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Sensing the story: structure and improvisation in writing for performance

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This article discusses the process of writing through devising in performance. It takes as a case study Apart of and A Part From in which muscle and sense memory touch, smell, taste, sound and sight were the points of departure for a contemporary performance piece on migration and identity. This was a practice-as-research project aimed to better understand the artist's body (myself) in improvisation with memory fragments. Working from a non-verbal frame the writing experience began as actions in space, then new memories in my body, to maps on paper, to key word and some staging patterns, to systematic capturing of the textual, rhythmic and spatial structures in the emerging 30-minute performance. Various objects were incorporated to give aesthetic coherence of the piece. The article reports on the processes of writing in action, the writing and performing as lived experience and how the writing emerged from the spaces in between self and other, self and object, self and space, present self and past self.

Keywords: autobiography; embodied writing; improvised performance; memory; structure

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Glamorgan.

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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