Embodied Absence and Evoking the Ancestors: A Collaborative Encounter





presence, absence, grief, co-creation, walking, ritual, making, gifted objects


This paper argues that through participation, dialogue, co-action and the occurrence of immersive experiences, as suggested by Kester (2011), key elements of the research process, relationship, and friendship deepen and are enriched by engaging with absence and presence as part of a chosen activity and bodily experience. The following narrative explores how the production of visual artwork and co-created ritual experience in a chosen landscape weaves a gossamer safety net across the chasm of loss and raises questions of absence and presence, personal loss and the collaborative shared experience; the power of ritual, conversation, and object-making give attention to the presence of absence. My argument builds on the notion of presence, manifest absence and Otherness (Law, 2004, pp. 84-85) and extends the ideas that absence can be located in space and have materiality and agency (Meyer & Woodthorpe, 2008).



Author Biography

Davina Sian Kirkpatrick, University of Plymouth

Davina Kirkpatrick is an artist, researcher and lecturer, utilising arts-based methods and serious play to explore topics including grief, loss, ageing and chronic pain. She is a visiting Research Fellow at the University of Plymouth, UK. She shares her life in Cornwall with a red dog. Website www.davinak.co.uk


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How to Cite

Kirkpatrick, D. S. (2020). Embodied Absence and Evoking the Ancestors: A Collaborative Encounter. Art/Research International: A Transdisciplinary Journal, 5(1), 129–148. https://doi.org/10.18432/ari29483