Michelle Naka Pierce and Chris Pusateri

Creative Critical Writing Lecture
Date/Time: Wednesday, 28th October, 5pm-7pm
Venue: Senate House, 1 Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU (Room 261)


Michelle Naka Pierce
Brain/Body Praxis: An Embodied Poetics


This experiential talk explores the liminal, the transitional space that occupies both sides of a boundary or threshold, while building an embodied vocabulary that inhabits critical/creative investigations. Working with somatic inquiries, we attend to the present moment and invite brain/body praxis. Using threads from Continuous Frieze Bordering Red, (which documents the migratory patterns of an Other while interrogating Rothko’s red: his bricked-in, water-damaged windows [floating borders], reflecting unstable cultural borders to the mixed-race identity), we think through peripatetic ways of writing and knowing. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5iJWa-HCAI

Born in Japan, Michelle Naka Pierce is the author of nine titles, including Continuous Frieze Bordering Red (Fordham UP, 2012), awarded the Poets Out Loud Editor’s Prize, and She, A Blueprint (BlazeVOX, 2011), with art by Sue Hammond West. She is the editor of Something on Paper, the online poetics/multimedia journal. Pierce has collaborated with artists, dancers, and filmmakers. Her work has been translated into Japanese, Spanish, Hebrew, and French. She teaches avant-garde poetry, pedagogy, and cross-genre writing and has served as dean of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and director of the Writing Center. Pierce is professor of Creative Writing and Poetics at Naropa University.

Chris Pusateri
The Poetics of Surveillance: Meditations on Privacy, Critique, and the Ethics of Eavesdropping


This presentation examines the act of writing in an era of state-sponsored surveillance.  It centers on a recent poetic project, The Liberties, which examines how surveillance apparatus restricts the terms of citizenship, the right to privacy, and opportunities for artistic expression.  Due in part to the July 2005 bombings of the London transport system, transit hubs now count among the most heavily surveilled public environments in the UK. As part of my field research for The Liberties, I made site visits to all 270 stations served by the London Underground and documented the reactions of commuters, transport police and LUL employees to this system of hypervigilance. This presentation will also interrogate the political, social, and ethical aspects of writing itself, using the work of writers and thinkers such as Sophie Calle, Mark Poster, and Michel Foucault to challenge traditional distinctions between the creative and critical functions of texts.

Chris Pusateri is the author of ten books and pamphlets of poetry, most recently Common Time (Steerage Press, 2012), which was shortlisted for the Colorado Book Award, and Semblance (Dusie Kollektiv, 2013). His poetry and critical prose appears widely in literary periodicals, and he serves as a senior editor of the multimedia journal Something on Paper. A librarian by profession, he has lectured on poetry and poetics at a number of institutions, including The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Naropa University, University of New Mexico, and the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. He currently lives in London.

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‘Cutting an Object into Slices’ highlights different modes of critical writing, emphasising the creativity inherent in our materialisation of thought. Topics vary as esteemed guests from across the disciplines offer a unique contribution to the series. Future lectures include:

The series is organised by Dr. Kristen Kreider and made possible through funding from the Departments of Drama, English, Media Arts and Music at Royal Holloway as well as the AHRC TECHNE Consortium.


Glass, Dust, Air

N.B. This theme further suggests methodologies around seeing/drawing (glass), history, archive and writing (dust), and voice and audio (air).

Practice-based PhD Seminar
: Wednesday, 7th October, 5pm-7pm
Venue: Senate House, 1 Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU (Room 264)
Invited Guest (30 mins)
Dr. Emma Cheatle

In this presentation I will outline a new method of writing about the history of architecture, art or place. It is a method where the research oscillates between, firstly, the archive and available historiography, and, secondly, through the experience of the building or artwork itself. The latter part of the method relies on getting close to a building, regarding it as a character, or set of resonant objects, imagining it; it demands getting close to its past, in order to establish historical and social events that may have happened there. My approach, called ‘part-architecture’, is inspired by ideas from Freud on the unconscious, Lacan on the part-object and Benjamin on history. It utilises the feminist philosophy and art theory of Irigaray, Krauss and Kivland. The resultant writings are creative critical ‘histories’ that incorporate theory, creative writing, drawing and audio works, to understand the history of architecture as a social and creative inhabitation of space.

Here, I will specifically describe my doctoral research which gave new historical accounts of the Maison de Verre (Pierre Chareau, 1928–32) and the Large Glass (Marcel Duchamp, 1915–23). Using the themes glass, dust and air, which emerged from early research, I will firstly show how these were used to unearth new content – ideas, poetics and relationships – between the two works. I will secondly outline the way the themes further structured methodologies around seeing/drawing (glass), history, archive and writing (dust), and voice and audio (air).

I will conclude with a brief overview of a new research project ‘“The dark and airless room”: architecture and the rise of gynaecology, 1750–1880’ which uses similar approaches to look at John Dobson’s 1826 Lying-in hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne to establish links between architectural space and the development of the practices of gynaecology.

Student Presentations (15 mins. each)
  • Alison Gibb (Royal Holloway, Poetic Practice) will present ‘from Part 2. Language As Material As, Concept:  Marcel Duchamp, Artist, Poet and the Green Box, Even. ( a work in progress)’
  • Sally Dean (Royal Holloway, Drama) will present on ‘Somatic Movement & Costume’
All followed by discussion.

Dr. Emma Cheatle is Post-doctoral Fellow at Newcastle University Humanities Research Institute (NUHRI), where she is undertaking a new research project, ‘“The dark and airless room”: architecture and the rise of gynaecology, 1750–1880’. She is also NUHRI’s ambassador for humanities research across the University and further afield. In general, her research explores works of architecture and art as material and spatial sites of cultural and social history. In order to ‘reconstruct’ the past lives of buildings in the present, she practices a theoretical-creative writing which critically employs different forms of text, drawing, and audio. Her PhD thesis, ‘Part-architecture: the Maison de Verre through the Large Glass’ (Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL), received the 2014 RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis, and is a forthcoming publication entitled Part-architecture: the Maison de Verre, Duchamp, Domesticity and Desire in 1930s Paris (Farnham: Ashgate, 2016).

Alison Gibb is a poet/artist and PhD researcher in poetics at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research project focuses on creative processes, production methods and critical theories shared by visual artists and poets. In addition, her  research practice aims to produce page-based, art-installation and live performance outcomes. Alison has produced, a series of drawings, diagrams, poetry texts, posters, wall-painting, and videos that explores and demonstrates her research as methodologies for creating a poetic practice.

Sally Dean is a London-based American performer, choreographer, playwright and teacher. Over the past decade Sally has performed her work in venues across London, Prague (Czech Republic), France (Paris), Essen (Germany), Java (Indonesia), Sri Lanka, as well as in the United States in New York, San Francisco and Seattle. Her work has been produced in venues ranging from established theatres, such as The Place, Robin Howard Dance Theatre (London), to site-specific settings such as church crypts, traditional Javanese markets, a post-war junk museum, and gallery spaces.Sally holds a MA by project in Art, Design and Visual Culture from London Metropolitan University, based on cross-disciplinary, practice-based research into subjective and objective perspectives on the performance making process.