Text and performance

This page puts together a short history of my artwork related to text and performance, as well as editing and publishing.

Dog shit

In 2008 and 2009, in Leeds, I collaborated with Kimbal Quist Bumstead who’s work at the time was predominantly performance based. Through working with him I realised there was a live aspect to the way I wanted to express my ideas too. This ended up with us presenting work after a residency in a dingy but suitable squat in Hackney. We had to pick dog shit up off the floor first but it was worth it.

Collaborative performance with Kimbal Quist Bumstead, Hackney, London, 2009

Experiment and mistakes

In 2010 I attempted to make a performance at Liverpool’s A Foundation, along with performances by other artists, but ultimately it failed. I think this failure came down to there being a lack of a story, or written element, that could have given the performance more synergy. It was a missed opportunity because loads of people turned up; the event was part of the Liverpool Biennial.

Performance of text

In 2012 I collaborated with the artist Jennifer Picken. I put together a text and recorded it, and then presented it as part of a performance at Overtoom 301 in Amsterdam. The text and performance were developed during a residency at Overtoom. This was the first time I introduced a text element into my artwork and presented it live to an audience.

In 2013 I produced my first solo exhibition, Collider, with Mexico project space in Leeds. It followed an in-gallery residency during which I created narratives around collected objects and photographic slides. Concurrently, I was invited to present a talk about my work at The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. After the talk everyone came to exhibition and I presented my first ever live reading with everyone sat on the floor with the installation.

Performance at Overtoom 301, Amsterdam, with Jennifer Picken, 2012

In 2013 and 2014 I worked with Cooper Gallery in Dundee, first on a writing residency led by Maria Fusco and then in direct response to Anna Oppermann’s exhibition, Cotoneaster horizontalis. During this period with Cooper Gallery I made performances for a series of the gallery’s exhibition-related events, as well as their research groups. This was the beginning of me using objects to give to audience members for them to handle while I read texts, usually with a PA system.

test and performance
Hutchinsons Tac, Generator Projects, Dundee, 2014

Around this time, also in Dundee, I was invited to take part in a performance event at Generator Projects, for which I presented my first photographic slide projection and text performance, Hutchinsons Tac.

Art writing research

Also in 2013 I was invited to co-edit the artist-led pamphlet series Gnommero with Sarah Tripp. This was my first stab at editing other artist’s texts (or art writing), running alongside the organisation of live text-led events. I presented my own published written work along with video and sound at live events.

In 2015 I took on an art writing research residency with Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) and Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. I developed a long-form text that I would later turn into a sound artwork and delivered a two-day workshop with students from ECA on writing for performance. Furthermore, I produced an event based on the idea of live readings and direct critique as a form of editing. Also, I produced a performance to wrap up the event; a reading of text spliced with photographic slide projection and superimposed digital projection.

Blue farm, roundhouse, hlåw – performance at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, 2015

Text-filled objects

Later in 2015 I started my MFA at Glasgow School of Art. After trying my best to keep a performance element going, I ended up gaining skills in sound recording and mixing. Consequently, I became more interested in creating sound art grounded in voiceovers, along with sculpture and video elements.

In 2016 I collaborated with choreographer Riccardo Buscarini for an exhibition in Summerhall’s Laboratory Gallery, in Edinburgh, called In Parting Glass. To end the exhibition we developed a performance around object-related memory and idiosyncrasies discovered through shared interests. Furthermore, we looked at the manipulation of the body as a laboratory subject and the body as an archive.

Culminating performance for In Parting Glass, Summerhall Laboratory Gallery, Edinburgh, 2016

Text and performance events for others

In 2018 I worked with Glasgow Zine Fest (now Glasgow Zine Library) a programme launch event at CCA Glasgow. It was a multidisciplinary event involving poetry readings, art writing performance, art performance in general, and film screenings. The venue was small and it was completely packed. But the event was joyful and it threaded itself together because of the presence of the audience.

text and performance
Performance at the Mycelia 2 Launch Party, ROST, 2019

Later in 2018 I started to work with Simone Hutchinson on Mycelia magazine (Hedera Felix). I was thinking more about how multidisciplinary events that looked beyond just reading text were a way to bring together literary and art audiences. I presented a ‘looser’ performance at Mycelia Issue 2’s launch party at ROST in Glasgow, in August 2019.


text and performance
Performance for Anonymiser Particular, 2017

After my MFA I came back to performance, for a brief time. This happened for a solo exhibition in 2017 in Bannockburn called Anonymiser Particular. It was organised by filmmaker and writer Alex Hetherington.

Object used for audience members to interact with during the performance for Genia’, says Marauder, 2019

I then produced another performance for a solo project called Genia’, says Marauder at Crownpoint East Studios, Glasgow, in 2019. This performance felt a lot looser than anything I had done before.