Research

My artistic research is primarily in moving image and participatory performance. My practice is informed by my ongoing exploration of the role of the senses and our embodiment in communicating meaning, often using narratives to help activate imagination and provide a framework. Beyond this, the core themes in my creative practice are built around our relationship to landscape and place in general and how our environment can become an extension of our inner worlds. In my participatory performance projects I focus on the importance of creative and cross-disciplinary collaborative process, often involving scientists and other specialists. I run  sensory workshops, which are a key part of my methodology. I am a founder of Sensory Sites, an international collective based in London, generating collaborative exhibitions, installations and research projects that explore multi-sensory perception and bodily experience. A reoccurring motif in my work is a journey of exploration, where all the senses are harnessed to take participants on an adventure. My PhD, about tactility and embodiment in film, which I completed in 2012 at the Royal College of Art, is called Tangible Territory: Inviting the Body into the Experience of Moving Image and can be found HERE.

RESEARCH THEMES


THEME: 4 GENERATIONS OF WOMEN (2012- ongoing)

A time-based project exploring the unique and often complex interconnections between four generations of women within her family, each film stages a small family ritual, sometimes combined with documentary style dialogue, exploring the bonds between the women while also touching on the hidden issues and concerns of the family’s past. The intimate personal histories are inevitably interwoven with the crucial historical events of the past hundred years of the Czech Republic. My approach is informed by her research into the communication of embodiment in the moving image, while using multi-sensory aesthetics.

https://cinestheticfeasts.com/2019/08/18/4-generations-welcoming-a-new-addition/ https://cinestheticfeasts.com/2018/08/09/4-generations-women-water-reflections/ https://cinestheticfeasts.com/2020/06/12/from-you-to-me-4-generations-of-women-at-alchemy/

 

THEME: SENSING PLACE & INNER LANDSCAPES

Exploring how our environment can become an extension of our inner worlds. The form this research takes is immersive participatory performance and film.

Journey to the Interior (2017) A multi-sensory, participatory performance involving a feast, inspired by George Bellas Greenough, a geologist and a founder of the Geological Society, London as well as Jules Verne’s story the Journey to the Centre of the Earth. It took place on 21st May, 2017, in Kensal Green Cemetery and Dissenters Chapel. It was conceived and realised by Tereza Stehlikova with the help of a dedicated team of creative people (see below for a full list), who met over the course of many months, developing the concept through a series of sensory workshops. To read more about the experience, in a text by Monika Parrinder: https://cinestheticfeasts.com/2017/06/16/journey-to-the-interior-by-monika-parrinder/

 

Tangible Territory within Blue Hour (2019): This project was a component of a large collaborative, immersive installation called Blue Hour, which itself was part of 36Q within the Prague Quadrennial festival. I have been invited by Marketa Fantova, the PQ artistic director, to be in charge of tactile environment. Artist Romain Tardy provided the overall form for our playground – an ice hockey hall converted into a moonscape, containing 36 “pools” distributed evenly across the floor, between two large towers made of scaffolding, on which projection and light were to “perform”. More writing and images available here:

https://cinestheticfeasts.com/2019/06/20/tangible-territory-within-blue-hour/ https://cinestheticfeasts.com/2019/06/22/tangible-territory-being-animated/ https://cinestheticfeasts.com/2019/07/12/tangible-territory-teaser/

Icelandic Journey (2013/14): Participatory multi-sensory performance and film:  The event has been conceived and initiated by myself, an artist and researcher based at the Royal College of Art, and developed in collaboration with Charles Michel (cook and researcher at Crossmodal Research laboratory, Oxford), as well as a team of dedicated collaborators from various backgrounds and with different professional expertise. It was positioned somewhere between being a banquet, theatre performance, and a workshop/experiment. My aim was to create, on one hand, a highly imaginative and complex environment for experiencing food, and on the other, to use food as a means of exploring perception and taking us on an imaginary journey. More about the event here: https://cinestheticfeasts.com/2014/02/09/taste-of-iceland-art-science-and-exploration/

Film based on the experience:

Sensing Place:  Five day sensory workshop / residency in beautiful surroundings of South Bohemia, focused on exploring our relationship to landscape/place, in order to inspire creativity, fuel the imagination and ground the body. More information here: https://sensorysites.org/2020/02/07/sensing-place/

TRIESTE: In-between states (2016): An impressionistic documentary about Trieste which was inspired by a conversation with John Berger. Trieste a city with a unique history of fluctuating fortunes is positioned on cross roads of different cultures and political states. It is a liminal place “a hallucinatory city where fantasy easily brushes with fact.” (Jan Morris) The film’s narrative is weaved from fragments of interviews readings and observations and is a collaboration with writer Deborah Levy.

 

THEME: FOOD, EMBODIMENT & FILM

An ongoing research project, which explores ideas of female embodiment, the interchange between inside and outside, and the role of the senses in communicating meaning.

Ophelia’s Last Supper (2018) was inspired by Millais famous painting and explores a reoccurring theme in my own work: transformation of the act of eating into a kind of internal journey where the fluid boundaries between our interior and exterior worlds, which our senses mediate between, become dissolved. In this film Ophelia slowly merges with the element of water ingesting the landscape that will later ingest her. The act of beautification by definition surface is through ingestion internalised while the interior becomes exposed.

Sweet Muscle Flexing (2018) “Outside and inside are both intimate – they are always ready to be reversed, to exchange their hostility. If there exists a border-line surface between such an inside and outside, this surface is painful on both sides.” Gaston Bachelard https://cinestheticfeasts.com/2018/07/12/sweet-muscle-flexing/

Dinner for Deep Surface Divers (2016)

Can a dinner become the means of transportation into an inner world of the imagination? The film is part of my research into evoking multi-sensory impressions and embodied memory in moving image.

Disappearing Wormwood (2015- ongoing)

A cinematic witnessing of London living through aberrant, awkward, ugly change, but mostly dying in the process. Filmed over the last half decade, exploring the overlooked aesthetic power of Willesden Junction, Wormwood scrubs, Kensal Green Cemetery and The Grand Union Canal, the film strives to see a closer place, alien, idiosyncratic and yet familiar. It enters into dialogue with its genius loci, capturing and preserving on camera and in word, before it is transformed beyond recognition by the notorious incoming Old Oak redevelopment. The film is part of an ongoing creative collaboration between poet Steven J Fowler and filmmaker Tereza Stehlikova, a project which also includes poetry publications, an exhibition and various public events. https://www.whitechapelgallery.org/events/tereza-stehlikova-and-steven-fowler-worm-wood/

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