A Navigation by Mary Paterson

As writer in residence at the Live Art Development Agency between 2009 and 2010 Mary Paterson used Unbound as a tool and a provocation to explore the relationships between live art and its audiences, documentation and representations.  The residency resulted in the text A Navigation Through Unbound which draws on the resources available on Unbound, and comments collected from site visitors through an online user survey in June 2009.

The text is designed to be read creatively – you may choose to read it from start to finish, or by following the non-linear links inside the text, or as an introduction to the resources on Unbound, or by any other method. "Read this text paragraph by paragraph; and/ or line by line; and/ or one word at a time, chosen by accident. Think of this text as a series of memories that make an identity (but not an argument). It is made up of memories and quotes from the material of Unbound and some of its readers.” (Mary Paterson)

Responses from the Unbound user survey to the question ‘What is Unbound?’:

‘The best resource for all things live art.’

‘Unbound is art untied, unlimited, un-not-allowed-to-say-that-or-do-that-because-it's-politically-incorrect-ed. No restrictions. The supplier of knowledge to me, an overshielded over protected hybrid catholic child, who treads unfamiliar ground and embraces every step.’

‘a window out of suburbia’

‘An online shop with a curated collection focused on Live Art with great stuff you wouldn't find anywhere else very easily.’

‘Access to the most exciting and provocative ideas and images in contemporary culture‘

Download the full PDF of A Navigation Through Unbound by Mary Paterson.

‘An online bookshop from the Live Art Development Agency that offers relevant, and engaging resources for practitioners, artists and academics/students at a reasonable price.’

‘Unbound is an online store selling books, dvd's and other publications related to live art, performance and theatre. It is to my knowledge the only place on the internet which bring together this sort of material - related to live art, performance and theatre - in one place.’

‘Unbound is an online source for books and artifacts on the subject of Live Art/Performance Art. It is also a source of information regarding the type of texts, authors & practitioners that are important to the art form i.e. those that are in publication. It is a gateway for students into the world of Live Art/Performance Art and indicates seminal texts students should be reading in their research.’

‘An effervescent look at the equally effervescent practice of performativity...it spotlights the overlaps and prismatic nature of its subject...it divulges recommendations...tempts us into purchases...engenders and elasticates our knowledge and appreciation of its impact on life.’

‘A book shop with books and things of which I want one of each. I know this, even before I visit the site. The site never fails to diminish this idea.’.

‘A place were books become personal again , a place were i feel its possible to find what you have been looking for. a place i feel part of.’

‘The place for finding the books that The Live Art Development Agency value (The Live Art Development Agency's got pretty good taste).’

‘Very precise guide through Live Art reference connected material patiently assorted carefully selected accurately described pleasantly offered nicely wrapped rapidly dispached and briskly delivered to door at unbeatable prices. A Live Art Fan must.’

‘Access to the most exciting and provocative ideas and images in contemporary culture. A website that offers beautiful objects filled with inspirational items. I wish I owned them all!’

‘Unbound reminds me of one of those old-fashion, little book shops that unfortunately have almost disappeared. they were usually highly specialized, not necessarily (almost never) mainstream-oriented, run by passionate people for passionate people. There u could find simply everything relevant written on 'that' subject. One could spend hours discussing that particular book/work with the shop keeper and go away with the feeling that selling books for them -or records, or artworks, or...- was primarily an act of dissemination. I think the selection found on Unbound is very interesting and can be very useful for a reflection upon the concept of performance in art/life, what live art is, has been and can be in the future.’


Mary Paterson is a writer and producer. She was part of Live Art UK’s ‘Writing from Live Art’ (2006 – 2008) and is one of the founding members of the writing collaboration Open Dialogues. Define: Paterson, ‘American Revolutionary leader (born in Ireland) who was a member of the Constitutional Convention (1745-1806)’ (www.google.co.uk, Sunday 1st August 2010). Mary Paterson explores writing from, on and as performance.