The body as site | Deptford High Street Study

The Body as Site | Deptford High street Study.

Using the street as stimulus:


Nina Feldman, Amy Spencer, Camilla Mello, Rachel Champion, Beatrice Jarvis.


Linda Remahl and Beatrice Jarvis

‘The city is the ultimate creation of the human mind’ (Krupart. 85)

Practising Space invites you to reconsider the texture of the urban landscape using your body as a means to generate an embodied response. Taking routinal urban spaces as temporary performance arenas, this exercise encourages participants to develop a specific movement and expression vocabulary which is based on their observations of the interactions and explorations which they can form from interacting with patterns in the landscape.

Taking the approach that the city is ‘a place of multiple and contrasting realities’ ( Krupart. 85) this exercise encourages the active acknowledgement and appreciation of patterns which are occurring within the landscape, using such observations as creative stimulus.

‘But places have meanings; They are seen and interpreted through a social cultural filter.’ (Krupart. 85)



This exercise is designed to explore how the body can become a vessel which can essentially function as a mechanism which will explore how the social landscape of movement is founded. Virilio alludes; ‘It is no longer the big events that make up the fabric of the landscape of time but the myriad incidents, minute fact either over looked or deliberately ignored.’ (Virillio 2000)  The landscape from this perspective becomes a densely textured fabric woven with the very essence of the human condition. In this framework the human form becomes the predominant spatial node, as Grosz explores; the; ‘ body as socio-cultural artefact.’ ( Grosz 92)Yet such a framework for spatial investigation is fraught with complexity as Burgin alludes; ‘There is no objectification without identification.’ (Burgin 92) The human form, to return to Grosz, cannot be disembodied from its spatial context, and equally spatial context, in reflection of the built environment, is the very fruit of human endeavour, such mutual co-dependence cannot be simply eradicated from such a theoretical framework.




After explorations of Deptford High street, through closed eyes with a partner, with notebooks, with bodies, the group made a small improvisation away from the high street, exploring the potential traces of movement their observations of the high street had left on their body, exploring the potential for the body to act as vessel for experience.


Ask you self the following:

-How far does your body become spectacle within this exercise?

-How far can this exercise be pedestrian or performance? Can you play with the boundaries between these two?

- does your body express your emotions; if so; how is this communication occurring; if not; can you explain the ‘blockages’ you may be experiencing.


Text observations | Writing the high street | Beatrice Jarvis 


“ are you okay”

They hug.


The continued smell of fresh meat and fish.

The lives are lived out with pride.

Glances exchanged, a muted curiosity.

to learn | to exchange.

A familiar smile.

The camera allows for exchanges.

“ Take a photo of me”

The lady asks what “they Do”

“is that someone picking something up”

The street crescendos and dime duos.

Calm with some discontent.

In the supermarket the man wears no shoes.

Another man in a wheel chair asks he shake his hand.

A wondrance as to the lives in the windows.

“ I live in that one”

“will you lend me three pounds, where are you from, Brighton, are you a Brighton belle? will you lend me one pound forty, are there lots of homosexuals down that way, do you know the sea”

An old man asks questions in an endless flood, never demanding answer.

 A lady gives me her card, a cake maker, masseuses, and event organiser.

“ I thought they were mad, then I realised maybe they were acting”

“ can I have your camera”

hands deep in the pockets

Picking up rubbish

Touching the walls

Holding hands

In the eyes they are dancing.

The body walks, the standard

one foot, one foot, one foot.