Action poetry : the vocal-body in performance art

Walker, N 2019, Action poetry : the vocal-body in performance art , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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This thesis explores the relationships between performance art, poetry, sound poetry and page-based scores in order to develop ‘action poetry’ as a new transdisciplinary field that foregrounds the ‘vocal-body’ in performance art. Driven by my own creative practice —through the artworks and performances Nape (2014), Scaw (2015), Mean (2016), Condensations (2017), Cope (2018) and Low (White Stones) (2018) — I have proposed here a revival and redefinition of the term ‘action poetry’ that considers the role of the voice to produce actions in live work. More specifically I have, through practice, developed my own techniques for vocalization that embody language and sound. When artists use their voice as sound they are communicating differently within language. In order to vocalise, the artist must perform a kind of embodiment that transforms language, sound and meaning into a body-based and sensorial activity. When I use the term ‘embodiment’ in this thesis I am referring to a corporeal awareness, specifically a vocal awareness, and lived experience that is necessary to produce the voice in action poetry. This thesis asks how the voice can produce actions in performance art. I consider actions to be an event that attempts to exceed boundaries. Actions occur due to the tension, movement and relation between interior voice and exterior vocal sound.
I consider the specific use of the voice in performance art as a significantly under-theorised area of experimental performance and poetry. In order to explore this I have coined new terms in relation to my work — textual-volume, vocal-body, action-oriented performance art — these terms provide a vocabulary for approach, methods and practices in action poetry. I discuss my own practice alongside examples of performance artists whose work is not usually considered as voice-led such as Carolee Schneemann, Boris Nieslony and Marina Abramović. I also consider the role of prepared notational devices like non-linguistic scores and how poets are able to generate vocal-sound by embodying marks on the page. This thesis charts a new history of performance art and poetry in order to discover how language and the voice can generate actions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Depositing User: Nathan Ashley Walker
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2019 10:13
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2022 02:30

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