‘Drawing exercise’ inject print + tracing paper + pencils, 2011, Elena Cologni

Performance Studies international #17, 25-29 May 2011, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Paper Abstract:

Condition: ‘the present [is] that which is, when it is simply what is happening. […and ] all perception is already memory’[1]?

Observation: We make sense of the world through language as well as through a ‘praktognosia'[2], a pre-linguistic understanding through our bodily experience of movement in space.

This ‘active paper’, together with a series of workshops and interventions, forms the development phase of a residency project (Grants for The Arts, Arts Council Of England) at the Department of Experimental Psychology at Cambridge University. Considering the connection between perception and memory, this looks at the unstable nature of perception and representation of reality, and in particular the messiness implicit in the practice of recollection, also relating to rodent models of memory. The outcomes will weave individual (loss of) memories and personal histories into the urban context. In these psycho-geographies the overlapping of the geometry of the recollection’s journeys with the geography of the place continually shifts (as though an integrated delayed transmission system were implied). The challenge is proposing a construction of meaning within a system of knowledge between the arts, cognitive psychology and digital environments, for which your input is very welcome.

Further information:

This project builds on my interest in memory (1997) and live documentation of performance (2003,, further developed with specific involvement of the audience in ‘Mnemonic Present, Un-Folding’ series ( AHRC 2004-06). It continued through: Creative Lab Residency at CCA in Glasgow (2006), Re-Moved (2008, CCA, Gi08, and Geomemos, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2009,, when site specificity and notions of memory as archival and removal in trying to enhance the audience’s and my own experience of who we are in any given moment. Using video pre-recorded and archival material from the in the ‘presentness’ of the event, underline the everyday’s condition of constantly engaging with (and processing) re-presentation of immediate or remote past, to make sense of the present.

[1] Bergson, H., Matièr et Mémoire, 166-167
[2] Merleau Ponty, Phenomemnology of Perception, 162

Cologni and participants, walking around the room.

The audience was asked to draw diagram of the walk.


ROCKFLUID is awarded Grants for the Arts, Arts Council of England, within the Escalator Programme. ROCKFLUID is supported by Colchester Arts Centre, Wysing Arts Centre and the University of Cambridge, while opening up to other collaborating institutions.


Studio: Wysing Arts Centre
Fox Road, Bourn, Cambridge, CB23 2TX

Supported by:


Copyright © 2011-2017 Elena Cologni. All rights reserved.

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