Scripting for Agency
Scripting for Agency uses performance, film and writing to explore the movement, transmission and mediation of ‘character’ in human beings, texts and other agents. Since character is a pattern, a feature, or a quality that is by definition distinguished against other characters, a study of character is also a study of difference and the conditions and value of diversity.
Through a performance practice in which I am possessed by characters, the project develops my own everyday habit of frame switching into a performance method, enabling me to inhabit a variety of different characters on screen. By exploring my personality bandwidth and phenomenologically reporting the movements my self makes in my character performances, I am able to consider the role of character in the mechanics of self, yielding the following propositions:
- Character is a contagious system of memes which ‘plays out’ across a substratum that is embedded within a social milieu.
- Character is the shape of what is thinkable to the human being for the time it is adopted.
- ‘The social agent’ is that character which is adopted by the human being when it enters the social milieu, endowing it with rights and responsibilities.
The thesis is especially concerned with troubling the perceived relationship between ‘self-consistency’ and ‘authenticity’. By developing an aesthetics of self variability in relation to authenticity, viewers in the vicinity of the artworks are given the space and vocabulary to flex their intuitions about their own character fluidity and personal diversity.
The research then leaves us in a position to ask new, speculative questions about the mechanics of self, such as how models affect how we think about loss, loneliness, and whether social complexity can cope with personal diversity.
View a timeline of the research.
- Michael Archer
- Grace Schwindt
- Stephen Johnstone