Thoughts on Performing (inside a work / as a work / as work) at Newtown Library

Lizzie Thomson


“But when we sit together, close,” said Bernard, “we melt into each other with phrases. We are edged with mist. We make an unsubstantial territory.”—Virginia Woolf, The Waves (1931, 9)

The following thoughts are based on my fading memory of performing Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine (2010-ongoing) by choreographer Mette Edvardsen. I attempt to articulate aspects of the relational fields that exist firstly between a performer and a performance work, and secondly between a performer, performance work, and an audience. I see these relational fields as “unsubstantial territories”, or partial forms that are precarious, transient, and porous. My interest in offering a text written from the perspective of a performer is inspired (from a distance) by dancer Chrysa Parkinson and her research into developing methods for documenting performers’ experiences of work, as distinct from the more common practices of writing about performance from the perspectives of the audience, choreographer, director and dramaturg.


performance; dance; gallery; library; Biennale of Sydney; Mette Edvardsen

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Bradbury, Ray. (1953). 2008. Fahrenheit 451. London: Harper Voyager.

Braidotti, Rosi. 2011. “Intensive Genre and the Demise of Gender.” In Nomadic Theory: The Portable Rosi Braidotti, by Rosi Braidotti, 150–69. New York: Columbia University Press.

Edvardsen, Mette. n.d. “Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine: Program Notes.”

Edvardsen, Mette, and Mette Ingvartsen. 2016. “Double Interview between Mette Ingvartsen and Mette Edvardsen.” In Choreography, edited by Solveig Styve Holte, Ann-Christin Berg Kongness, and Runa Borch Skolseg, 70–76.

Shih Pearson, Justine. 2017. Personal communication, June 17, 2017.

Stockholm University of the Arts. n.d. “Chrysa Parkinson: Documenting Experiential Authorship, 2015–17.” -experiential-authorship

Woolf, Virginia. (1931). 2016. The Waves. London: Vintage Books.

———. 2003. A Writer’s Diary: Being Extracts from the Diary of Virginia Woolf, edited by Leonard Woolf. San Diego: Harcourt.


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