Writing as Play

Here’s a writing exercise I did together with Claire French, Paula Guzzanti and Alex Hoare, at the Chichester intensive research week, 25-29 of June, 2018.

When you tired of writing, tired of being intellectual, of being smart, then maybe it’s time to try out this exercise.

  1. Take a paper and a pencil.
  2. Get yourself into a writing position (e.g. put the paper on a table or other surface, take up the pencil, bring pencil to the paper)
  3. Start writing. However, the aim is not to produce letters, words or sentences. You write without the purpose to reveal linguistic meaning, instead you write, and you engage with the act of writing  through rhythm, repetition, variation and melody. (You imagine to write a letter to some-one, to yourself, to an object but without using the alphabet, since you will be inventing your own…)

4. Hand your letter over to another person.  This person now engages in the act of reading. You try (very hard) to read this letter, which can be quite difficult since no semiotics evolve out of the text. Read it, taste it, feel it (with the eyes, but you can also use other senses).

5. You write a comment, a short review (something that is suggested…)

6. You hand over this comment to the other person (the one you received the letter from).

7. Read the comment you received. Read it out loud. What kind of sounds, melodies, noise does it produce? Does it produce words? Does it produce language? Is it loud or gentle? Does it produce rhythm? Silence?

7. Take back your original letter. Zoom in and take one graphic that appeals to you (without maybe knowing why since it is most probably…a vitality affect….. a desire….)

8. Bring the graphic into the space: draw it in space, use  your own body or use objects to compose the graphic in space. Question: Suppose it is a living being, how would it move, how would it behave? How would it resonate with the space? Where would it find shelter? What would it eat? How would it communicate?