Performing Matter: Interior Surface and Feminist Actions by Julieanna Preston

Performing Matter inquires about the material constitution of interiors as sites of political protest and ethical exchange. By forwarding feminist agency and a concern for the emancipation of interiors and their surfaces, this work oscillates between practical aspects of building construction, material properties, making processes, and embodied knowledge concerning interior materiality and spatiality.

Dr Julieanna Preston is a spatial artist and designer working through sculptural objects, performative installations, interior interventions, building renovations and speculative furniture designs. Her projects are developed via a spatial-writing and transdisciplinary creative practice and have been exhibited at such events as the Arts Festival in Auckland and Whirlwinds, UCL, London. She has edited Interior Atmospheres (Architectural Design, 2008), Intimus: Interior Design Theory Reader (Wiley, 2006), Interior Economies (IDEA, 2012); and has published in Feminist Practices: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Women in Architecture (Ashgate, 2011) and After Taste: Expanded practice in Interior Design (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011). Julieanna teaches at the College of Creative Arts, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.

“Julieanna Preston captures and mobilises the vibrancy of interior life in a book of delightful wit and light strength of matter. Configured in four ‚suites‘, she shows the capacious interiors and spatial designs that a performative material practice enables for the contemporary designer. Throughout these performative acts, enriched conceptual, physical and digital transversal relationships are constructed, so that the design languages, materials, together with the traditional and advanced technologies available for use, resonate with poetic and ethical expressions of human and nonhuman life.“

Dr Peg Rawes, UCL Bartlett School of Architecture, London


Preston J., (2014) Performing Matter: Interior Surface and Feminist Actions, 212 pages, 19 x 24,5 cm, hardcover, numerous illustrations, ISBN 978-3-88778-412-6, English, 32.00 Euro, order here


In addition to the book we published  5 videos of the creative works discussed in the Performing Matter: Interior Surface and Feminist Actions:

SHEAR : SWELL is a video that explores the material relations between two major works oscillating between industrial and standard sheet goods and technological processes of ‘undoing’. It is associated with Chapter 1: The Yield Principle of Performing Matter: interior surface and feminist actions.


The video so not rehearses a performative installation Neutral, not so in an audio-visual form in an effort to refine voice, tone, enunciation and acoustic resonance with the room. It is aligned with Chapter 2: Voice Lessons.


The creative work LOW TACK/ LOW TECH/ HIGH TACT GLARE presented in Chapter 3: IN wildness is reinterpreted in a video entitled interior weather that explores the chronology of the colour saturated event overlaid with a textual record attempting to capture the moment-to-moment experience.


two too to surface is a video that reflects upon No Fixed Seating, a creative work identified in Chapter 4: making note(s) OF surface. The video focuses on the spatial and material qualities of thin plastic slip covers and their capacity to proliferate notions of Luce Irigaray’s text “The Mechinics of Fluids”.


room, wool, me, you is a video that shaped an analysis of BALE, a performative work expanded upon in Chapter 5: utter matter. Assuming a structure recognizing the four major actors in the performance, the video crafts a temporal fiction of events from multiple perspectives constructed from documentary footage.