Image for exposition

The slippery trail: The mollusc as a metaphor for creative practice

Karen Savage

This exposition documents several years of process-driven practice-as-research. The work explores themes of womanhood, embodiment, and autobiography. Throughout the exposition I argue that the embodiment of process is key to understanding practice-as-research. I propose that practice-as-research projects should not be driven with a ‘final output’ in mind. Instead, the practice of practice-as-research should be reconsidered throughout its development; it should use its potential for liminality. It is the demonstration of a ‘living process’; living in process. This exposition explores ways in which we live in process through a presentation of text, visual essays, and short film and video pieces. The work develops from creative artefacts and critical text into a piece of responsive writing, 'A Play of Characters'. This playtext reconsiders some of the influences in the work and explores the imagery of the whole project in a performative context. The notion of embodiment and a 'living body of work' is developed further through the use of metaphor, in particular the metaphor of the mollusc. I use this to consider how practice evolves alongside process, 'housing' both the work and the process in both material form (the shell) and trace (the snail trail). Different combinations of this work have been presented as performance installations, both at the University of Portsmouth, as part of my PhD examination in 2010, and at the University of Lincoln, as part of the Gnarlfest in 2014. However, by the very nature of 'living in process' this is a work that continues to evolve and 'live' in different forms. The purpose of this exposition is to explore the work in an accessible online form – one that offers alternative platforms and sequences, creating different possibilities and readings of the practice.