Emily Orley

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The Creative Critic: Writing As/About Practice
An edited collection with Katja Hilevaara
Routledge, 2018

An edited collection of creative-critical writings that brings together a range of examples of how to think and write about one’s own work in creative yet academically rigorous ways. We explore how to discuss and analyse our own work, or work that has inspired us, without compromising the creative drive that inspired us in the first place. With a foreword, afterword and middlewords by Jane Rendell, Peter Jaeger, Maria Fusco and Timothy Mathews respectively, and over thirty contributions by leading researcher-practitioners and emerging artists alike.


Fools and Philosophers

Chapter written with PA Skantze published in Theory||Arts||Practices, edited by Peter Sonderen and Marijn de Langen. ArtEZ Press, 2017

A conversation in writing about what it means to do practice-as-research as a postgraduate in a university setting.

(image© Maryjane Orley)


Searching Shadows, Lighting Bones

A script, a performance, an essay in 27 parts, about radiology, migration and memory, as well as my grandfather.  Published as part of the Second Chapter  ('On Migration'), of Something Other, a website created and compiled by Mary Paterson, Maddy Costa and Diana Damian Martin.

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Commemorating the place between land and paper: a creative method for engaging with heritage objects 
Chapter published in Mémoires et patrimoines: Des revendications aux conflits, edited by 
Céline Barrère, Grégory Busquet, Adriana Diaconu, Muriel Girard, Ioana Iosa. Editions L'Harmattan, 2017

(Translated by Céline Barrère:  'Commémorer le lieu entre terre et papier : une méthode créative pour dialoguer avec les objets patrimoniaux')

A Methodology of Locks 
Chapter written with Ella Finer and PA Skantze published in Poetic Biopolitics: Practices of Relation in Architecture and the Arts, edited by Peg Rawes, Timothy Mathews, Stephen Loo
I.B. Tauris, 2016

A creative response, that began as a performance and ended as a written chapter, to current conditions (disaster) in which there is productive interaction between performer and performer and spectator and performer.  A call to arms/a call to imagination. First performed at the Sexuate Subjects: Politics, Poetics and Ethics conference at UCL in December 2010 and again at the (Re)Branding Feminism conference hosted by the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, London in March 2011.

Making Making Matter: Paper as Paradox in Practice-as-Research

Article written with  Katja Hilevaara published in the online journal RUUKKU: Studies in Artistic Research, Nr 4: Process in Artistic Research, 2015

In this exposition we articulate and question our own artistic working process and aesthetic, while exploring how we can make the making of work matter as much as the documents that are made afterwards. We use the remnants of the making of a performance, which began as a dialogue, to make a new performance, with images and words which we take apart and put back together. We set out to ask: how can we celebrate the making while thinking about how and why the making was made? How can we keep the making and thinking about making critical and creative at the same time?

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In the Emptiness Between Them

A site-writing in response to a sound installation by Ella Finer

Where We Meet Volumes 1 and 2Galerie8 

London,  September 2012

Twelve speaker boxes played back twelve voice compositions which sound artist Ella Finer had created over a twelve week period in the Gallerie 8 space. The recordings included singing, conversation (both scripted and incidental) and the building's own natural sounds. I composed a Jane Rendell-esque site-writing in response which was displayed alongside the installation.

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Photo © Kitty Walker


Places Remember Events: towards an ethics of encounter

Chapter published in Liminal Landscapes: Travel, Experience and Spaces In-between, edited by Hazel Andrews and Les Roberts. Routledge, 2012

Building on my PhD research, this chapter takes as its starting point the idea that 'places remember events', words that James Joyce scribbled in the margin of his notes for Ulysses. The writing unfolds in five parts and asks how we might encounter places differently, and make artwork in them, were we to believe that they remembered.


Performing place, recalling space: a site-specific installation/constellation in London

Article in the online Body, Space, Technology Journal (volume 09.02), edited by Sue Broadhurst and Barry Edwards, 2010

Cultural geographer Doreen Massey (2005) and critical thinker Walter Benjamin (1940) both use the image of the constellation in their writings to describe place and history respectively. By drawing on their theories and bringing into play the concept of the constellation as a useful and multi-faceted metaphor, this article suggests one way of negotiating the politics of place to document a site’s history without fixing or limiting it. My discussion culminates in the account of a single case-study, a site-specific installation that I created in April 2008 at the Camden People’s Theatre in London in collaboration with fine artist Elinor Brass.

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Meme 1 & 2

Two dialogues in images with Elinor Brass

London, 2008-10

A two year project investigating ideas of place, belonging, talking and walking in the city. 

The project involved two web-based dialogues documenting the discovery and response to the new places in which we found ourselves, following moves to opposite ends of London. The dialogue took place solely through images, which we posted online. We exchanged images with no text and responded within an agreed period of time. Each image was a response to the previous one, and referenced our location at the time. The result became two series of visual correspondences, referring to the places (geographical and poetic) in which we were dwelling. The first series lasted a year (2008-9) and the second six months (2010).  

As part of this project we also made a short film with Abi Priddle called Two Journeys Ending in the Same Place which documented our journeys from opposite ends of London to Warren Street tube station.

Getting At and Into Place: writing as practice and research
Article in the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, version 2.2, edited by Claire Hind and Susan Orr, 2009

Building on my PhD research, and drawing on a range of writing modes, from psychogeography to Jane Rendell's site-writing to memoir to Walter Benjamin's denkbilder, I consider how to approach a place by writing it.