TaPRA 2019 has ended
Welcome to TaPRA 2019 at the University of Exeter!

Johanna Linsley

Tilting Point
I propose a presentation that starts and departs from a reading from the final chapter of my collaboratively written 'sonic detective novel', Necessary Note (co-authored with Rebecca Collins, forthcoming from Copy Press in 2019). This chapter's title, 'Tilting Point', refers to a geological phenomenon: mainland Britain is tilting, the southern end losing ground due to erosion as the northern coast appears to be rising from sea level. Using the idiosyncratic figure of the ‘tilting point’ (as opposed to the more narratively familiar 'turning point', where decisive action collapses potentiality into singular actuality) as the climactic finale, the novel ends [spoiler alert] on a literal cliffhanger. The detectives, having completed a journey from north to south along the east coast of the UK through their investigation of a nameless event, emerge from a luxury portacabin to find themselves teetering on the edge of the contemporary, a collision of the spatial and the temporal. Obliquely informed by Walter Benjamin's 'Theses on the Philosophy of History' and Adriana Cavarero’s understanding of the 'incline', this scene sees the detectives trying to reconcile and ultimately reconfigure a hierarchical binary between the contingent and the necessary.

I propose to reflect in this presentation on the 'timeliness' of the book's project, which is the result of a process of 'eavesdropping' on a range of spaces and historical, cultural and social dynamics in the UK during what feels like (and is constantly referred to as) a turning point for the nation's position in the world. I'd also like to consider the durational contingencies of the production of this project: slowly unfolding over five years, responding to external motivations and barriers, piecing itself together. Having presented earlier phases of this work's development in previous meetings of the group, as Necessary Note is scheduled to come out in autumn 2019, it would be a pleasure to mark the temporal 'end' of this part of the project in this context.

Johanna Linsley
is an artist and researcher. Her work spans performance, sound and experimental text. She is co-editor of the collection Artists in the Archive (Routledge, 2018) and has had research published in Contemporary Theatre Review and Performance Research.