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Rachel Holmes

Research project: The Body without Identity


Utilizing Georges Bataille's notion of expenditure to conceptualize "the body without identity" as something porous and pliable. Investigating how it appears in ritualistic practice, performance and contagious states such as trance and laughter. Thereby developing a theory of being in space and what it means to inhabit a symbolic environment mapped through experience or "story". Considering how this "body without identity" re-configures the embodiment of symbolic orders, and rescues transformative possibility.


My research interests are informed by my academic background in philosophy and practices with visual arts, performance and creative writing. In 2018-2019 I developed the Nordic network of performance art "Speaking Bodies" with funding from Nordic Culture Fund and Nordic Culture Point.  I have also presented the exhibitions "AM I REAL YET" (2018) and "Odyssey: through dreams, dimensions and capoeira" (2019) investigating the migration of the body (as doll) through dreamtime. In 2016 I completed an artistic residency at Cyprus College of Art, resulting in a performance of The Bacchae following my masters' thesis entitled "Paradox: The Tragic Problem". 

My writing has been published in journals such as Litro (London), The Catacombic Machine (Stockholm), Kunstportal (Nordic), RCAP (UK) and Squawk Back (New York). I am currently writing creatively for SNICKS AB, have been employed as Arts & Theatre Editor at The Metropolist (2014-2016) and taught visual arts from 2016-2018. 

Areas of research interest

  • Georges Bataille
  • Performance and ritual
  • Embodiment and materialism
  • Theories of the Sacred


  • MRes: Art, Theoy & Philosophy (Distinction) from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
  • BSc: Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method (Honours) from London School of Economics

Funding or awards received

  • TECHNE studentship for doctoral study
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