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Speaking With: New Forms of Notation for Scoring Excess

The score, as instructional text based works, has been utilised in art practice from the late 1950’s to the present. This research project is a feminist analysis of the use of scores in art making, through the lens of three key terms: speaking with, refusal and voicing excess.

My research develops speaking with as a feminist method of practice in working with material, bodies and archive; bringing readers, writers, makers and the materials of practice close. Speaking with holds in mind an awareness of proximity, resisting the urge to colonalise that which we come close to. Frottage, Fandom, ‘I love to you’ (Irigaray) are examined through the lens of speaking with. This methodology enables my research to examine where and how to we situate the work of others and our subjective selves within our practice, and how the score as form enables this speaking.

Refusal is a processual force in art practice and writing that creates spaces of cultural production from which feminist, maternal, non-normative and non-patriarchal voices can be heard. This project foregrounds Italian feminist Carlo Lonzi’s construction of herself as ‘nothing’, as a cultural body acting through and within refusal, as a starting point to ask how does ‘nothing’ speak. The research considers  refusal as a method  to consider the urgency of the arts today and why the score is a necessary form in enacting refusal. I examine how and what feminist refusal enables us to speak with.

The score was embraced by feminist art practitioners through the 1960's and onward as an important method of making work which enabled a space 'off the page', between text and its reading/performance via endless mutable repetitions, to be activated. It is this 'off the page' space generated through the making and performance of scores which holds and speaks of excess. Here I understand excess to be the subjective, the collaborative, the personal and the social; being poly-vocal and chorus like. The score as text work sits across genres of poetry, fiction, autofiction, instruction and script. As a slippery form of writing and performing, the score allows for collaboration in authorship, voices, and bodies. Within contemporary practice, the score continues to be a vital form in text, film, painting and performance practices. Through my own practice of writing, performing, film making and painting, and feminist analysis of others, this project offers speaking with as a new method for thinking about and working with score based practice.

Keywords: Feminism, Refusal, Performance, Score, Excess

Events: Speaking With, organised by Marita Fraser and Caroline Douglas, June 12, 2019, Royal College of Art.

Key details

School, Centre or Area


  • TECHNE Doctoral Award, AHRC, 2018–2020


More about Marita

Marita Fraser is a visual artist and writer who's practice is materialised through painting, collage, installation, film, performance and text. 

Academy of Fine Art Vienna, Class Heimo Zobernig

BA Fine Art 1st Class Honours, Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney.

BSc. (Arch), University of Sydney.

Fraser has produced a permanent sculpture in public space for the city of Tulln, Austria. and a large scale temporary public space work as part of Urban Signs - Local Strategies  Paterstern, Vienna. She has undertaken international residency programs with Casa Wabi Mexico,  MQ21 Vienna, Atelierhaus Salzamt Linz, Artspace Sydney and Cite International des Arts Paris. She was a founding director of the Viennese 'off space', Bell Street Project Space from 2006–2010. 2017–2019 she has been a  tutor at Royal College of Art, Liverpool Hope University, UCA Farnham and Bath Spa University. Fraser is a member of the RCA School of Art and Humanities open Research Network Speaking of Her. In 2019 she co-organised and presented her research at Speaking With and AUTO//FICTION events held at the RCA.

Recent exhibitions and performances include: (after) parts of a body house, Moore Contemporary Perth; Sister, Gallery Layendecker Santa cruz de Tenerife; Billy, Schneiderei Vienna; Marita Fraser - Love of Diagrams, Engen Stadt Museum; Marita Fraser, Kerstin Engholm Gallery Vienna; Something New, Josh Liley Gallery London; Afterimage, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna and Prima Interventionen, Atelierhaus Salzamt, Linz.