Mark Leahy is a writer and artist operating among textual practices, performance, and live art. He works with the body as sensing and as affected, using language, models of perception, and objects of everyday use. Including spoken word, task-based actions, and live generation of digital content his performances address the body as desired and as desiring, and the body as a site of inscription and mediation. His textual practice utilizes constraints, structuring rules, and operates to cross or question category and genre divisions including around identity and agency.
In recent performances he has performed vocalisations of material fed to him via headphones, generated live using chance operations on text data. Currently he is working to develop a system of gestures and physical actions that function alongside the verbal performance, operating partly as a notation system that can be scored for his body or for others. An intersection of speaker and self is explored in an engagement with digital and online contexts, and the audience become watchers of the relationship between what is being spoken and the body speaking. Between failing and being compelled to speak emerges a subject as an event.
Live work includes ‘flat-head self-tapping’ at Barbican, Plymouth (Jan 2015) and Chelsea School of Art (May 2015) and ‘answering machine’ for Experimentica14 at Chapter Cardiff (Nov 2014). Other works have been presented in Bristol, Plymouth, London and Liverpool. He has been commissioned to write texts to accompany work by artists including Nathan Walker, Katy Connor, Steven Paige, and Low Profile. His critical publications include essays in Open Letter, Performance Research Journal and The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice; a chapter in The Blackwell Companion to Digital Literary Studies (2007); an essay in The Salt Companion to John James (2010), and a chapter in The Life and Work of Thomas MacGreevy: A Critical Reappraisal (2013). He was MA Programme Leader at Dartington College of Arts (2007-2010) and teaches part-time at Falmouth University and Plymouth University.