Performing porosity : is there some method?

Chan, JJ (2020) Performing porosity : is there some method? Performance Research, 25(5), pp. 129-134. ISSN (print) 1352-8165


This piece of writing acts as a practice statement of sorts—one through which I attempt to find an alternative foundation for creativity and practice by making sense of the materiality of bodies in search of an embodied position. This writing invites readers to (re)search for ways we can imagine participatory futures and shape alternative worlds from the ashes of the present. The text speaks through the methodological tool of diffraction (Barad, 2007) and then by conceptualizing a practice of performing porosity (a way of enacting the material abilities of bodies) presents a diffractive approach to artistic practice. Exploring two concepts presented by Karen Barad, intra-action (2007) and indeterminacy (2017), and reading them iteratively through one another, I position contemporary art as a participatory dynamism that entails its own undoings, and with it the undoing of our imag(in)ing of world(s), our capabilities, and the extent of our power. The format of this text is diffractive as opposed to conclusive; it attempts to open rather than close, and it flows from one thought suddenly into another. These thoughts in their simultaneous occurrence could not, alas, be written on top of one another and so are presented instead as ebbs and flows, avoiding the linear presentation of a method statement. Instead, there are notes from practice and encounters with porosity, diffracting several states of water (a tear, a puddle, a river, a human and so forth) and considering how we might take them on to think through how our making-sense (a sense related to making that calls on our embodied knowledge) can help us imagine new possibilities of our bodies and their reach.

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