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Title: Performing agency and the poetic witness
Author: Alexander, Lisa
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 4013
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2014
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The thesis presents a concept and practice of ‘poetic witness’ through in depth case studies of artworks created as part of the practice as research and by other artists that stage subjectivity through framing the relational narrativity of the moment. A poetic witness operates in a space of becoming engaging a plural voice that approaches another through an ongoing othering of self. Particular forms of participatory artwork, performance and contemporary poetics are explored that work to reveal the ways in which a person is conditioned as an individual in society to witness herself and an-other and so exercise agency. This process enlists the knowhow of mortal singularity, the sensuous understanding derived from an emplaced, embodied experience of being. The thesis explores how this affective endurance of the body and the durational experience of dwelling might interpellate the boundaries imposed upon expression-perception by a disembodied linguistic system, and in a process of participatory hearing give space for its unexpressed witness. Examining how artists are staging a communication between the body’s voice, language and dwelling, the thesis explores embodied poetics and the impact of place and time upon a performance of witness, investigating how these processes might challenge a phallogocentric system. The signification and agency of the speaking body is posited in specific ways of framing the performance of utterance sensorily immersed in place that express the witness between hearing and speech; a sonorous voice that potentially discloses the self as other unfixing the autos of memory. It is proposed that a poetic process of witness transposes a context of globalisation and its techno-linguistic, geo-political and economic skew on people, place and time by treating an ongoing digital flow of information as becoming. The sensuous excess of the body’s becoming is ordinarily omitted from a system of exchange imposed by a society, its government and its media, perhaps because the infinity of this embodied, sonorous and poetic knowhow is impossible to regulate. The notion of a ‘situation’ is used as a structuring device in the written thesis to provide a frame within which elements of the practice speak or utter in the form of narrativity or metalepsis, whilst illustrating the voice’s plurality. In this way the written thesis itself applies a process of poetic witness upon the case studies of artworks that perform this witness.
Supervisor: Heathfield, Adrian ; Wilkie, Fiona Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available