Macquarie University
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Washing lines: encounters in improvised handheld video portraiture

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posted on 2022-03-28, 20:56 authored by Cleo Cecile Mees
This project consists of a creative component and exegesis that explore the capacities of improvised filmmaking and performance techniques to convey the affective potential of places, people and other subjects. The resulting creative work, Washing Lines, is a series of improvised video portraits that feature people hanging out washing to dry in locations throughout Sydney. The exegesis explores ways of sensing as a filmmaker, describing my (the candidate's) pursuit of a "haptic", non-mastering relationship to places and subjects through the development of specific parameters for camera movement : a "score". It explores the active work of improvisation, discussing agency, risk and affect in improvised practice, and elaborating an aesthetics of effort in filmmaking and performance. It also addresses the relationship between matter and meaning in the Washing Lines video series. Affect and improvisation are not only explored in relation to filmmaking, but are considered as integral aspects of creative and scholarly research. This project is committed to iterative, practice-led and interdisciplinary enquiry, and attempts to enact and describe what I identify as a "playful" research methodology. This methodology combines improvised filmmaking practices with strategies from dance, music and performance, drawing on my involvement in BodyWeather, Contact Improvisation, Taiko percussion,and local dance research residencies. Through this process, I develop an approach to handheld video portraiture that appreciates the multi-faceted nature of improvisation, as well as the multi-faceted nature of the affective encounters it facilitates.


Table of Contents

Chapter One. Methodology : an overview -- Chapter Two. A playful methodology -- Chapter Three. Soft vision -- Chapter 4. Working material -- Chapter Five. Sensuous recognition -- Conclusion -- References.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 143-152

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Tom Murray

Additional Supervisor 1

Karen Pearlman


Copyright Cleo Cecile Mees 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (xiv, 152 pages) colour illustrations

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