Fiona Sprott, Flinders University, Australia
Nobody notices me. That’s kind of normal. Nobody really noticed Ellen either until she was gone.
In 1983 a young girl called Louise Bell mysteriously disappeared from her bedroom in an outer-lying suburb of Adelaide. This story became part of the tapestry of fragmentary memories of my own girlhood. I used Lacan’s Borromean knot model of the psyche as a tool to guide my creative research and ideas towards a contemporary performance text titled Last Seen Alive which strives to translate newspaper accounts, and personal memories of the story into a fictional text. What is the symbolic order of the story of a girl who mysteriously disappears from her bedroom one night? How to conjure the ghosts and monsters of the imaginary which populate the print media stories of Louise Bell’s disappearance? How to represent my encounter with the man currently suspected of murdering Louise?
In 1983 I was thirteen years of age and living in the small city of Adelaide, (capital of South Australia), when a news story broke about ten year old Louise Bell disappearing from her bedroom in the middle of the night. I was living in close proximity to Louise and perhaps for this reason her story had such a great impact upon me. In 2013 her case remains unsolved, her body never found. Louise became part of my girlhood. Her story inspires deep uneasiness at best, and visceral terror at worst. She has become a ghost that haunts my memories and imagination, gone but not forgotten. Gone where? I asked myself, how can I examine my relationship to Louise Bell as a public figure whose story became part of the tapestry of my own memories? How can I explore the fear her story embedded in me that still affects me today?
Using the Borromean Knot as a Dramatic Tool
Lacan proposes, “[w]e can extend analysis’ equations to certain human sciences that can utilize them—especially, as we shall see, to criminology—provided we perform the correct transformation.”[i] Here I attempt something similar, “rethinking” the use of psychoanalysis “in relation to a new object.”[ii] I ask how might Jacques Lacan apply his theory of the symbolic order, imaginary and the real as a dramatist working with the story of Louise Bell? How might he identify the three overlapping fields within her story? For the purpose of setting some parameters on my analysis I work with the collection of seminars and writings edited together for the 2002 edition of Ecrits, and The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book XI.
Source material for research are the editions of The Advertiser, the Sunday Mail and The News newspapers covering the years 1983, 1984, 1985 then those editions of 2011 covering the re-opening of Louise Bell’s case. I followed through in my creative writing by drawing upon memories from these same years which I translated into fictional monologues.
There are three layers to my psychoanalytic analysis. The first is interpreting the newspaper articles detailing the story of Louise Bell’s mysterious disappearance as a story in which the symbolic order, imaginary and real can be identified. The second layer examines my own memories of my girlhood into womanhood. In this second layer of analysis I seek an intersection where Louise’s story and my own overlap in order to locate the real or the dramatic nucleus of Last Seen Alive. The third layer translates the first two layers (her story and my own) into a fictional performance text incorporating written and visual material.
“Last Seen Alive”
For Last Seen Alive I write monologues for a character called Me, who is narrating her experience of fear and desire during girlhood, and into womanhood in relation to the story of another fictional girl called Ellen who has gone missing from her bedroom in the middle of the night. I wrote secondary monologues for four Others who embody characters that appear throughout the newspaper stories; The Troubled Priest, The Unreliable Witness, The Brokenhearted Detective and The Curious Criminologist. I appear on film as the character of Ellen, a fifteen year old school girl. I intended these monologues to be conceived of as an audio performance of disembodied voices speaking about Ellen who appears only as video footage in an empty house abandoned long ago, bearing the traces of a crime scene investigation. I wanted to invite audiences into a bodiless performance experience taking part in a non-theatrical space, in order to heighten the sense of the uncanny whereby what was once familiar as a family home is now unfamiliar.
In Last Seen Alive I ask whether the girl left her bedroom willingly, or was she forced out the window? I speculate upon the answer to this question through exploring my fictional scenario about Ellen, proposing that desire and fear are both forces at work upon the girl’s psyche and it is therefore possible she left through the window willingly with a predator she mistakenly thought of as desirable. A predator who had groomed her.
I propose a reading of the story of Louise Bell where the symbolic order is a crime scene as the ‘world’ of the story that the reader-as-subject is invited into, the identikit images, and photographs of an arrested man function as monsters of the imaginary, and the unseen, unknown predatory gaze at the bedroom window is the real as an abyss into which Louise has disappeared. An abyss which opens up at the point in time where a victim is last seen alive. An abyss where the missing girl is both dead and alive until her body is found.
I apply Lacan’s theory of the psyche being structured like a Borromean knot in which three rings representing the fields of the symbolic order, the imaginary and the real are interconnected in such a way that to break one ring is to disconnect all three. This approach I take in lieu of using a more familiar narrative structure such as the three-act model which presents a story in linear, chronological progression from beginning to middle, crisis, then final resolution. As a guiding principle the progression of narrative for Last Seen Alive is one which circles a hidden truth rather than moving forward in time in chronological order. The story of Louise Bell is a search (for her body, for the abductor, for answers) which has yet to conclude. I mirror this searching and not-finding through writing and filming random fragments as memories in the hope of discovering a hidden truth.
The Symbolic Order
Of the symbolic order Lacan says it is the “order whose mass supports” the subject “and welcomes him in the form of language, and superimposes determination by the signifier”.[iii] He suggests that “if man comes to think about the symbolic order, it is because he is first caught in it in his being” and “he has only been able to make this entrance” into the symbolic order “through the radical defile of speech” exemplified “each time the subject addresses the Other as absolute … making himself into an object in order to deceive the Other.”[iv] The symbolic order is language driven and pre-exists. We, as subjects, are born into this pre-existing language which defines us and constructs us.
Those who write for the newspaper determine the symbolic order into which I, the reader, enter. How is Louise positioned in this symbolic order created by the newspaper reports as an object in relation to the Other? In determining the world of the story of Louise Bell, how do I determine the fictional world of Last Seen Alive? I decided that the symbolic order for the story of Louise Bell is a mystery, a crime to be solved, an investigation into a criminal event which has taken place in the Bell family home.
In the story of Louise Bell the house functions symbolically in two distinct ways. Initially the house is presented as a family home inhabited by the Bell family until Louise mysteriously disappears. At the point at which Louise is removed from the family home, the house then functions symbolically as a crime scene. This transformation of the family home into a crime scene renders the house uncanny. What was once familiar is now strange.
The uncanny house has been rendered so by the presence of a predatory gaze. The missing girl is assumed to have fallen prey to this predatory gaze embodied by a criminal. The Other for the subject in the story of Louise Bell then, is a predator. Louise is objectified as the child-victim of the predator in a story about a child being taken from a family home. The predatory gaze is located at the bedroom window through which the girl is assumed to have disappeared. Lacan presents an idea that the darkened window of the house suggests the presence of an Other who watches. From this darkened window one becomes aware of the Lacanian gaze.[v]
When the case was re-opened in 2011, the Sunday Mail ran a report which suggested there “are perhaps just a handful of crimes etched in the memory of South Australians. The abduction of 10-year-old Louise Bell is one of them.” The article mentions that Louise “wasn’t taken from a public place; she was snatched from her bedroom … still wearing her pyjamas” and goes on to point out that “[T]hankfully, it remains the only abduction of its type in suburban Adelaide … carried out so audaciously.”[vi] The suggestion is because the girl was taken from her own home, and “no trace of the schoolgirl has ever been found,” this case has etched itself as a lasting memory for South Australians.
Gaston Bachelard suggests that a “house constitutes a body of images that give mankind proofs or illusions of stability.”[vii] He casts the house in the role of the “non-I that protects the I,” an interior space without which “man would be a dispersed being. It maintains him through the storms of the heavens and through those of life.”[viii] It operates both as a physical structure and an imaginary phantasy space into which a subject projects their desires, and in which “our memories are housed”.[ix]
As a symbol, the house can evoke memories of ‘my’ house or ‘your’ house. I hear of a girl taken from a house down the street and her house becomes my house in my own mind, because of the symbolic likenesses between her and I, and between her house and mine. We are of the same age, living in similar kinds of houses in the same area therefore what differentiates her from me? Her home from mine? Not able to determine differences of any real significance I arrive at the conclusion that home is no longer safe for a girl like her, like me; for girls like us. Lying in my own bedroom at night alone in 1983, my house now feels different. The darkened bedroom window becomes vaguely terrifying. Lacan says that, “all that is necessary is for something to signify to me that there may be others there” is a “window if it gets a bit dark, and if I have reasons for thinking that there is someone behind it, is straightaway a gaze.”[x] The gaze at the bedroom window is predatory, carrying with it the threat of an encounter with an abyss into which one can disappear, like Louise did.
The role of the detective is to interpret the clues left in the wake of the crime but as for the analyst working with a patient, interpretation “cannot be bent to any meaning” for a crime scene “designates only a single series of signifiers.”[xi]Around a crime scene “the subject may in effect occupy various places, depending on whether one places him under one or other of these signifiers.”[xii] In the story of Louise Bell, the subject positions around the crime scene are detective, criminal and victim.
It is the role of the detective to perform an exhaustive search for evidence. Anthony Vidler, writing on the subject of anxiety and architecture in modern culture suggests that the process of crime scene investigation itself actually exhausts space by reading Lacan’s essay on Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Purloined Letter”,
Poe’s spatial field of crime scenes is, in a similar sense, three-dimensional; both the map constructed by the police search and the map of the displaced, purloined letter are construed in space and time …
The poetics of crime and its revelation transform the geometrical space of rational detection into a knot of abyssal proportions.[xiii]
The purloined letter is hidden in plain sight, but remains undetected despite an exhaustive search for it until the detective finds it, “in full view hanging from the mantleshelf” for he has already deduced that the evidence was placed “in full view so as to hide it from those who would think it hidden”.[xiv] Similarly the detective investigating the case of Louise Bell reveals a suspect was living near the missing girl’s home, also hidden in plain view. Lacan describes three gazes at work in Poe’s detective story illustrating his point with “the technique legendarily attributed to the ostrich when it seeks shelter from danger … as it is here among three partners, the second believing himself invisible because the first has his head stuck in the sand, all the while letting the third calmly pluck his rear.”[xv] In the story of Louise Bell, the detective is calmly awaiting his opportunity to pluck the rear, so to speak, of the suspect who believes himself to be invisible (assuming the community and police have their heads stuck in the sand).
In Last Seen Alive the character of Me refers to a suspect hidden in full view of the student body of her school. I create a fictional teacher who is arrested for the abduction and murder of Ellen but is later released due to failure of the evidence to stand up to scrutiny in a court of law. I explore the ways in which the teacher reveals his guilt in subtle ways that only make sense in hindsight. For the character of Me her teacher is simply a figure standing in the periphery of her vision as her main focus is upon a student called James whom she has a crush on. Her ordinary world of girlhood desire is impacted upon by a crime narrative featuring a suspect hiding in plain sight. In the symbolic order he is signifying as a teacher, but this is a surface illusion. Where the imaginary impacts upon the symbolic order we have the surface illusions and deceptive images which lure the gaze away from the real, from the truth.
I liken the predatory criminal as represented in the newspaper stories to the mythical bogeyman. Marina Warner, in her study of the history of the bogeyman writes,
Child-stealers, night-raiders, cradle snatchers: they inspired a rich and sinister body of tales that had every appearance of medieval and superstitious primitiveness, but continued to be retold at the height of the Enlightenment. […] The unfamiliar in every aspect moulds the phantom, and so, like witches, bogeys are crooked or moley or warty, or they limp or suffer other unusual physical traits …[xvi]
Bogeymen, Stephen Krensky asserts, are sometimes “said to take human form”[xvii] and he goes on to explain for his readers that,
Bogeymen are said to be dangerous. They are always evil, bad and hateful. […] He is aggressive. Bogeymen do not need to know their victims. They don’t need a special reason to attack. They are said to do it because they can. […] They move silently through the underbrush or into people’s bedrooms.[xviii]
The bogeyman is an imaginary figure representing the unknown or unidentified predator who steals children from their bedrooms. Edward J Ingebretson, in looking at the role of monstrosity and the rhetoric of fear in society argues that monsters “teach us who we are and how we are to live.”[xix] They are symbolic of what we are not to be or become. Krensky suggests the bogeyman is “a scary creature that doesn’t fit into any neat and tidy category.”[xx] The bogeyman is constructed as a symbolic monstrous figure that steals naughty children away to an abyss where they are never seen again. This monster teaches us, as children, to behave otherwise we might be targeted by the bogeyman. When looking at the figure of the criminal who abducts children from their bedrooms in the middle of the night the bogeyman is the fictional embodiment of the predatory gaze at the darkened bedroom window.
The monster offers up a place for the real to operate as a phantasy, as Lacan suggests:
The place of the real, which stretches from the trauma to the phantasy–in so far as the phantasy is never anything more than the screen that conceals something quite primary […] The real has to be sought beyond the dream–in what the dream has enveloped, hidden from us …[xxi]
The monster is an effigy of the real upon which we can project our deepest fears; it is that something we put between ourselves and the abyss, the void that opens up at the location where a victim is last seen alive. The criminal monster acts as a screen upon which is projected a phantasy of an Other who is not-right, not like the rest of society.
In Last Seen Alive the character of Me talks about a presence she can hear breathing in her bedroom late at night, once the lights are turned out. This monster appears as a stand-in for the unknown sexual predator who has taken Ellen from her bedroom, across the road. As the character of Me experiences an increasing intensity of sexual awakening for the boy she has a crush on, the presence of this monster breathing in the dark of her bedroom at night escalates to such a degree that it climbs into bed with her and wakes her up. This monster in Last Seen Alive is a manifestation of the tensions between the forces of desire and fear acting upon the psyche of the character of Me. The bogeyman is a story about what happens to children who are naughty, but the sexual predator (criminal) who also abducts children and takes them away targets innocent children. Louise Bell is presented as innocent against the man accused of her abduction and murder referred to having committed a “sinister and audacious act.”[xxii]
The bogeyman operates within the symbolic order as an imago. Lacan suggests, “the first delineation of the imaginary, whose letters associated with those of the symbolic and the real, will decorate…the pots—that are forever empty, since they are all so symbolic.”[xxiii] In other words there is no real monster, no actual bogeyman that exists, rather this monster is pure imaginary, all surface illusion. Sexual predators who target children however are real and are named in the symbolic order as criminals, constructed by and through the laws which govern a society. Lacan asserts that “[N]either crime nor criminals are objects that can be conceptualized apart from their sociological context.” Criminals are transformed into monsters through the ways in which the story of their crime is told. “Every society, lastly, manifests the relationship between crime and law by punishments whose infliction, regardless of the form it takes, requires subjective assent.” A criminal is an Other to the law, and to society-at-large. Those who perform criminal acts do so knowingly embracing their role as criminal Other, risking the punishment that will be inflicted upon them if they are caught.
On 12 March 1983 The Advertiser ran a story about a potential suspect with an identikit image representing “a likeness of the man police want to speak to in connection with the abduction of Louise Bell”. The birth of a criminal monster begins with such images of ‘likenesses’ compiled from “information given by a witness”.[xxiv] Witnesses memories are subjective though, and can be unreliable because, as Dylan Trigg suggests, “[W]e never experience an image directly because the same image is altered by the creative imagination”[xxv] as it is recalled. He goes on to suggest, “the interplay between memory and imagination […] precludes the witnessing of memory, and renders the imagination the guiding agent”.[xxvi]A man “between 20 and 30, 183 centimetres (six feet) tall, with blond collar length hair, clean shaven, athletic build” is described and an identikit image of a face pieced together from a jigsaw puzzle of facial features is presented to the public.[xxvii] The identikit image is drawn from and though the imaginary seeking a likeness to a real man who exists in the symbolic order. He is all image, only image at this stage. A potential man conjured from the intersection of memory and imagination of a witness. The article goes on to set up a juxtaposition of Geesing as a ‘bad’ man against witness testimonies that Louise was a “shy, quiet, well-liked, pleasant, eager to please” child. In Last Seen Alive I write monologues for The Unreliable Witness who might recall seeing a suspicious figure, and The Troubled Priest who offers himself as a mediator between the evil monster and the family of the missing girl. Both characters attempt to narrate the criminal monster but fail, instead revealing their own monstrous desires.
On the front page of The News on 14 December 1984 a story announcing “Geesing Guilty” features photographs which depict him as wild-eyed, bearded, and mean looking, bordering on resembling a madman, against a photograph of Louise Bell, smiling at the camera, the tragic figure of an innocent girl robbed of her life (by the monstrous Geesing).[xxviii] The girl’s innocence is in part constructed through the use of such an unflattering photograph of Geesing and likewise the criminal other becomes more monstrous through this juxtaposition of images. Desire is relegated entirely to the predator. Monstrous desire positioned against the innocent child-without-desire.
Lacan writes of desire, “it is in the Other that the subject is constituted as ideal, that he has to regulate the completion of what comes as ego, or ideal ego […] to constitute himself in his imaginary reality.”[xxix] He goes on to expand,
But, certainly, it is in the space of the Other that he sees himself and the point from which he looks at himself is also in that space. Now, this is also the point from which he speaks, since in so far as he speaks, it is in the locus of the Other that he begins to constitute that truthful lie by which is initiated that which participates in desire at the level of the unconscious.[xxx]
In Last Seen Alive Ellen only ever appears to the audience through the gaze of the Other who is watching her through a camera lens. At times it is clear that Ellen is aware of the camera, as she looks directly into the lens. She knows she is being watched, and performs her ideal self for the Other. She plays with the very predatory gaze that will erase her from the symbolic order and hide her in the real. Lacan suggests, “[T]he true aim of desire is the other, as constrained, beyond his involvement in the scene. It is not only the victim who is concerned in exhibitionism, it is the victim referred to some other who is looking at him.”[xxxi] What part, I ask, does desire of the child-victim play in the story of a girl taken from her bedroom window?
Lacan proposes that the real is that which is hidden from view and that which a subject unconsciously keeps returning to “as if by chance”.[xxxii] In Last Seen Alive the character of Me eventually reveals a hidden truth about her relationship to the missing girl Ellen. She confesses that she saw Ellen leaving through the bedroom window the night she went missing. The revelation that the character of Me watched a crime being committed and never told is her real. It is why the character of Me is stuck, obsessing about Ellen because she was the last person to see Ellen alive and she has been keeping this a secret. It is this memory that the character of Me is circling, making her ways towards.
The real is described by Lacan as being “between perception and consciousness” and he goes on to discuss the real as the noise that pulls the dreamer awake from a dream. He describes his own dream during which a “knocking occurs, not in my perception, but in my consciousness” wherein “my consciousness reconstitutes itself around this representation” and he becomes aware that he is “waking up”. Lacan poses the question, “What is it that wakes the sleeper? Is it not, in the dream, another reality?”[xxxiii] The story of a father who has fallen asleep in one room, while his son is burned to death in the room next door is borrowed by Lacan from Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams to further explain the real as being of another reality, that hints at the truth. The father dreams his son is trying to wake him, asking “Father, can’t you see that I am burning?”[xxxiv] Lacan suggests the dream is “essentially […] an act of homage to the missed reality” of waking up and saving the child from burning alive, “a reality that can no longer produce itself except by repeating itself endlessly, in some never attained awakening.”[xxxv] The missed encounter (with the real boy) “forever missed, has occurred between dream and awakening.”[xxxvi] The encounter with the real exists where the truth lies; the son was literally burning in his bed and died. The dream repeats itself because the dreamer did not wake up in time to save his son. In the way that the open window of Louise Bell’s bedroom points to a missed encounter, a failure on the part of anybody to wake up and stop the events that caused Louise to disappear. For the character of Me the missed encounter was not intervening in Ellen’s departure from her bedroom, and then not telling her parents, the police, a friend, anybody who might have used the information to good outcome.
In a performance context, the real would be that which is hidden between the lines, so to speak. The performance itself is a phantasy. The real presents in the gaps where what is hidden in the performance is revealed. The real erupts in the moments of surprise, where an audience find unexpected meaning in the performance, or are brought to a visceral response which cannot be articulated, only felt; for example the kind of silence where ‘you could hear a pin drop’. I cannot produce the real, it must be discovered by chance. It is that which the performance does not knowingly achieve, but rather that which is revealed to be present by the audience, demonstrated in the ways they are responding. The audience must discover the real for themselves, and not every audience member will experience an encounter with the real during a performance. One could represent a traumatic event or encounter, but that is merely representation, not a genuine experience of the real. It is the difference between telling an audience member they should be feeling scared or joyful and their feeling either for themselves. I invite my audience into an abandoned house where they encounter the ghostly images of a missing girl, and are filmed by the predatory gaze at the bedroom window, something they do not discover until the final moments. Perhaps it is then, when they realise they are the real performer of Last Seen Alive that they will encounter the real.
[i] Lacan, J. Ecrits. W W Norton & Company, New York, London, 2006 (English trans), p 128.
[ii] Lacan, J, p 126.
[iii] Lacan, J, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. P 35.
[iv] Lacan, J, p 40.
[v] Lacan, J. The Seminar, Book I: Freud’s Papers on Technique. 1953-1954. Norton, New York, 1988, p 215.
[vi] Hunt, N. “Louise Twist”, Sunday Mail, 9 October, 2011, p 5.
[vii] Bachelard, G. The Poetics of Space. Beacon Press, USA, 1969, p 4.
[viii] Bachelard, G, p 7.
[ix] Bachelard, G, p 8.
[x] Lacan, J. The Seminar, Book I: Freud’s Papers on Technique. 1953-1954. Norton, New York, 1988, p 215.
[xi] Lacan, J, p 207.
[xii] Lacan, J, p 207.
[xiii] Vidler, A. Warped Space.Art, Architecture, and Anxiety in Modern Culture. MIT Press, USA, 2001, p 128.
[xiv] Vidler, A, p 126.
[xv] Lacan, J. Ecrits. P 10.
[xvi] Warner, M. No Go, the Bogeyman: Scaring, Lulling, and Mock. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, USA, 1998, p 25.
[xvii] Krensky, S. The Bogeyman: Monster Chronicles. Lancer Publication Company, Minneapolis, USA, 2008, p 7.
[xviii] Krensky, S, p 8.
[xix] Ingebretson, E J. At Stake: Monsters and the Rhetoric of Fear in Public Culture. The University of Chicago Press, US, 2001, p 155.
[xx] Krensky, S, p 7.
[xxi] Lacan, J. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanaluysis. P 60.
[xxii] Hunt, N. “Louise Twist”, Sunday Mail, 9 October 2011, p 5.
[xxiii] Lacan, J. Ecrits. P 54.
[xxiv] Ball, R. “Louise Bell: Police seeking this man”, The Advertiser, 12 March 1983, p?
[xxv] Trigg, D. The Memory of Place. A Phenomenology of the Uncanny. Ohio University Press, US, 2012, p 67.
[xxvi] Trigg, D, p 67.
[xxvii] Ball, R. “Louise Bel: Police seeking this man”, The Advertiser, March 12, 1983, p?
[xxviii] The News. 14 December 1984, p 2. The photograph of Geesing is dominant, and larger than that of Louise.
[xxix] Lacan, J. Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. P 144.
[xxx] Lacan, J, p 144.
[xxxi] Lacan, J, p 183.
[xxxii] Lacan, J, p 54. Italics in original.
[xxxiii] Lacan, J, p 56. Italics in original.
[xxxiv] Lacan, J, p 34
[xxxv] Lacan, J, p 58.
[xxxvi] Lacan, J, p 56.
Bachelard, G. The Poetics of Space. Beacon Press: USA, 1969.
Ball, R. “Louise Bel: Police seeking this man”, The Advertiser, March 12, 1983.
Hunt, N. “Louise Twist”, Sunday Mail, 9 October 2011.
Ingebretson, E. At Stake: Monsters and the Rhetoric of Fear in Public Culture. London : The University of Chicago Press, 2001.
Lacan, J. Ecrits. New York, London: W W Norton & Company, 2006.
_______. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. New York, London: W W Norton & Company, 1998.
_______. The Seminar, Book I: Freud’s Papers on Technique. 1953-1954. New York: Norton, 1988.
Trigg, D. The Memory of Place. A Phenomenology of the Uncanny. US: Ohio University Press, 2012.
Vidler, A. Warped Space: Art, Architecture and Anxiety in Modern Culture. The MIT Press, 2001.
Warner, M. No Go, the Bogeyman: Scaring, Lulling, and Mock. USA: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.
Fiona Sprott is an established writer of twenty years, in the fields of live performance, screen-based projects with Unreasonable Films, and more recently has moved into professional screenwriting. She holds a Masters Degree in Creative Arts, and is currently enrolled in a Doctor of Philosophy with Flinders University working on an interdisciplinary research project with both the Drama Department and School of Law. Her artistic and academic practice is heavily invested in contemporary forms, provocation and risk producing contemporary work for multiple platforms–live performance, gallery installation, and a suite of short films, and online projects interacting with audience. She has also worked with a number of youth theatre companies in South Australia, as well as writing a successful TYP show, “Eager to Breathe” for Budgie Lung Theatre Company as part of a Come Out Festival commission in 2003.