PhD thesis

During my PhD I have attempted to make writing reflect the approach of my artwork. In my artwork the distinction between form and content is often blurred and this has occurred in my writing practice. ‘Breaking’ is the main theme running through my work and in addition my work has developed to use breaking as a methodology. Since the methodology and subject are both ‘breaking’ it is difficult to distinguish in writing where one stops and the other starts; both contribute to understanding the experience of the other.

My current working process involves cutting and rearranging previous writing and then adding new elements on post-it notes. Any paragraph from any section could easily be placed into another section and rewrites involve massive reordering. Themes reoccur through several sections. The continual restructuring is not arbitrary but is done with a sense of play where different juxtapositions of the content create new tensions to explore.

As this practice has developed I have begun to realise that breaking occurs both physically and philosophically. The latter revolves around Derrida’s concept of the break as the point at which the structurality of structure becomes evident; Barthes pleasure of the text as the seam between two registers of discourse and Benjamin’s allegory as a process of shattering old relationships to make possibilities for new juxtapositions.

A paper given for the SECAC 2011 conference in Savannah, USA is available here: