He was covered in thick black latex and looked like a huge shiny insect with an elongated head and one fat leg. The visual art of Doris Salcedo The work of this Columbian born sculptor always stays with me for a long time after experiencing it live. This is perhaps deliberate formally as Salcedo deals with issues of memory and forgetting. Astounding stuff. The performance work of Ron Athey Quite simply I think Ron is one of the most important living contemporary performance makers in the world.
I remain in total awe of him. As a result we are launching a totally overhauled model of the SPILL National Platform, where we are able to present 46 younger artists in one big go. Question from BryonyKimmings : [Part 1] 'What makes your festival so special Question from andytfield : 'How can we make better homes for performance?
Question from ForcedEnts : 'What are you most looking forward to seeing at the Festival? And it doesn't have to be thecomingstorm ' RP: I refuse to have favourites! Question from nahummantra : 'Latex or leather? If during the process of signification, a materiality arises in the encounter between performers and audience, constituted within the event of performance, then this marks our encounter with work.
Criticism is not limited to an activity of valuation; it becomes a series of intellectual acts that concern themselves with performance and its discourse—criticism becomes an event with its own poetics and architecture.
If we consider that critical process emerges from our encounter with performance, we find scope to further elaborate on the ways in which it might be possessive of a materiality. This makes itself particularly evident if we think of the critic as a material being in that process, as well as its agent.
The critical process is always embodied but, furthermore, it is always constituted through thinking, as an act of temporary removal and interpretation. This results in a material output that does not necessarily close the process, but allows it to unfold in the public realm.
I refer to this as the critical output—the material trace of the critical process. Oral forms of criticism are examples of how the critical output emerges in collective processes; instead of a text in which we can examine the ways in which description and analysis interact, oral criticism is verbal and embodied. We become documents of an experience, extending its processes beyond the performance space.
In this manner, the critical output gains independence in the process of its coming into being. I argue, however, that contrary to this identity, the critical output—which refers to wider forms of articulation of criticism, inclusive of the textual—holds an intrinsic and plural relationship to performance.
I differentiate between the formal and, in this instance, linguistic operations of the critical output. As critics, we have a spectatorial intent that differentiates our experience, but also a subjectivity that belongs to a collective experience. It is these aspects that are negotiated in the critical output, and that become highly visible in oral criticism. In oral criticism, this subjectivisation becomes the starting point for a discussion that, in its potential for discursivity, allows and invites the articulation of discourse, making visible the different ideologies of spectatorship and analysis that a critic engages with.
So, could we think of orality in criticism as an extension of the performance event, as a place in which the experience of performance is woven in with criticality? Might this also mean an extension of the event and process of criticism itself, inviting others into the activities of thinking and interpretation?
I propose that these aspects might also provide orality with an additionally powerful dimension—that of discursivity and the constitution of public opinion. In , the hub of the festival was located in the Ipswich Town Hall, which acted as the main space for the Salon discussions. These were only lightly moderated, and sought to bring into play some of the writing that I, with the writers, had been producing over the course of the festival, tying these into wider concerns affecting the practice and labour of experimental performance, particularly in a regional context.
The still active Town Hall became, for the duration of the festival, a space for a temporary public to gather. What is particular about Spill and its satellite activities relocated outside of London, is that they encourage the public, participating artists, curators and writers to stay for the duration of the three days and attend the Salon discussions.
Within the context of a neoliberal society in which forms of participation easily become enmeshed in governmental agendas Bishop and, as a result, are often ineffective, this temporariness and situatedness became a productive way through which to cultivate critically-oriented discussion, and an informed public opinion on the scope, register, language and intentions of experimental performance work. As a critic, this context provides you with a particular presence, particularly in the context of the Salon, where the invitation is extended to members of the public as well as artists to work from the writing to ignite conversations.
Given that part of the work is from younger artists, who undertake a development process following the festival that results in a shortlist of several works that premiere in London, this poses an additional challenge. The critic has to respond more quickly to context, but also note thematic threads, invite discussion and relevant contextualisation.
The social, performative and deliberative very much become one realm for the duration. Within the context of a neoliberal society whose political policies have enmeshed such forms of participation in governmental agendas Bishop , prioritising individual autonomy over collective action, this relocation marks an investment of agency in discourse as a formation of public opinion.
Becoming part of this temporary community means that we engage in a different choreography of attention; the line between critical output and process becomes blurred, for nothing is complete or finished. Orality becomes a mode through which criticism performs a closer dialogue with criticality, and it is explicitly collective.
Can this be a way to engage with the formation of public opinion, and what role might disagreement play in this? Zierle Carter, The Swan Song. Habermas provides a historical narrative to the configuration of issues of authority in political participation in tandem with the development and appropriation of a sphere of political communication.
This paved the way for the development of the press, as a mode of communication and decisive marker of the public sphere. Habermas argues that the end of the nineteenth century in Europe marked a depoliticisation and instrumentalisation of the public press. So, already, political practice attacks the very idea of a public sphere independent of it, but engaged with it.
In the context of modern liberal democracies, he argues, public opinion becomes an instrument of the state. Yet what role does critical engagement play in this scenario? For Habermas, this pertains to instrumentalisation. In this sense, we can understand public opinion as responding to structural formations. Habermas scholars Georgia Wanke and Stephen K White provide a helpful argument that traces the roots of this assertion, underpinning this positioning of public opinion as emphasising communicative.
This contribution, oriented in democratic theory, provides an appropriate context for my discussion of criticism. We speak of criticism as a field of practice whose agents engage in transactions; these transactions occur in the public sphere; contemporary culture and its communicative processes have been affected by the rise of the internet, as well as the diversification of critical practice.
So, what role might temporary spaces constructed through oral criticism have of creating spaces that are deliberative, and less easily instrumentalised in processes of marketisation?
We have already noted that deliberation is not apolitical in criticism; it is in equal manner affected by neoliberalism and its operations. Habermas introduces the idea of critical publicity, located in public spaces where deliberation occurs. Although Habermas places emphasis on consensus as a mode through which critical publicity is formed, I find limited value in consensus for the ways in which it presupposes a homogenisation. Habermas suggests that public opinion, formed through consensus within a public sphere, must remain outside of the mechanics of the state and corporate capital in order to maintain critical efficacy.
My argument departs from this assertion, building on the core idea of disagreement as fundamental to deliberation. Neoliberalism has resulted in a co-option of criticism into mechanisms of legitimation and marketing. If there is, however, no outside of the state, then what happens to the building of public opinion?
He introduces the performative contradiction, and I note in this term a way of understanding how normative ethics contradicts an ideal speech situation in its entailment of acceptance. Through the performative contradiction, Habermas ascribes power to validity claims and, as Panagia also shows, the assertiveness of truth and sincerity as operatives of the mechanisms of communication.
I have already discussed this when analysing the origins of the public sphere in Habermas. On the one hand, then, we have a problematic normative ethics whose danger is to legislate public opinion, but, on the other, Habermas also offers a mode of expression through this engagement that is aesthetically and representationally constructed through and in the social body.
The answer lies with a different reading of the performative contradiction that enables the political and aesthetic dimension of collective deliberation. If we resituate the notion of publicity into a contemporary context in which market-driven and influenced mechanisms of knowledge and communication occur in their plurality,  the possibility of disagreement opens up. In other words, oral criticism cannot function within a context in which it enacts operations that are normative and monological; so, the critic cannot perform acts that are authoritative or legislative; her role unfolds on the basis of subjectivity, and through the differentiations she can provide which then act as territories of discussion.
I turn to Nancy Fraser and her critique of Habermas to further explain this. She theorises multiplicity in relation to the formation of public opinion, underlining the potential for restoring disagreement within this landscape through an emphasis on appearance and connection. Because I wanted you to carry away a little piece of me.
Because I wanted to be able to see the dance Because I wanted to touch your skin. I am writing this because I wanted to leave an inscription. This is an edited extract of an article published in the on-line version of Contemporary Performance Review.
To see the full article go to — For more information on Scribe — contact Leisa Shelton — fragment31 gmail. Across a full afternoon, public documents from Scribe presentations at Dance Massive , were made available to visitors of Dance House to read, discuss and enter into shared dialogue on, with Scribe — Olivia Satchell.
Live writings and Public readings are part of the continuance of the Scribe project and will be held in several host venues across For this, Leisa requires to be in the city at least one week prior to commencement to meet and prepare the Scribes and select sites and Strategies for undertaking the project within each unique context.
There are 5 hand made desks, which are fully portable and transportable for national and international engagement, with a purpose build travel case. Packed they weigh 12kg as a single unit and travel as booked luggage with Leisa. Scribes work within a series of formic languages — written, drawn, brailed, mapped etc.
From Liverpool Street station, jump on the train heading north east into Suffolk. It is perhaps indicative of a search for something lost. It consolidated everything I wanted to address around taking control of my own practice, through being in service to others.
In this way, the walls and sidewalks became animated with anonymous voices, identified only by number, speaking back to the events contained within them. I write these responses knowing that these artists are along a trajectory, and that the National Platform itself is conceived as a critical role along this path.
Tweet In a fresh and exciting festival was born - presenting events by some of the world's leading experimental theatre and performance makers.
She is Performance Editor of Exeunt Magazine, co-founder of Writingshop, a collaborative, pan-European project examining the processes and politics of contemporary critical practice, and works as a Lecturer in Performance Arts at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. As I watched Robert Pacitti leaning, listening in to Quentin Crisp as they roamed endlessly gently through the New York streets, I fell into the expanse of that time. Secondly, I turn to theorisations of the public sphere that concentrate on the formation of public opinion.
He introduces the performative contradiction, and I note in this term a way of understanding how normative ethics contradicts an ideal speech situation in its entailment of acceptance.
And perhaps this is what the scales held by Justice represent, the balance of the past and the future but with the power to discern this through facing death. I turn to Nancy Fraser and her critique of Habermas to further explain this. It felt like the non-notes being played with equal emphasis. I listened to the cogni-scientific neuro-babble, dutifully answering question in honesty and with brevity. Each composition presented particular technical challenges, as well as completely different moods that had to be immediately engaged and maintained throughout the work. Our mis-takes, are always in relation to others, always their voices all too readily become our own.
RLC: Listening to you play in Listen It consolidated everything I wanted to address around taking control of my own practice, through being in service to others. RH: This work suggests to me a scene in which a sexualised act could be played out. If there were a spirit of London, would it be anything particular — a spirit of capitalism or a spirit of resistance.
The Sadness of Detail is also deftly notated.
If we consider deliberation to be a fundamental, democratic operation through which public opinion and cultural discourse are constituted in the public sphere, then to what extent might we find a productive relationship between criticism and oral deliberation? I am writing this because I wanted to be included Towards the end of the show the audience is asked to put on blindfolds and take off our shoes.
In the past the festival has worked in partnerships with the Barbican, Southbank, National Theatre Studio, Soho Theatre and many others. Each composition presented particular technical challenges, as well as completely different moods that had to be immediately engaged and maintained throughout the work. I suppose I would have to add to that, that witnessing this coming-together of performative elements breath, musculature, movement, wood, metal, gut, glass etc. RH: My thoughts on that are more connected with the fact being musician; there is a certain amount of object worship that takes place, an advanced respect and understanding of your equipment. He keeps pressing clay and wool onto his flesh, clothing his body in a simulacrum of himself, or at least an image of who he thinks he is, as though there is no original.