Sunday, 11 November 2012

NOTA : SHOWTiME Collection

NOTA (NOT, NOTES, NOTER (NOTA), NOT/A), towards a sometimes set of performance writing tools.  NOTA is a research framework for Open Dialogues that presses on the time, place and quality of notes in relation to live performance.  

The NOTA : SHOWTiME Collection is a
selection of Open Dialogues notes from the launch of NOTA at SHOWTiME, Rich Mix London July 2012. The collection features notes made by Rachel Lois and Mary live and in public from a writing station on the SHOWTiME stage.

NOTA 150612 20.00 1

OK, how do you want to start? Have I got a coffee moustache? Let’s not start there...

The stamp

Maybe start with the actual stamp... There is a lot in the gesture, or the action of the stamp. It is really old fashioned...

 It’s a standard stationery item in many ways, off the shelf. Only one part of it is customised - the word ‘NOTA.’ I tried to get the word ‘received’ removed from it too but then decided against it.

NOTA 160612 20.00 3

... This is graft. We are at a workstation, stamping documents. And it is work.

NOTA 160612 22.00 1

For me, it’s a process of thinking through writing, through mark making. The notes represent my thought processes.

Provisional, lightweight and ‘un-publishable’, the notes capture a particular insight. The particular invitation they make is important. As a form of conversation there is space for other people to speak.

The first of several NOTA publications is due out soon. It will feature some of the SHOWTiME notes specially selected and re-worked by Alex Eisenberg and John Pinder of Present Attempt and a choreographed interview transcript between Mary and Rachel Lois. 

Other manifestations of NOTA are herehere and here. 


NOTA (NOT, NOTES, NOTER (NOTA), NOT/A), towards a sometimes set of performance writing tools.  NOTA is a research framework for Open Dialogues that presses on the time, place and quality of notes in relation to live performance.  

SHOWTiME is curated by Present Attempt. The July 2012 event  included Haranczak/Navarre Performance Projects, Present Attempt, Joseph Mercier, Mischa Twitchin and Penny Francis, Chloé Dechery, Rachel Mars and Rosie Kelly, Bill Aitchison Company, Lisa Jeschke and Lucy Beynon, Augusto Corrieri, Seke Chimutengwende & Friends, Yoko Ishiguro.

Open Dialogues is a UK collaboration, founded by Rachel Lois Clapham and Mary Paterson, that produces writing on and as performance. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Month of Performance Art- Berlin

By Rachel Lois

I am part of the international Curatorial Collaboration Initiative (CCI) for the Month of Performance Art- Berlin (MPA-B) 

Programme B with Ying-Mei Duan and Elana Katz - May 22nd - Photo © Marco Berardi 2012

The CCI consist of an international panel of curators, theorists and artists who contribute to the production, programming, promotion and network development of MPA-B, with discussions happening in Berlin,  online via Wiki and Skype. The 3rd MPA-B is in May 2013 and the CCI November 2012 meeting will focus on the dissemination of authorship in performance. Join in, and contribute to the conversations via live written chat via the livestream between 11-17.00 CET 10 November 2012. 

Texts from the collaboration will be published on the MPA-B Text roll here, a selection of these will also feature here on the Open Dialogues blog 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Strategies for Approaching Repeating Problems

By Rachel Lois

Emma Cocker & Rachel Lois Clapham, Fatima Hellberg, Gil Leung, Andrew McGettigan, Francesco Pedraglio, David Raymond Conroy, Alex Vasudevan

Re — Rachel Lois Clapham and Emma Cocker, presented at Quad, 2012
Strategies for approaching repeating problems presents a series of performances, presentations and talks around the ideas explored in the exhibition, Accidentally on Purpose, at Quad. Taking the notion of a repeating problem as a starting point, invited artists, writers and curators discuss elements of their practice within this framework. Notions of recurring issues are explored from artistic and wider social perspectives; from difficulties inherent in language and communication; to the way artists and writers position themselves in relation to political events and wider social issues.

Re — Rachel Lois Clapham and Emma Cocker, presented at Quad, 2012

For Strategies for approaching repeating problems, Emma Cocker and I performed a new version of Re — an ongoing iterative project that essays the relation between meaning and intention, hesitation and purpose, and the visible and invisible states of not knowing within the event of practice. Re —  presses on two writers coming together to explore process, product and performance (of text).

More details on the event here or here

Sunday, 21 October 2012


A week of dialogue between Mary Paterson and Nathan Jones (Mercy Online) in relation to 'PERFORMANCE WRITING NETWORK.'

Starts on the Performance Writing page on Facebook (19/10/12)

Continues on Netbehaviour (21/10/12)

More details to be updated soon

Thompson's Live - The Chris Goode & Co. Podcast

On Monday 5th November, Mary Paterson will be joining Wendy Houstoun, Dominic Lash and Chris Goode for the fourth of Thompson's Live series of podcasts, recorded at Stoke Newington International Airport.

The Chris Goode & Company podcast focuses on conversation around theatre and performance, poetry and music, arts and ideas.

More information on STK site

(And on 22nd November, listen out for Rajni Shah and John Hall)

Download the podcasts here:

Monday, 24 September 2012

Accidentally on purpose

By Rachel Lois

I am presenting a new performance reading at this event, below, in collaboration with Emma Cocker. 

David Raymond Conroy, I know that fantasies are full of lies, 2012

Strategies for Approaching Repeating Problems

Emma Cocker & Rachel Lois Clapham, Fatima Hellberg, Gil Leung, Andrew McGettigan, Francesco Pedraglio, David Raymond Conroy, Alex Vasudevan

Forming part of Accidentally on Purpose curated by Candice Jacobs and Fay Nicolson and produced in collaboration with QUAD
6 October 2012, 11am – 5pm
The Box, QUAD, Market Place, Derby, DE1 3AS

Strategies for approaching repeating problems presents a series of performances, presentations and talks around the ideas explored in the Accidentally on Purpose exhibition at QUAD, connecting the exhibition to wider contemporary issues in cultural production and discourse.

From difficulties inherent in language an
d communication to the way artists and writers position themselves in relation to wider social issues, such as education and the public sphere, this event will identify an array of current or ever-present difficulties, discuss their perception from different positions and consider whether notions of progress or return are clichés or inevitable fates.
Rachel Lois Clapham & Emma Cocker
Artists and writers, Rachel Lois Clapham and Emma Cocker will perform a new version of Re — an ongoing iterative project that essays the relation between meaning and intention, hesitation and purpose, and the visible and invisible states of not knowing within the event of practice.

Fatima Hellberg
Curator Fatima Hellberg will be performing Wooden Eyes, Why Are You Looking at Me? a series of reflections on productivity and anxiety, starting with an autobiographic narrative, told from the perspective of a pencil. Turning to American economist Leonard E. Read’s ‘I Pencil’, alongside a number of other neo-liberal management treatises Hellberg explores the use of the fable and mysticism as a way of containing, and coping with vulnerability in management.

Andrew McGettigan
Recognising that we are in the midst of a strong push to reform education, writer and researcher Andrew McGettigan asks What is Education For? Responding to the fall in recent GCSE and A level exam results and the rise in University tuition fees, McGettigan will probe recent shifts away from state administered and funded provision towards private educational operations that favour competition, fees and test outcomes.

Francesco Pedraglio
Francesco Pedraglio is an artist, writer and co-founder of the art-space FormContent. Pedraglio will be performing Writing methods for hands and windows, creating a direct link between internal and external space this performance reflects on the mechanics of storytelling in relation to the subjectivity and perception of shape and form. Speaking and writing directly in a foreign language, Pedraglio faces the problems associated with ‘making sense’ while delivering a story to an audience. 

David Raymond Conroy 
Artist David Raymond Conroy will be performing I know that fantasies are full of lies, a talk that combines Roland Barthes' Reality Effectwith McDonald’s advertising photography to explore imperfection’s role in creating a sense of authenticity. Using mobile phone pictures and YouTube clips, Conroy will map out what roles humility, fallibility and disappointment might have to play in seduction, desire and capitalism.

Alex Vasudevan
Dr. Alex Vasudevan is a Lecturer in Cultural and Historical Geography at the University of Nottingham. His research focuses on radical politics in Germany and the wider geographies of neo-liberal globalisation. He also works on the spatial politics of contemporary art. Within Strategies for approaching repeating problems Vasudevan aims to consider the question of failure and loss in relation to urbanism, the aesthetics of politics, and activist communities.

Gil Leung
Gil Leung is a writer, artist and curator based in London. She is Distribution Manager at LUX and editor of Versuch journal. She writes for Afterall and other independent publications. For Strategies for approaching repeating problems, Leung has been invited to chair the final panel discussion with other participants.

For more information about the participants download this PDF

Please email to book a place.

Visit the QUAD website for details or call QUAD Box Office:   01332 290 606

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Will you NOTA?

Open Dialogues will be presenting NOTA as part of Oh Seminar at Villa Romana, Florence in September 2012.  As well as note-taking in response to events, we will be presenting a performance lecture and a series of small, conversational invitations to artists and audience members.  We would like to invite you to draft a note for us to share with seminar participants on the subject of NOTA.  

All notes will be treated carefully, credited and enjoyed.

Thank you
Mary and Rachel Lois



NOTA: NOT, NOTES, NOTER (NOTA), NOT/A is a framework for research that presses on the time, place and quality of notes in relation to performance. It is produced by Open Dialogues towards a sometime set of performance writing tools.   Oh Seminar is a three day artist-led programme that questions writing, reading and the seminar as forms of knowledge transmission; curated by Mirene Arsanios and Valerio Del Baglivo.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Writing Machine: Live Art UK Gathering

by Mary Paterson

Live Art is not interested in the articulation of real talent; live art is interested in the articulation of real desire.  If you can tolerate this, then see what’s coming next.  Art is the name for all the things we do that try to change the world.   A lot of direct action is bad performance.   Online space is corporately owned, private space. Good things happen on the periphery.  Is it important that I like the work that I produce?   How things are valued is very much to do with where they are – that’s not right, but it is a fact.  We are interested in artists; but what we’re really interested in is ideas. I promise you, I never deliberately programmed any live art.    None of this is new, but what it is, these days, is really fashionable.  There is no work that is not participative – so what are we talking about when we say “participation” and “engagement”?

A collection of statements from the Live Art UK Gathering, BAC June 2012.  
Stacy Mackishi. Matt Ball.  Andy Field.  Kevin Smith.  Boo Chapelle.  Louise Jeffreys.  Joshua SofaerLyn Gardner.  Helen Marriage.  Louise Jeffreys.   Helen Marriage.   Joshua Sofaer.  

Sunday, 10 June 2012


By Rachel Lois and Mary

Open Dialogues has been commissioned by Present Attempt to produce documents from SHOW TiME, a programme of performances taking place from 15-17 June at Rich Mix.

For SHOW TiME Open Dialogues will take up position at a writing station in the audience.  We will use a manual stamp to NOTA  moments of the event in a series of time stamped documents.  The documents will explore the time, place and quality of notes in relation to performance.

The  SHOW TiME  project is part of Open Dialogues’ framework for research for 2012 - NOTA: NOT, NOTES, NOTER (NOTA), NOT/A, towards a sometimes set of performance writing tools.  It explores documentation as a medium within the context of collaboration, liveness and public space.   After SHOW TiME  a selection of NOTA documents will be published online, along with an accompanying conversation between Mary and Rachel Lois about our work. 


SHOW TiME is an artist-led event which creates a vibrant, hospitable and unusual weekend of performance that makes more space for experimental work in professional venues. Curated and produced by artists Present Attempt, the weekend blends work-in-development and rarely seen pieces in a series of dynamic and provoking sessions.

Book tickets here.

Present Attempt is a collective of artists making and producing collaborative, interdisciplinary performance works including studio-based pieces, interventions, writing and research. Present Attempt are James Bush, Alex Eisenberg and John Pinder.

Open Dialogues is a UK collaboration, founded by Rachel Lois Clapham and Mary Paterson, that produces writing on and as performance. As Open Dialogues Rachel Lois and Mary have worked internationally with Pacitti Company (UK), Performa (US), Performance Saga (CH) and Wooloo Productions (DE) amongst others. In 2012, their work focuses on NOTA; towards a sometimes set of performance writing tools.   

Sunday, 3 June 2012


By Rachel Lois Clapham

A WRITING STATION is used to produce short texts live and in public. The WRITING STATION includes two typewriters, little pebbles, white A4 80gsm and black carbon copy paper (it generally keeps things close to the ground). The invitation is to type, punch-in and publish. There and then. The texts act variously as gift, context, conversation slip or document/ation at the discretion of the typist.


SOB BASIC (initially entitled DocU) was first performed by David Berridge (VerySmallKitchen) and Rachel Lois  Clapham (Open Dialogues) at (in)Xclusion at East Street Arts, Leeds March 2012. It is part of NOTA: NOTES, produced by Open Dialogues towards a sometime set of pedagogic performance writing tools.

A gathering of resources on typewriter as art-writing practice, compiled by VerySmallKitchen, can be seen here.  TYPE TYING TYPINGS TYPIST TYBE, a dialogue on the typewriter with artist Marianne Holm Hansen, is here.  David's published reprise on SOB BASIC is here

Rachel Lois Clapham is Co-Director of Open Dialogues; a UK collaboration, founded by Rachel Lois Clapham and Mary Paterson, that produces writing on and as performance. @rachellois1

David Berridge is a writer based in London. He curates VerySmallKitchen and is writer in residence at X Marks the Bökship

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Are We Asking For it?

by Mary Paterson

Are We Asking For It?  is a score for remote performance.  It's a pop song of questions, shouted at the top of your voice, to whoever is listening.  It is (not) a protest and it is (not) part of the global Occupy movements.

I first wrote the score as Getting to Know You, for I'm with you: Occupy London, an evening of performances curated by I'm With You for the Bank of Ideas, at the Occupy London protest camp in December 2011.

Like the original, Are We Asking For It? is a performance score for three people.  The three performers are passers by or audience members invited to read the score - a series of questions that should be read (or shouted) in three minutes: the length of the average pop song.  It has been written for Occupy Zeitgest, an exhibition about the global Occupy movements, which is taking place at Gallery 25 in Fresno, California in June 2012, curated by Janice Ledgerwood.

The relationship between live art and protest movements in Europe and the US stretches back to the early 20th century, when Dada and Futurist performances were used as strategies of radical disruption.   Contemporary protest groups like UK Uncut use live art as a form of direct action against government policy.  Art in all its forms is an important part of the worldwide Occupy movements, which rely on the rapid spread of ideas through social networks as well as traditional media channels.

What are the currencies of artistic strategies in the context of protest?  What kind of participation does artistic protest demand, and who is participating?  Are avant garde strategies aligned to forms of radical individualism, or collective action?

Extract from Are We Asking For it? 
Do you like to stand too close to people on purpose?
Do you prefer conversation, fashion or physical comfort?
Can you bear the sound of other people breathing?
Do you think it is warmer in cities?
If you saw me crying on public transport, would you offer to help?
How many people do you need to make you feel anonymous?
What is keeping you?
What is keeping you here?
Are you asking for it?
Are you asking for it now?

About Gallery 25
Formed in 1974, Gallery 25 is one of the oldest cooperative galleries in the country. Located in downtown Fresno, the gallery has been a forum for contemporary art since its inception.

The gallery was founded by Joyce Aiken, professor of art at California State University, Fresno. Professor Aiken was the director of the second Feminist Art program (the first program was created by Judy Chicago at CSUF in 1970). The program focused on women creating artwork from their experience as women. By establishing the gallery, Aiken gave the women in the program the chance to exhibit their work to the public and gain professional experience as artists.

The 25 founding members began exhibiting at 1986 Echo Street, moving to a larger space at 1526 Fullton Street in 1981. The gallery opened its doors to men as well as women in 1989. To expand its quarters in April of 2004, the gallery moved to its present location, 660 Van Ness, adjacent to several other galleries and artist studios.

Gallery 25 is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public. Seminars, discussion groups and classes are held in relation to exhibits. The gallery also participatges in international exhibitions and gallery exchanges.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

In The Presence of Multiple Possibilities

By Rachel Lois

I have been invited to contribute to an exhibition/ publication by Ordinary Culture, as part of the exhibition In The Presence of Multiple Possibilities at French Riviera, London

My contribution entitled ? MARK (Question Mark Mark) takes the form of five discrete A5 elements interspersed across the publication. Each A5 page is a pared down, poetic piece that offers a definite speculation, a wayward marker and ultimately a question mark mark. 

Background to the exhibition
In The Presence of Multiple Possibilities combines sculpture, video, performance and publication to draw attention to, and attempt to manifest, the discrepancy between predicted future and actual outcome.

The exhibition brings together eight artists who explore the complex contingencies of translation, spontaneity, prediction and speculation. Either creating a structure for a continued development or deliberately leaving a work incomplete or uncertain, their works provide a space for the contemplation of multiple possible outcomes. Whether durational or static, all of the works hint towards their role in a longer trajectory. The project will include new commissions by Kimi Conrad, Matthew Noel-Tod and a commissioned publication by collective Ordinary Culture (formerly YH485). Ordinary Culture’s contribution to the project explores the publication as incomplete and subject-to-change, encouraging the participation of the audience in the materialisation of the exhibition’s legacy. 

Organised by MA Curating Contemporary Art students at the Royal College of Art, the project is funded by Arts Council England through Wysing Arts Centre’s Escalator Programme. 

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Performance Writing Weekender

Open Dialogues are currently preparing to contribute to the Performance Writing Weekender at the Arnolfini, Bristol 3-5 May.

The Performance Writing Weekender involves live performances, a temporary library, and an exhibition of Performance Writing. The weekend also comprises chaired panel discussions  on cross disciplinary writing, looking at how to support it and its artists nationally, both in and out of academic institutions. Articles, excerpts of discussions and examples of participants work will also feature a special edition of Journal of Writing in Creative Practice. Details of the line up can be found here.

Rachel Lois will contribute to the temporary library, giving participants a chance to (w)read a special boxed edition of (W)reading Performance Writing  : A Guide.  Available as a freely downloadable PDF commissioned by the Live Art Development Agency, the guide is used on the Arnolfini’s MA Performance Writing and features practitioners from diverse fields of poetry, theatre, visual art and performance on the topic of Performance Writing.  See it in Bristol, or download it here.

Mary will be participating in the panel and audience discussion ‘Future of multi-media writing’,  which looks at the opportunities posed to inter-media or cross-disciplinary writing by the digital. Participants are John Hall (UCF), Lucy English (Bath Spa), Christine Atha (Arnolfini), Mary Paterson (Open Dialogues) and Nathan Jones (Mercy Online).

Friday, 27 April 2012

Access All Areas: Live Art and Disability, Eds. Lois Keidan & CJ Mitchell

A new publication about Live Art and Disability, arising from last year's Access All Areas event at Club Row, London E1.

Access All Areas is published by the Live Art Development Agency, who write:

"Access All Areas is a combination of artists’ writings, creative dialogues, critical commentaries and DVDs featuring documentation of artists’ presentations and performances spanning 20 years, which reflect the ways in which Live Art has represented issues of disability in inventive and radical ways. This 200 page publication and double DVD set has been developed from the groundbreaking Access All Areas public programme of performances, screenings and talks produced by the Agency in March 2011"

The publication includes two essays by Mary Paterson: 'Reflections on Access All Areas' (first published on this blog) and 'Undress Redress."  

It is available to buy from the Live Art Development Agency's online platform, Unbound

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


By Rachel Lois

I have been invited by Megan and Phil of Tertulia to present my work at Spike Island in association with Arnolfini on April 10.

I will be presenting OF FINGER- a talk from recent scores, readings and live performances that presses on embodied acts of (w)reading and writing, finger(ing) texts and pointing to pointing at things. I will bring a selection of recent publications with me to Spike Island for participants to read and buy, including a special (travelling) edition of (W)reading Performance Writing : A Guide (Live Art Development Agency). I hope to see some of you there. Thanks.


Tertulia’ is a Spanish word ordinarily applied to social gatherings with literary, artistic or bohemian overtones.  Tertulia is supported by Arnolfini and  Spike Island.  

Rachel Lois Clapham produces writing on and as performance as part of UK collaboration Open Dialogues and curates radical writing with the Arts Council partnership In a word…. Her own practice points..., punctuates movement and presses on physical gestures as text.  Work includes  Re- (PSL Gallery, Norwich Arts Centre and John Latham Archive), WORK TRY HARD (Kaleid Editions) and WRITING the SPACE (Wild Pansy Press).   In 2012 she is performing and publishing with The Other Room,  Lemonmelon, Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, VerySmallKitchen  and Open Dialogues

Image c- Re- (Unfixed) Rachel Lois Clapham and Emma Cocker 2010. 

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Inside Performance Volume 24 no 2. 2011

By Rachel Lois

My column for this issue of Dance Theatre Journal features the latest manifestation of the score How is Art Writing? ‘How is Art Writing?’ was originally performed in 2009 by Mary Paterson for the launch of RITE at PSL Leeds as part of In a word
It was made in proximity to (1) a green pepper on Rachel Lois’s kitchen table at the time of writing and (2) Rachel Lois and Alex Eisenberg’s text ‘? MARK’ for RITE, a text that presses on the particular space created by questions, including impossible questions.

How is Art Writing?


Impossible questions that open up a definite but speculative space for saying something about  Art Writing

How is Performance Writing? has been re-made in 2011 for the particular context and form of Dance Theatre Journal.

First remove Art and insert PERFORMANCE.  Then break the score up into pink units via pink French index or Fiche cards.  Gradually condense, diagram and re-arrange the units over a period of days (in between doing lots of other things). Pay particular attention to the grid aspect, what is on the BACKSIDE of the cards, printing mistakes, folded corners and punctuation. Note handwriting. Spread the resulting composition across the whole magazine to create a sense of fragmentation and pace. Note the see-through nature of the gridded cards when holding one page in one hand.


Inside Performance is a serialised writing project developed by Rachel Lois Clapham for Dance Theatre Journal. Taking the form of a regular newspaper or magazine column Inside Performance is a personal journey into the practice of writing from or as performance from Rachel Lois’ position as a writer and Co-Director of Open Dialogues. The column features Rachel Lois' own writing, as well as conversations, commissions, page works and texts from other artists.

Dance Theatre Journal is the UK's leading magazine for dance and live art. Published four times a year, Dance Theatre Journal contains reviews, features, interviews and in-depth discussions by leading dance writers and artists, as well as talented new writers. It also includes up-to-date listings of dance performances and workshops throughout the UK.

Previous columns feature here: