Writing and Performing ‘The Dative’: New Forms of Notation for Scoring Excess.
Royal College of Art, London
Supervisor: Dr Catherine Dormor
My research utilises writing as sculptural material, combining fictive text, poetry and scripts with performers, objects and sculpture. This textual-material grouping speaks in multiple unstable voices, being a mutable chorus of excess. Here excess is understood as the subjective, speculative and unstable relationships be-tween sculptural and narrative elements. My research uses text as scoring to record this excess. At a mo-ment in history where the location of knowledge is contested space, my research examines how contempo-rary writing, sculpture and performative practice approach and articulate unstable knowledge.This research utilises ‘the dative’ to describe what this scoring captures, following from Feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray. In Elemental Passions (1999) Irigaray attempts reconciliation between lovers using feminist lan-guage and poetic form, re-purposing ‘the dative’ from a noun passively receiving, to a feminist term articu-lating an active space of intimate exchange. My research re-purposes ‘the dative’ as a term to describe the performative event’s recorded excess. To date, little work has been done utilising ‘the dative’s’ potential as textual mapping of performative excess, making this research a timely contribution to feminist fine-art writ-ing.My research-through-practice examines personal and social frameworks encoded in institutional, artistic and domestic spaces of artistic patronage and production, writing into relationships with historical/contemporary characters including much over-looked designer/artist Margaret Mackintosh (1865-1933) through her ar-chive, as well as furniture and domestic ephemera through its use in sculptural practice. This research utilises feminist writing strategies of direct-speech (Irigaray), performing gender (Butler), auto-ethnography (Nel-son and Kraus) and ficto-criticism (Randolf), to conflate voices of real/imagined, contemporary/historical, animate/inanimate, characters, architecture, furniture and archival records, producing new written and per-formative sculptural texts. Research outcomes will be new writing methods and terms for scoring perfor-mance and the production of new performative text works; a libretto of ‘the dative’ contributing to new feminist knowledge in art writing.