Critical Spatial Practice

windwoundweatherwovenwirewoman [performance] (2017)
  • Julieanna Preston | Matui / Somes Island

  • Reading the metal fence surrounding the quarantine station as a sound-text. A still image from performance documentation of windwoundweatherwirewovenwoman (2017). Joshua Lewis photographer. Seeing the metal fence as a woven matrix susceptible to wind and weather. A still image from performance documentation of windwoundweatherwirewovenwoman (2017). Julieanna Preston photographer. A score influenced by Kurt Schwitters’ poem URSONATE begins with a collection of single syllable words beginning with the letter ‘w’. A still image from performance documentation of windwoundweatherwirewovenwoman (2017). Julieanna Preston photographer. Investigation on how metal fences are made by hand and commercially links gestures and sounds through repetition, cursive writing and conventional weaving and knotting processes. A sketch from performance documentation of windwoundweatherwirewovenwoman (2017). Julieanna Preston photographer.
  • windwoundweatherwovenwirewoman [performance] (2017)
  • Julieanna Preston | Matui / Somes Island
  • In each live art and associated writing piece, I attempted to shed language spoken and written as strictly meaning-making expressive exercises. In each project, voice, sound and noise become the gestures that help me flush out the liveness of things one vibration searching for another, and another, and so on. This effort depends on reclaiming, or better, becoming wildness – unruly, relying less methodically on my habitual cognitive-processes to guide or frame the practice, to embrace the undisciplined, and to some degree, unknowing.

    Turn 2: On Site / Performing Writing Symposium, Wellington, NZ and “four castings” [artists pages]. In On Writing & Performance/ Performance Research 23:1, 2018, 21-24.

    At Matiu Island, I became an embodied sounding instrument charged by the wind to read the fence continuously as long as it took to circumnavigate the human and animal quarantine facility.

    Pitched as an aural weather forecast, the performance’s score was informed by research on the techniques of production and repair of metal fencing as well as climatic data gathered from New Zealand’s Taihoro Nukurangi/ National Institute of Water and Air’s (NIWA) climate archive CliFlo used to measure and describe environmental air movement.

    Recalling Ruskin’s Storm-Cloud lectures of 1884, windwoundweatherwovenwirewoman was a vocalisation as foreboding as a storm of environmental or cultural crisis and equally as fertile as a still, warm sticky night. Given the multi-layered and faceted events that structure Matiu Island’s geology, geography, inhabitation, management, protection and development, what is the pitch and tenor of that forecast?


    Julieanna Preston is a Professor of Spatial Practice at Toi Rauwharangi/ College of Creative Arts, Massey University, Wellington, Aotearoa/ New Zealand. Spanning across architecture, art and philosophy, her research draws from her background in interior design, building construction, landscape gardening, sound art, material processes, vocal toning and performance writing. Julieanna has delivered live art performances and lectured on her creative and scholarly works in the United States, UK, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Scotland, Norway, The Netherlands, Canada, Germany and New Zealand. She received a Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech (1983), Master of Architecture from Cranbrook Academy of Art (1990) and a PhD through creative practice from RMIT (2013). Recent works and publications include a sole authored book Performing Matter: interior surface and feminist actions (AADR 2014), Idleness Labouritory: Attuning and Attending (in collaboration with Mick Douglas, Syracuse, NY 2016) and Performing, Writing: A symposium in four turns (Wellington, NZ, 2017).


    In my critical spatial practice, duration, often in long periods, is employed as a transformative factor in establishing relationships with place, weather, and seemingly inanimate materials. My works develop with reference to context and with the aim to amplify the material’s agency amongst an ecology of contingent forces. Subjectivity, emotions and bodily gesture and posture are key markers of a critical consciousness practice. I apply the same principles and values to my writing such that the act of writing and orality of reading are infused with spatial immediacy and often test the conventions of voice, tone, and format of what academic writing has been.

    Situated, responsive, relational, aural, material, experimental


    Yve Lomax, Sounding the Event: Escapades in Dialogue and Matters of Art, Nature and Time, 20015, I.B. Tauris.

    John Hall, Essays on Performance Writing, Poetics and Poetry, Shearsman Books, 2015.

    Laurie Anderson, artist/performer/composer/musician/film director (1947- ).

    Other projects
  • Visible vs Invisible, (2022–)
  • Naisten Kaupunki – Työkaluja oman tilan valtaamiseen, (City of Women — Tools for Occupying Space) (2022) 
  • Moonfuture: Migration, Images and the Geological Interior (2022)
  • Dissolving the Dwelling (2021–2)
  • Washing White (2021)
  • Um Slaim Collective (2021)
  • Sonic Acts of Noticing (2021)
  • MGM_OurStarterCulture_5
    Our Starter Culture, (2021)
  • Milan Gender Atlas, (2021)
  • Making Map I: Animals and Anachronistic Architectures, development in progress (2021–)
  • Collateral (2021)
  • The Wandsworth Food Bus, (2020)
  • Progetto Minore. Alla ricerca della minorità nel progetto archiettonico ed urbanistico (2020)
  • 1-DMZ
    Architecture and Co-Existence: DMZ as Site, (2020)
  • Time on Site (2019)
  • Stori Mwd (A Story of Mud), (2019)
  • not nothing (August 2019)
  • Hungry Mothers, En La Frontera (2019 – present)
  • Exchanging Values at Bank (18 October 2019)
  • Cybiog: locating the digital self, (2019/20, 2 mins 45 secs)
  • Civic Pedagogy, learning as critical spatial practice (2019)
  • An Independent and Flexible and Precarious and Overworked Rehearsal, (January – December 2019)
  • An environmental history of La Guajira (2019)
  • A Weird-Tender in progress (2019)
  • Cecilie Sachs Olsen
    A walk in your words (25.01.2019)
  • Portal Zaryadye: A Portal Not Only to Heaven, But Aslo To Hell (24 July – 12 August 2018)
  • Text-isles: sowing an idea, October (2018)
  • Gilly-image-1
    Silent Conversation, (2018 – ongoing)
  • Objects removed for study (2018)
  • Female Futures Lexicon on Space (2018/2019)
  • 5, Big Bang 2 / Mid Graemetruby
    Bank Job, (2018–2020 and beyond)
  • Natalia Irina Roman, Tick Tack, Berlin (2019). Photographer: Natalia Irina Roman
    Along the Lines (2018–)
  • windwoundweatherwovenwirewoman [performance] (2017)
  • Viscous Myths (2017/2018)
  • The Pass (October 2017 – June 2018)
  • The House Alice Built (2017/2019)
  • Productive Withdrawals: Art Strikes, Art Worlds, and Art as a Practice of Freedom (December 2017)
  • Request for the unrequested voluntary interlinguisticality (2017)
  • Caring for Communities (2017 – 2019)
  • Bodies + Borders (2017 – present)
  • a place called … (Spring 2017)
  • Uppland (2016 – 18)
  • Music for Masterplanning (2016 – 17)
  • P | A | N – Proyecto Amasandería Nacional (2016)
  • Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces (2016)
  • Island Icarus (2016–2019)
  • In My Mothers’ Garden: Memories and practices of Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (2016)
  • Having not felt like eating, but eaten, I sat down to eat / tea … (2016)
  • Desiring the Dark: Feminist Scenographies, the City and the Night, (2016–2019)
  • Bamboo dialogues (2016)
  • ASSET ARREST (2016)
  • Alternative Arrangements: Walking the Border in Ireland (2016 – ongoing)
  • Matter of the Manor (2015 – 19)
  • The First World Congress of the Missing Things (2014)
  • Private Choices, Public Spaces (2014)
  • Hanging Matters (2014)
  • Act#5 & Act#6: What does Mai Mai Mean? (March 2014 – December 2016)
  • 03-FLATS (2014)
  • (small memorials), 2013–15
  • Mount Patawerta
    Gardening for Untold Ecologies: A Manual for Making an Arid GARDEN Out There, (2013)
  • A Game of Dominoes (2013)
  • Lina & Gio: the last humanists (February – June 2012)
  • Learning-through-Touring (2012)
  • Empty Words Build Empty Homes (2012)
  • Ridley’s (2011)
  • Hustadt project, 2008 – (2011)
  • Palimpsest Performances (2010 – 2014)
  • Negotiating Conflict: Bordering Practices in a Divided Beirut (2010 – 2014)
  • Expanded Architecture (2010 – 2014)
  • Unfixing Place: A Study of Istanbul through Topographical Practices (2008)
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