Having just performed for six days in her solo installation at Articulate Project Space in Sydney, Cecilia White is an interdisciplinary artist, poet, PhD researcher and tutor at UNSW. Her performance, text, voice, drawing and installation work has been described as rich, evocative and revelatory. Her practice aims to create space to reflect on the impact of a globalising drive for certitude and the foundations of a sense of self. She particularly investigates a relationship between anxiety and wonder by focusing on the pause in breathing. In this reflective space, she suggests ways to radically (re)map a sense of self and ways of living well.
In sum, her work remembers the ‘poetics of breath’, its interactions with anxiety and wonder and the way we (might) live our lives.
Cecilia is creator and director of the internationally performed ‘breathing space projects’, engaging body, everyday objects, multi-lingual text, light and sound to install performative respiratory systems in site-specific locations. Most familiar remnants after the often durational works are the chairs, mirrors, grass, books, tables and broken pieces of text. These projects embody her recently completed PhD research at UNSW in the Faculty of Art & Design.
Cecilia has exhibited, performed and studied in Australia, Europe, Asia and the UK. Her most recent residencies have included the 2015 writer’s residency ‘Paris Lit Up in Rome’ and the UNSW Studio at the Cite’ internationale des arts, Paris in 2014. In Paris she studied mime and body movement with Ivan Baldocchi, examined the history of breathing in the city of light, air, revolution and mental asylums and deepened her yoga practice. She created three performances in Paris and one at Versailles.
Cecilia has received numerous awards, prizes and scholarships. After graduating from the University of Sydney in English literature and European languages, Cecilia was awarded a scholarship to extend her creative practice in poetry, visual arts and performance in Mannheim and Duisburg, Germany. Two Goethe Institut awards followed for study in Berlin. In 2011 Cecilia received an APA to undertake her PhD at UNSW. In 2012 at the University of Newcastle she received the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for establishing the breath and creativity focused five year program Wellness@UoN. This program was built from the intersection of her creative practice and Honours in Psychology (UNE 2008).
Following her June 2015 residency in Rome, Cecilia was invited to participate in the intensive week-long seminar Habiter et Parler , organised by French philosopher Luce Irigaray in conjunction with the University of Nottingham. The works, technical skills and awareness developed in Paris, Rome and Nottingham contributed to her 2016 research papers in Sheffield and Bristol, and ongoing practice in 2017 including the next solo work, a chapbook and a paper for the History of Emotions conference in September in Adelaide.
image source: Hans-Christian Jenssen