Lisa Watts


Watts will be making new Live Art in the galleries and the creative processes from these will be partly recorded using the Studio Activity Sheets, SASs, that she has invented.

On the SASs there is a first column for time and then the second column is for the statement which is written by the artist. It is a statement that is a significant moment in the artistic processes decided upon by the artist. It can be a revelation, a description, an experiment, a failure, an important thought, a note for a future action. It is something that the artist believes is significant in the processes of making their art.

Skittish, offers an alternative to usual methods in the use of the SASs in that they do not document artistic processes via interviews, or one off conversations, or organised workshops, but instead record processes through a close-up, detailed investigation of chronological moments. In addition, the SASs concentrate on one art work rather than a general overview of an art practice and the recordings are collated over a long period of time, say nine months. Furthermore, the SASs are created from the artist’s immediate, direct voice, rather than filtered through an interview or an observer of the work. Although, the SASs begin as simple daily documents once they are collated, ordered and reflected upon in terms of their relationship to the material experiments they then become transformed into sophisticated documents.

Recording thoughts, ideas and convoluted processes in the making of Live Art that often twist and turn, or fail, or that can be revisited and create surprises are notoriously difficult to document. According to Bryan Lawson, an English educationalist and Architect who has researched the processes in the making of Architecture, 'conducting empirical work on the design process is notoriously difficult' because 'it takes place inside our heads' and 'drawings may not always reveal the whole of their (designers/ architects) thought process' (1997:39). It can be said that for the same reasons as in Design and Architecture it is difficult to document the processes in the making of Live Art. This difficulty of documenting processes has led to a scarcity in published literature.

Lawson, Bryan, (1990), How designers think: the design process demystified, 2nd ed, Architectural Press, Oxford, England.