Iris Colomb: “I know you’re there even when I can’t see you.”

Performing for a virtual audience.


Since the first UK lockdown, I have had more conversations than I can count with friends and collaborators about liveness, how it functions, what it does, what exactly we missed. Several of these discussions included Camilla Nelson, Xavier Velastin, Serena Braida, Luna Montenegro, and Adrian Fisher with whom I curated SLANT’s four online events; Writing Bodies, Forms In Flux, Voiceworks, and Spontaneous Combustion. The pandemic context has led us to consider notions of performativity through a new lens, beyond contexts of shared time and space. SLANT, a platform initially devised to explore poetic liveness, became a digital space for poets and performers to experiment with the constraints and possibilities of online performance. Delivering this program has allowed me to witness the development of a diverse range of exciting approaches. Beyond experimenting with new formal possibilities, playing with simultaneity and experimenting with framing and editing, some of SLANT’s contributors have explored ways of directly engaging with their virtual audience. They have done so in adapting pieces devised before the pandemic as well as creating entirely new material rooted in its online context.


Click here to read the full text: I know you’re there, even when I can’t see you


Iris Colomb is a poet, artist, curator and translator based in London. She has given individual, collaborative, interactive and durational performances online as well as in the UK, Germany, Austria, Romania and France. She is the author of three pamphlets: ‘I’m Shocked’ (Bad Betty Press, 2018), ‘just promise you won’t write’ (Gang Press, 2019), and ‘Flakes of Fickle Quicklime’ (Earthbound Press, 2020). Her poems have been published in magazines including SALADE, PN Review, Tentacular, Poetry Wales, Para•text and Datableed, as well as in a number of UK anthologies. Iris is the founder of the investigative poetry and performance platform SLANT, Co-Editor of HVTN Press, and a member of the interdisciplinary collective ‘No Such Thing’.  


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