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.
Permanent link to this resource: https://doi.org/10.24384/69nb-8011
Supervisors: Lee, Ray
School of ArtsFaculty of Technology, Design and Environment
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