Doctor of Creative Arts
Department of Creative Arts
Heywood, Nicola, Undoing Discomfort: being real/becoming other in an embodied performance practice, Doctor of Creative Arts thesis, Department of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong, 2016. https://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/4816
Undoing Discomfort: being real/ becoming other in an embodied performance practice contextualises new creative research within an interdisciplinary field crossing performance, live art and dance. During the doctoral program I have created an experimental body of work, a ten part series in progress since 2010, culminating with the presentation of museum of the sublime: relic #10 in February 2016.
The pivotal ideas framing the exegetical research revolve around creative and somatic systems that make and unmake the body of the performer, seeking to undo and reshape a performer’s self-perception. Intrinsic to these diverse practices is their common focus on both ‘processes of embodiment and the phenomena of presence’ (Lichte 2008, p.77). Of central interest is their application to the creation and the act of performance, alongside the usefulness and nature of enquiry itself as an open-ended methodology.
In arguing for the intelligence of the body-mind, and proposing studio practice as a means of thinking through the world-in-the-body and through the body-in-the-world, this research seeks to make explicit what is often implicit within a somatically receptive creative practice. The ‘world’ of the practitioner in this sense includes histories, other artworks, sounds, and writings on animals as well as scholarship in Theatre and Performance Studies and the body, and particularly the enteric nervous system and gut feeling. In this context, feminist thinkers and writers have been essential, encompassing scholarship drawn from Gender Studies, Philosophy, Theatre and Performance Studies, as well as writings by key theatre, dance and movement artists, in order to discuss the training methodologies and key conceptual movements informing the evolution of my thinking as a performance practitioner.
In describing a range of forces that shape and influence my body and body of work, and in particular, the development of the museum of the sublime series, which is the focus of this doctoral research project, the research attempts to elucidate and extend the idea of the ‘corporeal’, by which I mean the tangible materiality of the real body as the site of sensation and the threshold for transformation and transmission, where affect is intensified and reshaped to become performance, to find that discomfort is intrinsic to research and to creative process and a constant thematic element under discussion.