Making nothing out of something: emptiness, embodiment, and creative activity

Sargent-Wishart, Kimberley (2016) Making nothing out of something: emptiness, embodiment, and creative activity. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Making nothing out of something: emptiness, embodiment, and creative activity presents an anthology of practice, the fruition of an interdisciplinary and practice-led path of somatic and artistic research. The research engages with questions of creative activity—the making of ‘something’ out of ‘nothing,’ as well as questions of perception—the recognition of the ‘nothing’ in the ‘something’ made. This inquiry is grounded in the embodiment practices of Body-Mind Centering® (BMC) somatics, Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and meditation practices, Miksang contemplative photography, and the composition of dance/film works that celebrate the poetics of everyday life. At the centre of these practices, the research engages with narratives of embryology, the ‘making’ of a human being, as a way to remember ourselves as beings in-the-making. The creative component comprises two dance/films —cast (2014) and Postcards for John Cage (2015), and a collection of photographs bound as a visual chapter within the thesis. The analytical written component contains reflective accounts of somatic and artistic practice, as well as further philosophical and methodological discussions. The thesis, including both the creative and analytical components, constitutes a whole anthology of practice, and therefore each element is to be considered in relationship to this whole. The work contributes to practices of interdisciplinarity, by suggesting and modelling methods for bringing somatic and creative research practices into conversation with philosophical discourse. The research speaks from a place of overlap and refraction in the meeting of three disciplines—Body-Mind Centering somatics, Tibetan Buddhism, and creative arts practice. From this place it suggests interdisciplinary ways of knowing, through engaging the reflective capacities made possible through contemplative arts practices and embodied awareness, as developed through somatics and dance exploration and the in-depth practice of philosophical questioning promoted by the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media
Historical > FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Historical > FOR Classification > 2203 Philosophy
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Arts
Keywords mindfulness, Buddhism, creativity, five elements, differentiation, wholeness, cells, cell division
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