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Pay attention to the footnotes

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Drawing on my experience of working in collaboration with the project Open City, in this article I reflect on how this close encounter with a performance practice has enabled a critical shift within my own approach, from a mode of writing about to one of writing in dialogue with or alongside performance. Open City is an investigation-led artistic project that explores how public space is conceptualized and organized by interrogating the ways in which our daily actions and behaviours are conditioned and controlled. Their research activity involves inviting, instructing or working with members of the public to create discrete interventions and performances, which put into question or destabilize habitual patterns or conventions of public behaviour. In 2007, I was invited by Open City to produce a piece of writing in response to their work for a series of publicly distributed postcards, and have since worked more collaboratively with the project on a phase of research investigating how the different temporalities within the public realm might be harnessed or activated creatively; how movement and mobility affect the way in which place and locality are encountered or understood. In this article, I reflect on how different forms of writing specifically the postcard texts have performed in response to the work of Open City, focusing in particular on the use of footnotes and the different concepts conjured up by the word. Footnotes are one of the ways in which the different temporal possibilities of writing have been explored and exploited within the project, where they have been used as a creative and critical device for producing points of slowness and blockage within the act of reading, or as a form of performative invitation that encourages both textual and physical wandering.
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Keywords: instructions; performance; slowness; synchronized action; wandering

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Nottingham Trent University.

Publication date: 2009-11-01

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  • The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice is the official organ of the Writing Purposefully in Art and Design (Writing PAD) network. It offers art and design institutions an arena in which to explore and develop the notion of thinking through writing as a parallel to visual discourse in art and design practice. The journal aims to extend the debates to all national and international higher educational art and design institutions.
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