Autoscenography, She Wrote
This 15-minute film details the construction of the word 'autoscenography' and introduces this emergent practice. This film was originally made as a presentation at the end of my second year of PhD research, to introduce the term and practice of autoscenography to peers on the doctoral research programme. A transcript of the film commentary can be found here.
Super-local, Personal, Self-Accountable
Within the presentation above, I draw attention to three qualities of autoscenography which were emergent at that time: the 'super-local, personal and self-accountable'. Revisiting these named qualities towards the end of the project, it is clear that this is not an exhaustive list of the possibilities for autoscenography, but they continue to represent important dimensions of a practice situated in lived experience. In this respect the personal and self-accountability as themes are self-explanatory, but 'super-local' bears some unpacking.
‘Super local’ is a term I am using to describe the intimacy between the scenographer and the places where they work. The term ‘super local’ is designed to encompass the geographical location where the scenographer works, but also further, closer, to include the space in which they practice – e.g., shared workspace, home studio or kitchen table. It describes an intimacy with the surfaces or materials within that space which may inform the scenographic practice – workbenches, table surfaces, floors, views from windows - but then moves closer, to include the scenographer’s body as a location and the place where their lived experience is situated. It is ‘super’ local because it exceeds the norms of ‘where’ we consider a scenographer to be (Merriam-webster.com, 2017) and what we consider to be local to their practice. Within a project where space is a key element for the originating scenographer, this quality of the super-local can be seen within each of the practical projects within this thesis.
Autoscenography, She Wrote was designed to embody research at the intersection of the scenographer’s ‘story’ i.e. their lived experience, autobiography or history, with their practice. This is an approach that runs through the whole PhD submission. With this in mind, the next section details my methodological approach, sets out my research questions, describes the decision-making within the project and the design of this thesis.