Out of words.

Melrose, Susan (2005) Out of words. In: CHARM (AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music) Symposium 1: Comparative perspectives in the study of recordings., 14-16 April 2005, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham. . [Conference or Workshop Item]


In this presentation I am concerned firstly with some of the implications, for understanding and analysis of what I call “mixed-mode” performance practices (including pre-recorded elements), of a training in the arts of writing; secondly with what those of us who are writers produce, ostensibly ‘about performance’, when we draw on discursive conventions which range from use of the ontologising verbs ‘to be’ and ‘to have’, through nominalisation (as though in performances’ name), and to commonsensical - as well as ‘expert’ - uses of metaphor. I shall argue that writing ‘about’ performances tends to be writing which reproduces spectator (or listener) theories of knowledge, as though these were “performance theories”; whereas what might well be at stake, in the institutional dispositifs (or set-ups) which bring together performance-making, performances, and spectators, are curious “events”, which “lie[...] at the intersection of at least two (and in reality many more) process lines”. “[E]xperience” in the event, writes Brian Massumi, “never stops ‘streaming’, and its streaming snowballs”, with similarly curious implications for those concerned to identify - for example - “its meaning”. I draw on accounts of one or two instances of mixed-mode performance events (and one or two accounts of performance writing), in order to argue that the orders which regulate (performance) writing tend to be incommensurable with the “autonomy of experience” of individuals caught up in certain performance events. The consequence is that each instance of performance-analytical writing constitutes no more than a momentary and imperfect instantiation of a fragment of an experience, which means that writing’s struggle is endless.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts
A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts > Dance group
A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts > Theatre Arts group
Item ID: 3070
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Susan Melrose
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2009 11:11
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:15
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/3070

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