Thesis (Ph.D)

Text+Object+Action=Textact: Can text work as the main focus of a performance art practice?


This process led research examines ways in which text, particularly the written form, can become the focus of a performative practice. The works, which I have named ‘Textacts’, investigate ways in which text can be activated, explore which objects can carry text and trial a range of actions through which text materialises. Text is constructed through building letter by letter, displaying pre-written text and alternative text forms and writing with various parts of the body. My chosen texts consist of composed pieces and borrowed individual words, phrases, quotes, a definition and a song. The random text content is designed to place the focus upon the process of the work rather than the subject content of the words, which are then open to interpretation by the viewer. Many of the actions necessitate some form of struggle which introduces an element of precariousness into the work and this, combined with the text content, tends to generate a humorous response. Twenty-three Textacts; nineteen short performances lasting from five to ten minutes and four longer performance presentations lasting from ten to twenty minutes, have been performed in a variety of settings and contexts, including research seminars and conferences, art galleries, pop-up venues, and on the street. My findings, based on the evaluation of the Textact components, audience response and interest, and relevance of contexts in which the works took place, led me to believe that the Textact is a valid addition to the various types of performance art currently being made. The arts-practice based methodology combining planning, action and reflection allows for ideas to be drafted and refined, enabling the on-going composition, performance and evaluation of works and would be appropriate as a model for use by others. The Textact focus on struggle induced humour makes the work accessible to a range of audiences. Textact, as a term for text-based performance art could be appropriated to describe similar works. Therefore, as a method of generating performance art using text, the Textact could be of interest and potentially useful to others working and studying within the field such as artists, researchers into arts practices and students.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier)

Permanent link to this resource:

Attached files


Lloyd, Peta


Supervisors: Lee, Ray

Oxford Brookes departments

School of Arts
Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment


Year: 2020

© Lloyd, Peta
Published by Oxford Brookes University
All rights reserved. Copyright © and Moral Rights for this thesis are retained by the author and/or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This thesis cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.