Newcastle University Performance Research Network Presents


About US

This exhibition, commissioned by Newcastle University Performance Research Network and launched on 5th May 2021, explores what ‘liveness’ means in a socially distanced world. A range of local and international artists have produced short creative responses to our initial brief, exploring ideas and experiences of liveness during the 2021 lockdown.

This exhibition is supported by Newcastle University Humanities Research Institute and Newcastle Institute for Creative Practice. It is co-curated by Ruth Raynor and Emma Whipday, and co-curated and designed by Issy Tessier.

The Performance Research Network is an interdisciplinary group drawing together thinkers and doers from across Newcastle University spanning literature, theatre studies, human geography, creative writing, urban planning, music, business studies, architecture, fine art, culture and media studies, digital cultures, and beyond. 

 We research performance; conduct research through performance; and research to create performance: for us, ‘performance’ is a subject, a methodology, and an outcome. The network also aims to increase the visibility of both performance research at Newcastle (within the University, nationally and internationally) and the vibrancy of the North East performance sector. For more information, contact Ruth Raynor or Emma Whipday.

The Exhibition

We suggest that you imagine how you would engage with this digital exhibition if you experienced it in a gallery space. Would you go straight to a particular piece (using the site menu at the top), or would you wander through the 'rooms' (by scrolling down)? Would you watch the durational pieces from start to finish, or would you wander in and out (stopping and starting), or catch them partway through (using the controls on the video player)?

When engaging with a piece, would you be standing or sitting (are you standing or sitting now)? Would you pick up headphones to listen to the audio and video pieces (are you using headphones now)? Or would you hear them as ambient sound, filling the room?

You can engage with this exhibition however you wish - as a whole, or in parts. We'd love to know your thoughts

'Little Light'

Kate Sweeney and Peter Hebden

'Little Light' by Kate Sweeney and Peter Hebden

An Animation generated by HTML/JavaScript code.

‘Little Light’ is an animated series of watercolour paintings that document the laboured process of making a paintbrush from a clip of Sweeney’s new son’s hair, that is then used to create the painted images. An algorithm drives a constantly changing soundtrack, accompanying an infinite loop of an animated series of paintings.

Enter the work here to see it in full:

Kate Sweeney is a visual artist based in the North East of England. Kate has just completed a fully funded REA PhD exploring video practice in literary archives at Newcastle University. Her work has screened and exhibited internationally including Sydney International Film Festival, Zebra Film Festival in Berlin, Manchester Animation Festival, International Poetry Festival in London.

Peter Hebden is a writer and artist working mainly in poetry and digital media. He is currently working towards an AHRC-funded PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University in partnership with Bloodaxe Books, on the topic of ‘Creative Digital Interventions into Poetry’. His creative research practice incorporates writing, interface design and web programming.

Watercolour drawing of Kate Sweeney cutting her son's hair

Watercolour drawing of Kate Sweeney cutting her son's hair

Water colour drawing of the process

Water colour drawing of the process

Water colour drawing of making the paintbrush

Water colour drawing of making the paintbrush

'Karina The Silent Dancer'

Isabella Tessier

'Karina The Silent Dancer' By Isabella Tessier

A parody of a short film and podcast, 'Karina The Silent Dancer' is a collaboration between a Karina, a dancer from an old silent film reel, and the artist. Through a one-sided interview Karina's dual identity as an object in a film archive, but also a woman and performer is explored. In framing the art piece as a collaboration, there is a desire to establish Karina's autonomous selfhood, or in other words, her 'liveness'.

Isabella Tessier is a Newcastle art student and artist working in the North East, interested in exploring the human experience. Working figuratively across a range of media from drawing to print to film, Tessier seeks to present the body as a product of its sociopolitcal environment.


'Radio Discord White Noise Receiver'

Katy Bentham

'Radio Discord White Noise Receiver' by Katy Betham

Living under lockdown I became interested in radio as an enduring technology that has always collapsed distances between artist and audience, a mediator of performative interactions across space and time. 'Radio Discord, White Noise Receiver' is a fictional radio show that plays on themes of mindfulness, mental health and queer and non-binary identity. Featuring the voices of Katy Bentham, Cathy Garner, Mads Borre, Sarah Li and Raphaella Davies.

Katy Bentham is an artist and writer based in Newcastle upon Tyne working across moving image, photography, installation and live performance. She is a studio holder with The NewBridge Project.


Jesse Salaman and Carise Alejandro Zangerle

''LIVENESS' by Jesse Salaman and Carise Alejandro Zangerle

LIVENESS' is a digital dance piece stemming from a poem written in response to the concept of aliveness.The work is composed of a pixelated dancer from nature, a neon UV 'solo bug rave' and a visual poem. 

To be live is to be animated and not still. The performer is performing ‘liveness’ as animated, moving particles on a screen. The natural landscape is transformed into a 'digitally realistic' one, incorporating the idea of the performer being a bug under a microscopic lens, 'performing a rave'. Film acts as a non live, recorded medium allowing the movements and sounds of the performer to be accentuated as if they were a bug placed under a microscope. Liveness is simulated.

Jesse and Cj are both new to the North East region. Jesse is a queer dance artist working in performance, choreography and education. 

Cj Zangerle is a transgender visual artist and musician and has been collaborating with artists in sound, spoken word and dance across the UK for 6 years, both in the community and in education. They like to make work that has strong connections to people and nature as well as the merging of the two. 

 home | carisezangerle (

'Poule à L'ivoire'

Erin Collins

'Poule à L'ivoire' by Erin Collins

The sensationalised scenes of 'Poule à L’ivoire', and its exaggerated portrayals of haptic visuality, provoke a pleasurable magnetism of unsettlement. Employing a highly stylised visual language, inspired by Surrealist Film and Italian Radical Design, motifs mined from everyday curiosities intersect with surrealist strategies. The works complementarity of humour and darkness, the uncanny and the familiar, of the seen and the implied, the sexualised and the repulsive, reveals the grotesque and surreal undertones of human characteristics and behaviours. Themes include fragmented body parts, soft hair, burning cigarettes, soiled clothing and wet food, exposed and reworked through the surrealist sense of the uncanny. Appeasing our corporeal appetites, subject, object and voyeuristic viewer are interweaved in ways that are at once extravagant, unsettling and bizarre.

Based in Newcastle, Erin Collins’ practice works to explore the phenomenological boundaries of lens-based media, set within the margins of Surrealism and popular culture. In quest of an embodied experience through cinematic and photographic tactility her subject matter centres on the disconcerting juxtapositions and discomfiting association of textures, objects and the disjointed elusive body.


Erin Collins

Tom Lines

'Coral' by Tom Lines

'Coral' was made in a single sitting on a modular synthesiser as an ambient experiment in improvisation. I patched the synth beforehand, crafting an electrical instrument with a certain set of rules, and after I started recording I was engaged in a state of simultaneous guiding and listening, essentially experiencing my own piece live, as I made it in collaboration with a machine.

Tom Lines is a multimedia artist and musician based in Newcastle. He paints images that play out the relationship between familiar spaces and household pets with monstrous and strange occurrences. Over the period of the pandemic, his work has moved into more digital and electronic realms, displayed in his upcoming album bug.albm under the title thatwhichcrawls. He also currently has an audio-visual installation in the ecology themed show Terra Nexus at Proposition Studios.”

'Say Ahhh'

Laurel Jay Carpenter

'Say Ahhh' by Laurel Jay Carpenter

As the pandemic fallowed live practices, this performance-for-video responds as an intimate exploration of what the camera instead can do. 'Say Ahhh' exposes both the interior and the internal: the cavity of mouth and throat in a messy test of self-diagnosis, and the site of anxiety, the cause of this long isolation.

Dr. Laurel Jay Carpenter is a visual art performer from the US, investigating longing, intimacy and shifting subjectivity in her site-based, durational live works. She is currently based in Newcastle.


Emergency Chorus

'Sweetener' by Emergency Chorus

'Sweetener' simulates a studio audience via post-production collage, providing a laugh track for our everyday sitcom of shared delirium. As forced laughter spreads into real hysteria, the crowd seems to ask, ‘are you feeling what I’m feeling?'

'Content warning: references to physical injury, near-death experience.'

 Emergency Chorus is the collaboration between performance makers Ben Kulvichit and Clara Potter-Sweet. Their work collides disparate source materials to create collages of text, music, choreography and images. Previous work includes CELEBRATION (2016), Landscape (1989) (2018), and Mr Jet (2019).

Left, Ben Kulvichit. Right, Clara Potter-Sweet

Left, Ben Kulvichit. Right, Clara Potter-Sweet

Giles Bailey

'…I am terrified by the beautiful things that are going to be created' by Giles Bailey

This compendium of 62 new performance scores is the product of six workshops that responded to the changing status of liveness through exercises in experimental writing, radical imagination and creative forecasting. Anyone can perform these scores. You don’t need to be able to read music or possess some other specialist knowledge to interpret them. These works are repeatable, they resist the idea of an exclusive, fetishised, unique moment.

A score from the archive will display at random. Click ‘NEW SCORE’ to read more

They are scores for:

  • Possible futures.
  • Things to be dreamed into being. 
  • Ritual prototypes.
  • A world pleasantly warped. was made by John Fail (

Contributors: Elina Akhmetova, Giles Bailey, James Baker, Joni Barnard, Sophie Bates, Tanja Baudoin, Celia Bickersteth, Korina Biggs, Beth Bramich, FrancisJohn Chan, Ghost Chan, Ilker Cinarel, Gareth Clark, Liv Collins, Lydia Davies, Oliver Doe, Freya Dooley, Rosalind Duguid,  Kathryn Elkin, Heledd Evans, Allanah Gales, Susie Green, Richard James Hall, Bex Harvey, Lucy Heaton, Danielle Hewitt, Rosie Hillier, Jesse Howarth, Zoe Kendall, Bridget Kennedy, Aidan Knowles, Pheobe Law, Serena Lee, Maxi Ley, Anna Łuczak, Katherine MacBride, Kitty Martin, Karolin Meunier, Anthea Moys, Cinzia Mutigli, Chris Owen, Sara Jane Palmer, Irene Revell, Kerstin Schroedinger, Olivia Scurr, Lauren Shakespeare, Nadia Shams, Louise Shelley, Carrie Skinner, Katherine Smith, Helen Smith, Corin Sworn, Olivia Turner, Charlotte Veal, Nina Wakeford, Maya Wallis, Erin Walter, Jake Watts, Nathaniel Whitfield, Rebecca Wilcox, Siân Williams, Sam Williams, Kirsty Woods.

'My Heart Cannot Hear Yours From Here'

Hayley Williams-Hindle

'My Heart Cannot Hear Yours From Here' by Hayley Williams-Hindle

Humans ‘know’ that we are alive, as we breathe and sense the other in same space, time, place.  Like all mammals we sense via Heart Connection (electro-cardiac impulses) – perceiving the other within a critical 3 feet of our hearts. In this piece I explore the implications of the current Covid-era two metre distancing measures on this human sensing distance. Being together matters because without heart connection we start to feel bereft; without reference point or sense of human agency-in-community.

We are compelled to find resonance in space and time and place to feel real.The voiced expression of this connection – this liveness – this mutuality of experience – is story. And story sustains us, but it cannot replace the felt sense of temporal and spatial proximity. Collective bodily experiencing.Viscerally, the watching soma in this iteration is not in that screened live-ness and feels the frailty of secondary sensing.

Hayley Williams-Hindle is an artist, researcher, coach, somatic practitioner and writer – Sometime speaker/ trainer. Informed by a neuro-divergent perspective. She is interested in exploring human difference, and the neuroscience of human behaviour and relating. She develops multi-sensory and interactive pieces that are often research based or have elements of data visualisation in them and is currently working with film and writing, drawing, acrylic and light and VR work, often in installation.


Finn Hughes Smith

'VISCOSE' by Finn Hughes Smith

A series of silent videos documenting how each piece is made: specifically, how they interact with my own body or how my body can be inserted into artworks to remove boundaries between artist, subject and material. 

Finn Hughes Smith's practice explores the creative act and how crafts can be used to manipulate and transform material. Through an exploration of how this material can be transformed by crafts such as weaving, knitting and sewing Smith questions where crafts exist within art.


'Girl you know it’s live!'

Jon Rolph

‘Girl you know it’s live!’ by Jon Rolph

The livestreamed performance ‘Girl you know it’s live!’ is an improvised multimedia collage exploring how ideas of liveness have manifested in recent decades. The livestream will take place on the online platform Twitch and throughout the stream both my actions as a performer assembling the collage and the collage itself will be visible within windows of live video.

Jon Rolph is a multimedia performance artist interested in how live spaces can be used as an opportunity to recontextualise found material and disrupt traditional narrative forms.

Thank you very much for visiting this digital exhibition

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