2011 IADE CONFERENCE
Senses and Sensibility in Lisbon
6th UNIDCOM/IADE International Conference, 6-8 October 2011
and Drawing Research Network Conference, 5 October 2011
Antigo Tribunal da Boa-Hora, Rua Nova do Almada, Lisbon, Portugal
Carali McCall and Jane Grisewood presented their paper, The Sense of Drawing: An Approach to Drawing, Marking and Experiencing Time, at the 6th UNIDCOM/IADE International Conference in Lisbon on 6 October. The paper discusses collaborative drawing practice through their work together and in the performance drawing collective with Birgitta Hosea and Maryclare Foá, focusing on two previous works that address drawing as way of knowing and communicating how the body traces and experiences duration. It references Fluxus, and engages with theories and concepts by Deleuze and Merleau-Ponty to develop the notion of becoming and the experience of the body in space and time.
In addition to the paper, on the preceding day at the DRN conference, Carali and Jane performed a new work that explores the physicality of ‘drawing a line’. Shifting beyond drawing that marks, testing the energy and reciprocity between their bodies in movement – and significantly shifting the idea of observational drawing to exploring the performative act of drawing. Joined to each other by 10 metres of latex band tied around their bodies their physical movements enabled a way of communicating. The stretch and pull of the band measured their distance and their location, while bringing awareness to the demands of the body drawing. Spontaneous movements re-directed and influenced the other – conflicting and negotiating. On each side of the room, they mimicked the movements of drawing the ancient tiles, both visually tracing and touching the walls to perform drawing – the line was drawn, the temporary material trace existed, but leaving no visible mark.
The event was held in the historic Antigo Tribunal da Boa-Hora centrally located in downtown Lisbon, alongside the design Biennale EXD’11. Originally built as a convent in 1633, it was rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake, later becoming Lisbon’s main courthouse for 165 years, closing in 2009. During the dictatorship years many important resistance fighters and political prisoners stood trial here. The ‘waiting’ room outside the courtroom, where Carali and Jane had just been in a life-drawing workshop, and unknown to them before, was the chosen space for their performance. The restraints and difficulties of drawing while tied together by the latex band were even more poignant and complex during the performance. Moving around the space physically tied together was collaboration, not just between the performers, but with the space, the audience and the history.