Michael Murphy and Róisín O’Gorman: Writing is not the last word: reflections on an iterative creative research project

Writing, as it moves into and through collaborative research and the construction of artwork is, in our experience, a fracturing process, a violence of somatic presence/absence that allows for correspondences between intimate space and distance, that recognizes and honors the geographical displacement and the attempted collision of digital technology and touch. We work, as collaborators, at the intersection of digital and somatic ways of knowing/accessing/presenting. Our work contains strands developed in shared spaces and apart, between Ireland and the U.S.A.—with distance sharing and re-purposing of material and the evolving ideation that has lead to a freedom from and perhaps destabilization of meaning in a traditionally academic sense. We trace the connections across specific histories, which are ongoing, where bodies and lives are disappeared by apparatuses of oppression, colonial legacies, and the extractive regimes of consumption and climate destruction. Strands of work search for their helical being-ness, looking to attach themselves to other meaningful material. We consider the ways writing moves us towards or away from each other, the other. We consider the ways words screen us and yet might offer a bridge between worlds; the way images replace words and screens disrupt the normative. We write towards touch and away from it. Touch ablates the tensions, /melts the distances. We are out of touch. So, we write. We also draw, talk, film, record and move. We position writing within a tapestry of interweaving practices, allowing writing itself to have some companionship, some kinship. Easing the burden on writing to deliver, contain, and maintain knowledge paradigms, perhaps enables understanding of knowledging as wrighting; that is, at least some of the time, creating knowing is a place of play, craft, and pleasure, even as we confront the devastating crises of the world writ large.


Michael R. Murphy came to academia after a career as an actor and director in theatre, film and television, both in New York City and Los Angeles. His areas of teaching include directing, acting, and interactive media performance and design. His work covers a range of areas, including filmmaking, theatre, opera, video design and performance installation work.

Dr. Róisín O’Gorman lectures in Department of Theatre at University College Cork. Her current research examines performance as an interdisciplinary epistemology. Her work articulates the joint space between creative arts practice and traditional scholarship interweaving practice as a Somatic Movement Educator along with creative arts practice and traditional scholarship.  This work results in arts-based research projects, essays in international journals, book chapters and video essays which develop conceptual knowledge and integrate those concepts through the varied form.