve Reinke

Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby

Sidsel Meinke Hansen

Tina Keane

Lynne Hershman Leeson

Alejandra Riera

Emily Roysdon

Xavier Le Roy - Product of Circumstances

Wendelien Van Oldenborgh - esp the work Instruction, 209

To read soon…

Trauma stuff for VSR seminar - Elaine Scarry, Dominick La Capra

Sarah Ahmed

Giorgio Agamben - the coming community

Jaques Attali - Noise

Karen Barad - Meeting the Universe Halfway

maybe some Bergson?

Lauren Berlant

Mikhail Baktin esp Speech Genres, the Dialogic Imagination

Donna Haraway - simians, cyborgs and women, Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective, Feminist Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3. (Autumn, 1988), pp. 575-599.

Thomas Kuhn - the structure of scientific revolutions

Jean Luc Nancy - Listening, the inoperative community

Michel Serres - the five senses

Bruno Latour and Michel Serres - conversations on science culture and time

Adriana Cavarero - for more than one voice

Mladen Dolar