Issue 2: Editorial


Notes on

Liveness — Welcome to Issue 2. We’re here, after some serious persistence. 

Living is risky, at the best of times, and over the last months we’ve all been witness to a genocide playing out, in real (real-)time, right in front of our eyes. CEASEFIRE NOW!

We are at the same time witnessing a government attempting to erode indigenous rights. They will not. TOITŪ TE TIRITI. KIA KAHA TE REO MĀORI. We must, we will make stands, for protection in the non-protectionist sense, for expansion in the sense (music, art, culture) of the expanded field.

We oftentimes simply don’t have the (/any) words… at the ready…

This all feels very close, when we’re still so raw, shaky, on the edge of vibration, vibrating together, shifting through, after an emotionally- and socially-(fabric)-distressing few years of a pandemic: proximity is dangerous or even prohibited.

And, at a time where our creations can be mined and reproduced, the work/labour that disappears holds the most value and meaning.

And yet, we live. Humankind is one and many. Collective lives. The collective loves, capaciously. Memory lives. Memory also forgets. The lost lives. Oppression lives. Inequality lives. Colonization lives on… and on… Ugh. We cannot “ugh”. We must “live.” “Live.” Creativity lives. Community lives. Hope lives.


When we set about creating this issue, we were interested in thinking/writing/creating that explores what it means to make art, to live as makers, to perform, and to experience in real time with audiences, through the body, in space. At a time when so much of our experience is mediated by screens, we wanted to hear about presence, feedback, immediacy, ephemerality, vitality, action, and risk.

Ariana Tikao writes on taoka puoro and the breath that arises and lives through performance.

Drew McMillan improvises on spontaneous performance, drawing on his deep experience as musician-performer-improviser-composer, and proposes an ecology of improvisation that draws in cognitive processes, instruments, collaborators, and environments. Julia Croft and Nisha Madhan reflect on live art in Aotearoa via a list of “positions” and a potted history of F.O.L.A. [AKL]. Frances Libeau ruminates across Douglas Wright’s Inland, queer reproduction, agricultural history, and the archive. Bridget Douglas describes her experience of rethinking live performance in the Covid era: the joys of imperfection, sensory engagement, and audiences. Victoria Wynne-Jones considers liveness through the lens of a series of performance encounters in the exhibition elbow-room in the universe (Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, 2020). In this issue’s Questions for, Sriwhana Spong discusses art-making, instrument-building, writing as a tool, and the radicality of mystic practices.

In our second collection of creative responses: Amit Noy presents a uniquely personal perspective on BodyCartography Project's performance Resisting Extinction; Paul Young offers a “choreological” response to performances from Josie and Kosta, Ivan Lupi, and EunSun Heo at 2023 Performance Art Week Aotearoa’s Ōtautahi weekend; Eve de Castro-Robinson—no stranger to opera-making—considers NZ Opera’s production of The Unruly Tourist; and Glen Downie listens closely and carefully to Octandre Ensemble’s new recording of ritualistic music by Frank Denyer.


We’re very grateful for the generous support of Creative New Zealand, and we owe a debt of gratitude in particular to the Chartwell Trust and John & Jo Gow for helping get BLOT off the ground with our first issue. All ensure artists are recognized and remunerated for their work.

Thanks always to Dave Currie, for your other-worldy-timezone hard yakka on this steadfast + unwieldy project. Appreciate you!

To the contributors to Issue 2, thank you for your mahi: for saying yes, for sharing so much of yourselves, and for living alongside each other so beautifully in this issue.

Mauri ora

Antonia + Samuel


Being with
Being alive
Being alive with
People over objects
Process over results


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