Coda Empty Gesture
Performance, 60 minutes.

Taking the form of a reading group, Coda to Empty Gesture was a performance event that engaged a method of transparency whereby the context and the affective relations that supported the reading group were also the material of the work. 

Two preparatory readings were proposed to the group: the introduction to my PhD thesis and philosopher Georgio Agamben’s essay Notes on Gesture.  In addition to a theoretical unpacking of the text, participants were invited to respond to Agamben’s essay in a manner that spoke to their experience of reading the text (a physical, emotional, temporal or a material relation to a word, a line, a paragraph, or the whole essay).

The event began with a speech in which I provided the context and structure for the reading group.

The room was punctuated by three framed prints (841 x 594 mm each) titled Actual Hell: Pedagogical Gags and Shaggy Dogs (2014–2017) I produced in collaboration with graphic designer Ella Sutherland. The works comprise a series of comments made to dissertation drafts by my supervisors, Dr Lucas Ihlein and Professor Sarah Miller. The typographic treatment of the text draws attention to my process of ‘trying to find the right words’ when writing this dissertation by isolating
them from the original context. The repetitive layout of the comments alludes to Agamben’s notion of the gesture which he likens to an act of gagging; the process of ‘being in language’, trying to communicate and at the same time referring to what cannot be said (2000, p 60).

With: Julia Bavyka; Brian Fuata; Agatha Gothe-Snape; Bianca Hester; Anneke Jaspers; Anna McMahon; Jess Olivieri; Lucille Paterson, Melissa Ratliff; Theron Schmidt; Rajni Shah; Brooke Stamp; Ella Sutherland and Verónica Tello