2003, video live installation, Performance Art as Practice in Research (PARIP, Bristol University 2003), also in Coscienza di Se’, neoncampobase, Bologna


‘Tracing’, was performed as follows:

Action – I draw the shadow that my body casts onto tracing paper, on the floor, I position each sheet from the pile in a fan shaped arrangement. 1st projection – live recording of a detail of the action: my hands drawing the shadow. 2nd projection -video with sound (also in Italian and overlapped), extract: ‘The supplement adds itself, it is a surplus, a plenitude enriching another plenitude, the fullest measure of presence. It cumulates and accumulates presence. It is thus that art, techné, image, representation, convention, etc, come as supplements to nature[…] Unlike the complement, dictionaries tell us, the supplement is an “exterior addition”’.[1] supplement, added feature, addendum, addition, additive, appendix, bell, codicil, complement […] tracing, copy, duplicate, archetype, carbon, carbon copy, cast, clone, counterfeit, counterpart, ditto, ectype, effigy, ersatz, facsimile, forgery […]

My hands were drawing the contour of the shadow my body was casting onto the paper. I was  constantly re-inventing the line as the body moved following the hands’ movement. It is not possible to trace one’s own shadow, and therefore it is not possible to document the movement of one’s own body while doing it.

[1] Derrida, J., Of Grammatology, tr Gayatri Spivak, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1978, pp. 144-145


The intervention at PARIP was titled ‘Tracing’. It was conceived to address the impossibility of fixing a moment in time (Derrida) and referred directly to the production of documents for research purposes. Amelia Jones states (in the live event) that the self is inexorably embodied, and yet she argues that the works suggest that this does not mean that the performed body/self is ever completely legible or fixed in its effects. ‘Body art, through its very performativity and its unveiling of the body of the artist, surfaces the insufficiency and incoherence of the body/self (or the body-as-subject) and its inability to deliver itself fully (whether to the subject-in-performance herself or himself or to the one who engages with this body).’

Derrida called the problematic of ‘the trace’ what splits seemingly identical reflections. He attributed the trace to the memory of an ever-receding origin that always remains elusively outside of what it produces in the present. The temporal spacing of the trace never leads to spatial simultaneity and full visibility, but rather to interminable delay (diffèrance as deferral). [1]


1- Cologni, E., That spot in the ‘moving picture’ is you, (perception in time-based art), ed. John Freeman. Blood, Sweat & Theory: Research through Practice in Performance  Libri Publishing, London, 2010, pp. 83-107


Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London, Practice as Research In Performance : 2001/2006