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Hello again Readers,

Our names are Gordon Douglas and Cicely Farrer and we are working on a research project on performance art and the future of its supports. It’s called Good on Paper. Today we’re writing to invite you to our second online group session.

Our first invitation was concerned with language and the limitations of interpretation when reading scores and defining the term performance. This time, the session will form around Performance & Energy; of performer(s), audience(s), infrastructure(s); of its distribution in the moment, around the room, behind the curtain.

Is Energy live? Live as in a live-wire? Charged by potential? Indebted from birth, tasked with a need to act?

The electricity, the chemistry of encounter that ricochet between bodies, acoustics, lighting, scent, airflow, glances from the audience. Performance as it emanates through screens, images and rumour. If performance is lightning, are performing bodies clouds? Storage vessels? Levitating batteries for politics?

Over lockdown, energy was low. Already at the fringes, performance art was edged out further: clubs, venues, galleries closed, performing in public felt disrespectful, unethical, dangerous, even illegal. Political guidance encouraged the spirit of restrictions, sometimes becoming law. If words and ‘language’ can be de-energising forces on performance, then maybe ‘energy’, as a spiritual, kinetic, thermal, potential is worth consideration in how we might imagine future resources.

Between the reflexivity of fantasising forward and rose-tinting back, there’s momentum (whether good or not) through multiple experiences, accelerating across geographies.

What happens when collective imaginative energy smashes into reality?

For many artists and producers, the means of gaining support from funders and opportunity-makers, is de-energising. Sometimes in our numerous communications we lose energy. Can we think of energy as a wave of transferral, storage, dissipation, much like how performers survey and react on the feel of a room?

We want to learn from PERFORMANCE ART ENERGY!

Performance & Energy, the second of three closed-group events, is a space for improvisation and reflection on the energy of performance and how it is catalysed by contemporary art resources in Scotland.

The workshop happens on Zoom, Sunday 29 May, 11am-1pm. A small access/attendance budget is available—for more info link here.

You do not need to have attended the first event.

Looking forward to our next meeting.


Gordon & Cicely


This letter is 2500 characters and appears on MAP and Creative Scotland Opportunities.

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.

Good on Paper is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Click on links below this article for the second invitation appendices.