Our names are Gordon Douglas and Cicely Farrer and we are working on a research project on performance art and its supports, called Good on Paper.
As part of this project, we would like to invite you to re-imagine cultural resources for performance-making in Scotland with us. Good on Paper intends to generate fantastical ways of organising interdisciplinary art-making in Scotland, beyond the restrictions of feasibility. We’ll be realising ideas as scores, texts, blueprints–– things that write their promises on paper first.
When speaking with friends we sometimes describe the project as looking towards a ‘LUX Scotland for Performance’, or a ‘Scottish Live Art Development Agency’. Although these comments are (somewhat) in jest, they’ve been helpful in noting the limited resources dedicated to performance art development across Scotland. As artists we frequently move/slip between visual arts, theatre, music, and dance opportunities and so, the limited space for performance art felt very acute during Covid-19.
Let’s re-imagine performance art in existing arts economies and ecologies!
What is performance art?
Over the summer last year we tried to answer this, writing definitions of performance art every day. A diary of sorts: how we felt about performance, how we felt we were performing. The language we used in these diaries was imbued with morality: e.g. ‘good’ performance = candid, solid, captivating, sensical. And when talking about performing bodies, recurring ideas of ‘quality’ or ‘craft’ presented exclusionary barriers around ability and training.
Is performance art a language?
Questions also emerged around how (and why) a sweeping term like ‘performance’ might swallow all of these approaches up? Performance as the magic word. Can we imagine and write new ways for how organisations might perform in the interests of performance?
We would like to explore these questions and limitations of language with you.
Performance & Language, the first of our three closed-group events, is a space for communal thinking about the ‘language’ of performance and how it is made legible (or not) in contemporary art resources in Scotland. Language as scoring, bodily knowledge and vocabulary. This workshop will take place on Zoom 27 March, 11am-1pm. A small access/attendance budget is available—more information through the link below.
We hope to hear from you soon,
Gordon and Cicely
Gordon Douglas is a performance artist in Glasgow. He plays games with organisational staff and their stakeholders, celebrates birthdays amidst austerity, and holds it together before breaking down in offices. He is currently cardbearer for Good on Paper.
Cicely Farrer is a curator on the North East Coast of Scotland. Day to day she facilitates artist residencies, pedagogical events and workshops and supports artists to create new work including performance. She invests her time considering the invisible support structures for artists.
Good on Paper is a research project initiated by Gordon Douglas and Cicely Farrer looking into the futures of performance art making in Scotland. They are working with MAP Magazine on a series of texts through spring/summer 2022.
Click on links below this article for the first invitation appendices.
Good on Paper is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.