Online Symposium, 13-14 May 2021, Theme: Playfulness

Questioning a Body of Material: A Speculative Weaving

This short performative presentation is an invitation to engage with a body of work – a ‘body-thing’ – that responds to my experiences in and of a stroke rehabilitation day centre in the context of an academic art research enquiry.

As participant-observer-artist-researcher I am intimately implicated and entangled with and in both material and situational encounters. Transposing threads from psychoanalysis and art psychotherapy to the fine arts I adapt rules and conventions to afford opportunities to (re)approach and (re)present the emergent material differently. Resisting the pull towards an ‘end’, the emphasis is on exploration and play without the inclination to make ‘something’ – although, as Tim Ingold might say, some ‘thing’ tends towards coming together, in the sense of being a place where ‘several goings on become entwined’. (1) 

Unable to present the ‘body-thing’ in its physical manifestation, I perform with parts of it, weaving fragments of spoken and recorded voice, text, image, and sound that may (or may not) resonate. Moving between inner and outer worlds and the spaces of psychoanalysis, art, and academia I invite the audience to feel its presence and dwell amidst the folds of its uncertainty. As a constructed fiction where I play with processes of projection, identification, and transference, it has the potential to spin an elaborate yarn. Yet, as Virginia Woolf notes ‘fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.’(2) Raising questions through its making and re-making in different contexts the ‘body-thing’ becomes a way of both resisting and critiquing institutional processes, and bringing something affective into the room for consideration.


1     Ingold, Tim, 'The Textility of Making', Cambridge Journal of Economics, 34, 1, 2010, 91-102, p. 96

2     Woolf, Virginia, A Room of One's Own, London: Penguin, 2000 [originally published 1928]