Making Making Matter: Paper as Paradox in Practice-as-Research

Hilevaara, Katja and Orley, E. 2015. Making Making Matter: Paper as Paradox in Practice-as-Research. Ruukku: Studies in Artistic Research, 4, [Article]

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In this exposition we articulate and question our own artistic working process and aesthetic, while exploring how we can make the making of work matter as much as the documents that are made afterwards. We use the remnants of the making of a performance, which began as a dialogue, to make a new performance, with images and words which we take apart and put back together. The act of talking is transcribed, then transformed then transcribed again to be reflected upon now. By exploring the materiality of the paper we read and write on, and examining how it is made, we question the hegemony of text and the pressure we are all under in the Academy to produce evermore outputs. We investigate the complex relationship between practice and research and question whether we can make and think, create and theorise, do and write about doing, without devaluing one and prioritising the other. As practitioner-researchers, we have been collaborating for the last eight years to produce a series of short performance installations called Brief Encounters (or The Breaking of Images). Drawing inspiration from makers and thinkers alike (from Francis Alÿs to Brian Massumi, from the Gutai Group to Rebecca Schneider), we have presented work around the UK, Finland and in the Netherlands. We have tended to prepare our work at length, engaging with the places in which we find ourselves, only to perform it for a few minutes before removing (or attempting to remove) all traces of it. By removing (nearly) all traces of it, we lose evidence of our process. The making that happened in the performance, it seems, matters no more. We are interested in thinking about how we might make it matter still without compromising what was made in the first place, without devaluing the act of performance. So we set out to ask here: how can we celebrate the making while thinking about how and why the making was made? How can we keep the making and thinking about making critical and creative at the same time?

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP) > The Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing (PCPCW)


7 February 2015Published

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Date Deposited:

23 Jul 2018 13:55

Last Modified:

22 Jan 2019 13:14

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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