Transformation and perception within the direct performative experience.

glass painting performing
Observational painting of still from Lysaght working on the stone

This work in the studio explored ways to present acts of transformation and perception within the direct performative experience. Presenting work that creates a space for live and tactile experience, I actively worked with paint on a transparent canvas within a performative context. Choosing to work with paint as a tangible substance on the canvas allowed the work to be subject to change throughout the handling and interaction of the material during the performance.

A projected photograph of past performative work presented with stonemason Lysaght was the only light in the space as part of this studio practice presentation. This image was important as it was an abstract photographic representation of my encounter with Lysaght working on the stone.

Projected image as part of the performance. Presented at my studio.2019

The slowed down recorded sounds from the tools activated by Lysaght on the stone provided the soundtrack for the development of the transparent paintings within the performance. Through utilising transparent canvas and recording my observations of the projected image there is a combination of my internalised kinaesthetic memory of the original performance from Lysaght, as well as my engagement in the present moment and what I am looking at. John Berger (1985) describes the observation of a photograph as not just identifying what we see in the photograph as a thing within itself but where the ‘…material representation accrues definition, fusing appearance with remembered experience.’


Analysing aspects of our memory, Husserl describes how episodic memory involves a re-enactment of our past perception. Through having a specific memory of watching a performance that includes what we were doing and how we were feeling at that time, we veritably reawaken the relevant sensorimotor aspects related to the past event. Through our perceptual experience of a specific memory we are deeply connected to our body as we engage in episodic memory retrieval. This happens in correlation to our remembering the distinct details of the event.[1] How can objects that form part of a performance initiate this embodied experience, can the media used as part of performance documentation also illicit an embodied response?


[1] Gallagher, S., ‘Phenomenology and embodied cognition’ in Shapiro,L. The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition, New York,Routledge,2014,315.


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