What is it about?

This visual essay considers lines as borders, contextualising the line I drew around Durham prison in terms of performance and performance design. Within the context of specified artworks, it considers the shift in arts practice from studio-based to ‘post-studio’ works that persist in different forms after the event as artworks with ‘multiple ontologies’.

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Why is it important?

This piece fulfils its own premise, as one manifestation of an ‘artwork with multiple ontologies’, the act of drawing around the prison. As such, it can be considered an artwork itself and, because visual imagery here holds the same status as text, the page can be thought of as a space of curation.


Submitted as a visual essay, Drawing the Borderline concerns the line I drew around HMP Durham, once a high-security prison. As a visual artist and writer, I have developed a form I think of as paratext, a means of drawing out subject matter by presenting material through pairings or clusters of text and image. Here visual imagery is not intended to illustrate the text but to interact with it so that meaning arises between the visual and the verbal. Paratexts are non-linear narratives, clusters of visual and textual fragments, reflecting the idea that a subject may be invoked by components beyond and around it. In this context I see paratext as a form of curation onto the page.

Eleanor Bowen
University of the Arts London

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Drawing the borderline, Theatre & Performance Design, April 2017, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/23322551.2017.1326753.
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