Practices of Use

Myers, Ruth
Braddock, Chris
Randerson, Janine
Cullen, Paul
Item type
Degree name
Doctor of Philosophy
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Auckland University of Technology

Practices of Use develops self-forming practices of performative and disciplinary body acts, at home and in wider social contexts. Body/subject positionings are explored in these practices as a process of constant ‘becoming’. The phrase ‘practices of use’ encapsulates a research aim to incorporate the use-value of Michel Foucault’s ‘technologies of the self’ as well as Clark Moustakas’s heuristic methodology. The project extends and contributes to feminist enquiries (Butler, Heyes, McWhorter and McLaren), working across Foucault’s disciplinary and self-forming practices. This project’s significance lies in a set of practices that lend emphasis to subjects and contexts developing and operating relationally. This emphasis on relationality explores the subject as becoming, forming, sensing and thinking differently so as to reveal and counter normative regimes.
Through private training tasks in my home Practices of Use develops a group of body acts that acknowledge and act into personal histories of the disciplined female body. These explore relational positioning in various sites such as the floor and doorways to develop modes to think myself differently. Through methods including the use of sound, moving image and sculptural material, these ‘private’ tasks both incorporate and question how I am positioned in relation to the home context. They help me act, and, in turn, act as records of processes of forming, fixing and attaching. Through these practice based performance paradigms, research questions develop about how my subjectivity is encountered. Moreover, how does this private training prepare me to continue these acts in public contexts, where my body acts are encountered in shifting contextual settings in which wider scenes, including passersby, are involved? Thus this project explores a range of the research problems encountered when personal histories of the disciplined female body in the home become viewable, publishable, or accountable in art contexts.
The research builds on Judith Butler’s body acts as social and performative practice, and are further understood through Foucault’s ‘disciplinary power’ (1975) as relationally productive. A question of how knowledge is ‘attached’ to moving bodies is considered in early film technologies, and agency as a productive relational strategy, as well as ethical requests of assistance and support, are explored in art and performance.

Performativity , Body acts , Discipline , Performance art , Heuristic , Early film , Foucault
Publisher's version
Rights statement