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WORK:PLAY - A work-in-progress postgraudate research conference
7 April April, 10.00 - 6.00 Grove Building, Middlesex University

WORK:PLAY - A work-in-progress postgraudate research conference

THURSDAY 7th April, 10.00 - 6.00
Grove Building, Middlesex University


10.15 Welcome
10.30 Emanuela Santini - 'DreamScapes' (mezzanine / screening room)
11.00 Rebecca Beattie - Looking For Mary Webb (PG room G230)
11.30 Salim Bouherar - Idiom comprehension theories: implications and teaching (PG room G230)
12.00-12.15 break
12.15 Elina Moriya - Tales of the Transparent – The translat/able image (TA2)
12.45 Eve Wedderburn - Form in Honour of 18 Ancestors: a work demonstration (TA1)
1.15-2.00 lunch
2.00 Anthony Iles - Not Homo Sapiens but Homo Ludens! (PG room G230)
2.30 Paula Chambers - Feral Objects and Acts of Domestic Piracy (PG room G230)
3.00 Pune Parsafar - Representation of Iranian women in cinema – a critical practice (PG room G230)
3.30-3.45 break
3.45 Simon Limbrick - perform, performance, performer (TA1)
4.15 Alexandra Baybutt  - ‘What is a festival?’ - she asked (TA1)
4.45 Carla Hamer - ‘Experiences, memories and traces’: an encounter through dance and photography (TA1)
5.15 Richard Craig - émoi et moi – subjectivity in practice (TA1)
5.45 - 6.30 Open discussion / drinks


10.30 Emanuela Santini - 'DreamScapes'

'DreamScapes' are sketches/drawings in progress related to my research on the relation between the conscious and the unconscious in the creative process of drawing. They are about intuitiveness and spontaneity in the process of making. They are as well an oportunity to make some work, to bring the quietness of studio space in front of the audience.
These preliminary sketches will be made out of materials (photographs, fabric, threads, paper) collected by time and made without any predetermined thoughts of how and why I am going to use them.
11.00 Rebecca Beattie - Looking For Mary Webb

Mary Webb was a popular writer, who wrote novels, essays and poems in the early Twentieth Century that explored folklore, superstition and the sacred qualities of nature. She received success posthumously (following her early death in 1927) in the 1930s and 1940s, and then later in the 1980s as Virago press revived her work for new audiences. However, Webb has gone largely forgotten and unstudied, and a pilgrimage to her home country of Shropshire in 2012 left me wondering where she was. There are no blue plaques to celebrate her passing, and the only statue I saw didn’t look like her. For my PhD in Creative Writing, I will be taking inspiration from the life and work of Mary Webb to write a novel which seeks to use imagination to fill the gaps in the record, and create a living, breathing, fictional Mary Webb through the imagined recreation of her diaries, alongside a contemporary storyline. This requires me to find her writer’s voice alongside my own. I will also be producing a critical preface that seeks to explore the differences and similarities between Webb’s techniques and my own, and to explore some of the critical themes in Webb’s work.
11.30 Salim Bouherar - Idiom comprehension theories: implications and teaching

Earlier works on idiom comprehension suggest that idioms are property of memory and hearers rely on retention to make sense of figurative expressions. Different approaches of this view differ in the way they articulate the comprehension routes but they all agree that idioms are treated as chunks. The very recent approaches differ considerably in the way idioms are understood. Idioms fall in a continuum of transparency which offers hearers great opportunity to consider the complexity of idioms. Other alternative approaches claim to synthesize the two views and give a new cognitive value of idiom comprehension.
However, what would be the implications of these models on teaching idioms to second language learners? Zarei and Rahimi (2012) argue that those approaches mostly shaped idiom comprehension in L1 context. Studies on L2 context are very few thus teaching strategies are introduced instead. In this paper I will review some of the approaches of idiom comprehension and show their implications on teaching strategies.        

12.15 Elina Moriya - Tales of the Transparent – The translat/able image

This video installation aims to investigate the formation of an image within perception. Moving away from the notions of flat, framed image within the boundaries of a camera, the surface of the image is challenged via materialistic and spatial forms. This premise allows the light to operate more transparently, enabling new encounters, both visual and conceptual, to emerge.
12.45 Eve Wedderburn - Form in Honour of 18 Ancestors: a work demonstration

In this presentation, I demonstrate a sequence from my training practice, Northern Praying Mantis Kung Fu. The sequence’s name translated means ‘Form in Honour of 18 ancestors’ and it is a pivotal and iconic sequence from my particular school of Kung Fu. The demonstration is part of a (fictional) performance that I have written as a response to my difficulty in articulating the precise dimensions of the pressure that my critical research has placed on my historic practice. In the performance, I adopt the idea of ‘ancestors’ and try to trace my own history as it problematizes and is problematized by the training that I have undertaken. The repetitive demonstration foregrounds the bodily reality of kung fu practice that theoretical explorations both depend upon and partially efface. Describing the demonstration as part of a fictional performance works both to underscore the mythologizing effect of kung fu auto-ethnography, while at the same time allowing the structure of the presentation to undermine that effect. The purpose of the presentation is critically to position the performance of the sequence and contextualise some of the concerns that working with a martial art has raised in my PhD research. The work is structurally informed by my theoretical research of Adorno’s Negative Dialects.

2.00 Anthony Iles - Not Homo Sapiens but Homo Ludens!

Art group and self-published journal, Inventory, initiated their practice with a call for a ‘fierce sociology’, in which they opposed the scientific category of humanity (homo sapiens) to a more playful ensemble driven by passionate enquiry (homo ludens). This presentation will give an overview of philosophical, ethnographic and artistic conceptualisations of ‘play’ which might help us better understand this methodology, its agency and relevance for collective practices of publishing, art-making and political association in late-1990s and early 2000s culture in London.

2.30 Paula Chambers - Feral Objects and Acts of Domestic Piracy

Furniture usually just lingers about, not taking up too much of our attention or emotional energy. But sometimes the opposite can be true. Coffee tables tilt and rattle, saucepans fly forcefully, bedside cabinets lurch suddenly and unexpectedly. Poltergeist phenomena disrupts domestic space and objects, but also our understanding of agency; is this paranormal activity, or the very clever handiwork of disenfranchised girls and women? Likewise, sculptural objects that utilise the language of domestic disruption, manifest this uncanny agency; they lurk and loiter in the gallery space, performing their resistance to a gendered understanding of home. The artist's house as work space, the hoarder, women with too many cats, front room seance; these and other transgressive occupations of domestic space evidence subversive strategies of female resistance. Through the embodied making processes, anecdote and theory, I present a feminist interrogation of women's relationship to the domestic.
3.00 Pune Parsafar - Representation of Iranian women in cinema – a critical practice

As the practical component of my research, I am making a documentary exploring and applying new forms of feminist and emancipatory portrayals of women in cinema. The documentary will be an application of and a practical experimentation informing the findings of the theoretical thesis. My aim is to challenge the dominant images of Iranian women in both Hollywood and Iranian official cinema, and the ideological perspectives underpinning them - orientalist, postcolonial and cultural-relativist, and religious/misogynistic, respectively.
3.45 Simon Limbrick -  perform, performance, performer

The space of the performative location can be structured through different media; a physical place, a virtual place, an imaginary place. The place is a locus that is bounded and informed by different concepts, disciplines and practices. The idea that in a theatrical context, the experience between audience and performance ‘is marked by its location, be that geographical, cultural or social’ (1) , that this experience is the result of a located encounter gives some direction for where to look. An understanding of the space for that encounter is possible by a review of the multiple disciplines that inform it. It is necessary to unpack the list, to find the systems and apparatus that construct and operate on the performative event.This includes the development of new media and practical technologies, the changing relationship in the creative practice between the performer and the performance materials, the physical and social contexts of performance. Different strands drawn from these different modalities weave and overlay to create the material of the performance event. A common thread that connects them all is that of change. Of an evolution that is divided and functioning at different speeds, bringing moments of dissonance and resonance. The performative space makes human thought and activity visible, audible; perceptible. Debord refers to the 'spectacle', but this has common ground with the performative occasion.
'a tendency to make one see the world by means of various specialised mediations...but the spectacle is not identifiable with mere gazing, even combined with hearing.' (2)
J.Kelleher.,N.Ridout.,Contemporary Theatres in Europe (2006,p2)
2.  Spectacle of Society, Guy Debord,para18
4.15 Alexandra Baybutt - ‘What is a festival?’ - she asked

Alexandra takes this opportunity to share and evolve her thoughts and research around the concept of the festival, in advance of embarking on fieldwork and interviews. Her research explores the structures and functions of festivals of contemporary dance, choreography and performance across Europe. This presentation-workshop will briefly lay out some constituent features of festivals, then ask the audiences to share in her deliberations on scale, intentions, content and curatorial strategies when approaching the festival as creating spaces of discourse and effervescence. This shared moving-thinking will take the form of locating our whole selves in the space relative to some thematic coordinates and questions. Kinetic and spatial structures for individual opinion (located relationally) are partly inspired by artists David Bloom and Hamish MacPherson, and affine with choreographic thinking involved in curatorial processes, and the embodied nature of thought, decision-making and temporary spatial organisation. Debate manifests physically, and may spill into verbal discussion in the last part of the time slot.

4.45 Carla Hamer - ‘Experiences, memories and traces’: an encounter through dance and photography

While the ‘Ethnographic turn' has triggered a proliferation of ‘sensory' approaches in the social sciences, and ‘ethnographic' projects in the arts, the recognition of the ambiguities of the photographic image has triggered both, adverse critique and interest regarding its inclusion in socially informed research. While the former presents a reluctance to the use of photography as a research tool, the latter calls for the development of stronger collaborative practices between artists and anthropologists (Grimshaw and Ravetz 2015, Grimshaw and Ravetz 2005, Mjaaland 2013). An investigation of the appropriateness of a performative approach in ethnographically informed photography-led research seeks to respond to the challenges of new forms of experimentation with the photograph in relation to the still remaining ‘realist paradigm'(Pasqualino and Schneider 2014, Green and Lowry 2003, Grossman 2014)) This project, focused on the study of the histories of a Danish community in Argentina, uses staged photography and performance for the interpretation and transmission of research findings. It appears that a reconsideration of the relation of photography to the real from a performative perspective is an interpretative and experiential type of embodied knowledge that provides a different layer to the narratives of transnational stories and memories (Edwards 2008). This work discusses the critical and experimental possibilities of a performative approach to photography through a reflection on a collaborative project that involved photography and dance.
5.15 Richard Craig - émoi et moi – subjectivity in practice

My presentation will look specifically at contemporary music practice, the dynamic between the performer and the composer. I will give examples of how new repertoire and its visual and practical complexity provides a framework for subjectivity, and in what way subjectivity becomes situated as a means to resolve the physical impingements and reconceptualisations of the instrument and instrumentalist in contemporary music.
I will take examples from the score émoi by the composer Evan Johnson for solo bass flute, and discuss the strategies that inform and shape my performances. Subjectivity is used in my approach to mediate the complexity of the score-object, and I will illustrate how my performance practice has adapted and specialised itself. I will also posit that my own subjectivity has led to a projection of creative agency onto the score, challenging the accepted relationship between composers and performers.
As a continuation of this I will highlight my work as a composer and in what way my compositions respond to the radical reconfiguration of the performer and the score.