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Performance : Room for One and All

Watt Space Gallery
Event organized by Watt Space Gallery

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Watt Space Gallery invites you to a performance by the Queen of Contexti.

Please join us at Watt Space Gallery Tuesday the 17th April from 5:00 pm
Performance shall begin 5:30 pm.

Drinks and light refreshments will be served

All Welcome to attend this free event

Reign of Contexti is a celebration for the liberation of words. For words to serve, and give unity, for the liberation of all culturally and individually, in whatever form or language the word takes...and a move beyond William Burrough’s cut-ups. Most of my words are now utterances, or illegible marks, before the figurative line became a sign. The cutting-up of text, something once so radical when Burrough’s took-up painter, Brion Gysin’s cut-up approach, the cut-ups continued to reiterate an inherent power of the original text by returning cut-ups into cohesive, albeit paratactic, units of sense, and those silenced remained either erased, or more bizarrely represented, as their mis, under, or not being represented at all in the original texts continued.

In addition, the identity of the artist is often a consideration in relation to the work, hence why in performance I take on different guises, from a queen, to an anonymous rain-coated figure, to a text-worker in overalls. For those not part of hegemony, they can be found in their absences within text, thus in language. Books are still published today with the use of gender specific language including university presses. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will create and destroy us, culturally and individually.
There is a great irony and humour in my work, if I do say so myself. For words can also heal, clarify, and consolidate. All the writing you see here is my handwriting, over the course of my PhD, a period of a few years, bar the writing that was mulched into writers blocks and gifted to people, or used in my Venice performance alongside the biennale last year. The writing as coherent syntactical units will never exist again. No copies have been made. The writing’s only performance is now that of movement. Of my person, of that self who has started each day writing to the self, in order to heal, clarify, and consolidate, is a self who is written into being, into being heard, into being seen by the self before the world sees me. That is, before myself is performed, before my performativity identifies who I am, before my body is dressed, and language dresses my body. Where is that self then who suits up and goes into a world where they are written? Who is that self writing before they are dressed by language? And what is that self writing?

At the start of my PhD, one of the first of many coincidences which would inform my practice, saw that I slipped on a Braille pavement mat and landed onto the back of my head, onto concrete, before then trying to go and teach a creative writing class. My concussion was such that I could not engage with writing or reading of language for a period of time. What it means to move in a world as John Hall puts it, a ‘language- as-writing-being’ world, became even more significant for my research on performance writing.

Yet, I am fortunate, and have been released once again into a writing-as-language-being world where those of us who have had privilege, who have had a room of our own, have attempted once again to be heard, but I now want to be heard in a different way. In a way that listens, rather than demands. And when ‘silent’ is an anagram of ‘listen’ sometimes I have needed to be silent, and present my writing, silently, in order to be heard.
How, when I am given a platform to speak, do I continue to allow myself to move through this myriad of inequality, and help others be written in ways that affords them their dignity, without inflating my own, in order to increase awareness, and lead to greater protection of all living sentient beings, not only to those who are under, mis, or not represented in (their) language, but to our very existence which is unsustainable. For if I can get rid of the pollution of my own mind, all else will follow.
A note: because paper is an environmental issue too, please take care not to let contexti beyond the building, lest it go outside into the water ways. I am committed to finding a more environmentally friendly paper in the future, and will desist from using plastic. Watch this space.

Lastly, the coincidence of an iteration of this work, and my performance, that is being staged at the same time in New York, has not gone amiss. Coincidence has formed a large part of my practice-led PhD research, as has erasure and absence of one in language. By creating a formlessness in my presence-absence, in the presence-absence of my writing, and in the presence-absence of a room, I have expressed a practice- led research that has looked at presence-absence in writing, even when it has been a coincidence which has served such presence-absence. My research has not only asked what is performance writing, but ultimately it has attempted to express an eternal present where one whom is absent, erased, or annihilated, be given room, and who that body is, before they are dressed by the body, by language, is one and all.
Kelly Malone