Assembling bodies: A new materialist approach to writing practice
Source TitleAxon: Creative Explorations
PublisherThe Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, University of Canberra
University of Melbourne Author/sAre, Kay
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsAre, K, Assembling bodies: A new materialist approach to writing practice, Axon: Creative Explorations, 2015, 5 (2)
Access StatusAccess this item via the Open Access location
Open Access URLhttp://www.axonjournal.com.au/issue-9/assembling-bodies
How might some recent philosophical critiques grouped under the rubric of a ‘new materialism’ be brought to bear productively on creative writing practice and pedagogy? This article argues that the new materialism’s particular – and particularly intensified – awareness of the materiality of the writing process and of its textual products can be useful for writers. I consider how the environment in which one creates might look within a new materialist view, outlining what I propose to be one of its central features: the clinamen. I describe how feminist physicist Karen Barad’s concept of intra-activity can be used to view the writing environment as a posthuman assemblage of intra-acting relata, before proposing the figure of the clinamen as able to describe the movement of matter within this assemblage. My argument, ultimately, is that this movement is conducive to the production of novelty in both writing experience and product: it is through the unpredictability of the clinamen’s movement that new textual directions can be brought about. I make reference to my own creative process on this score – taking as examples a collaborative writing workshop I led and an exhibited work of conceptual writing – in order to demonstrate some ways in which new materialisms can prove useful for the proliferation of writing.
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