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How to create a metaphorical body from a cardboard box

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This article is an instructional, narrative and illustrated guide that articulates a creative process from a body of work in my practice research. The body of work is the Boxing Series (2015–present); artworks in this series develop ideas through consecutive performances, building on experience, technique and exploratory innovation. The set of instructions detailed in this article enable the creation of an artwork done in this specific invented style, through a process termed ‘boxing’. The instructions are a guide in order to experience the process of making, and to also experience a metaphorical and sculptural body, one that embodies and reflects something other or something unknown prior to the undertaking of the making process. This is to say that a metaphorical body may emerge for the maker from the instructions provided, using materials and tools listed, key characteristics, reflective considerations, sculptural and improvisational techniques. The artworks from the Boxing Series originate from a cardboard box that is covered/fortified with a latex skin and then wrestled with in an improvisational technique. This intuitive process of making is also a deconstruction, transformation and collaboration (with the material). The event of the ‘boxing’ uses a premeditated theoretical structure for making, but the process is un-choreographed, involving spontaneity. This article is fashioned after a specific artwork from the Boxing Series, Animalia Interruptous (AI). AI, was an intervention, a performance or rather a ‘making intervention’ that replaced the format of a traditional academic presentation. It was presented at the 2018 Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) postgraduate symposium titled Materials and Materiality: How do they Matter? held at Central Bankside, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama on Friday, 9 February 2018. The symposium sought to investigate the roles and significance of the various materials that are around us and that make up or are negotiated in theatre and performance practice and research.

Keywords: embodiment; feminist phenomenology; improvisation; new materialism; performance; process; sculpture installation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of the Arts London

Publication date: September 1, 2018

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  • JAWS: Journal of Arts Writing by Students is a compilation of the best arts research and writing by current MA students and first year graduates. Capturing the contemporary themes and trends in arts research today, JAWS is peer reviewed and edited by students, for students; promoting the autodidactic attitude and inherent curiosity that is required for post graduate, career or personal research development with or without practice.
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