James Macpherson: Walking the tightrope between academia and outdoor arts since 1989

I am an outdoor arts professional with over 30 years experience. My company, Artizani has been Arts Council England funded and works all over the world. I hold a PhD in contemporary UK outdoor arts in which I used Rhythmanalysis to investigate the relationships between performance, audience and space. And yes, that’s me walking the tightrope.

Rhythmanalysis is a methodology proposed by Henri Lefebvre which analyses social behaviours using a combined time/space lens to understand the complex ‘symphony’ of rhythms present in everyday life. These include bodily rhythms, cosmic rhythms (such as  day/night) as well as socially constructed rhythms such as work, leisure and consumption.

‘If one observes a crowd attentively at peak times, and especially if one listens to its murmur, one will discern in the apparent disorder currents and order that reveal themselves through rhythms’ (Lefebvre, 2004: 95)

The practical relevance of this work is to aid understanding of how audiences relate to outdoor arts events and how these events might be repurposing social-space and social-time. I use time-lapse videography as the main tool for documenting and identifying these complex rhythms combined with the multi-sensory observations of an embedded, expert researcher.

To register interest in the project and receive updates please fill in this short survey: Rhythmanalysis Survey or contact me directly:


Tel. 07770300907

Twitter. @ArtizaniUK

Email: info@artizani.net