How can we address the silence that is haunting us from within? Beyond the Silence enacts a dialogue between performative drawing, trauma theory, and literary practice. Driven by the shared desire to explore different modes of knowing and inhabiting the world, this collaboration entwines practices of mark-making with both poetic and critical writing. In response to concepts such as Donna Haraway’s cat’s cradles or Gilles Deleuze’s rhizomes, we develop modes of thinking, reading and writing that are immanent and collaborative. The sounds, rhythmic visual patterns and bodily interactions emerging from Dejan Mrdja’s drawing performances unsettle the structure of theory-based argumentation in Katharina Donn’s work in trauma studies, inspiring a reciprocal pattern of thought and performance. Understood as an instance of “sympoiesis” (Donna Haraway in response to M.Beth Dempster), this process of creating as thinking exposes the interconnectedness of our being in language, body, and non-organic matter. Its poiesis entwines language with the non-linguistic signification of mark-making and sound; yet this is symbiotic rather than individualized, and occurs in the spaces in between bodies, different artistic or critical practices, human and non-human matter.
Beyond the Silence is a collaboration with artist and architect Dejan Mrdja, and an encounter between trauma theory, literature and performative drawing, moving thought to the rhythm of breath, body and charcoal dust. This series of experiments relies on the soundscapes of writing and markmaking as well as their visual traces, inviting participants into an immersive environment around a bespoke drawing table.
Being vulnerable in a vulnerable world has led us on a search for a new language. One that enables us to become responsive. One that does not pay credence to the hierarchies of syntax, a way of drawing that transcends the bounds of the figurative. One that entwines words with sound, marks, and bodily movement.
On June 30, 2018, we presented a series of workshop performances at the London Conference in Critical Thought (University of Westminster).