The Outstanding Field

Francesca presented at The Outstanding Field: Artistic Research Emerging from the Academy at the Victorian College of the Arts. The first of its kind to foreground practice-led research, the symposium showcases the most outstanding PhD projects to have emerged from the Creative Arts in Australia and New Zealand over the last decade.

Her paper was titled “Unbiting Tongue”.

“Two years before she died, Susan Sontag spoke about the power of fiction, how it is through inventions of a writerly kind – telling stories, ‘spitting out truths’ – that we receive ‘an education of the heart’. This Sontagian vision underpins my Doctor of Creative Arts consisting of companion volumes: Bite Your Tongue, a novel, and A Book of Pineapple, a theorised memoir as annotation/eisegesis. The creative work embodied in this eisegetic research-as-practice – based on play and uncertainty or ‘loose thinking’ as I call it – interrogates ideas of shame and silence, and how a writer’s body operates and survives as the language of process. In practice it seeks to make a different kind of world in which it is possible to learn love – to speak it, write it, perform it. In her review of the novel-cum-memoir Bite Your Tongue, a creative outcome of this research, academic Dominique Hecq writes: ‘Tongues are for speaking, kissing, eating, licking, drinking, singing, spitting and praying. Tongues slither, laze, loll, fall off. Tongues tell stories, spit out truths; they lie and sin. […] Here is no Babel. Here is fantastical tongue-atorium.’ This presentation-as-performance will explore the unbiting of tongue through image and word, process and dialogue.”

Image: My mother’s hands, X-ray, Bite Your Tongue (Spinifex Press), prologue

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