BACK LANE WEST is a non-profit, artist led, residency, project, and meeting space in Redruth, Cornwall. Its aims are to support and encourage critically engaged contemporary art practice and artists' professional development, while contributing to the growth of a regionally, nationally and internationally connected, open cultural community and network in the South West.

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Jacqui Orly --------La Petite Mort

We are so pleased to be able to welcome Jacqui Orly back to Back Lane West for this July 2016 residency, where she will be further exploring and presenting her experimental, deeply engaging, and ambitious performance work.

Open evening event and performance
Saturday 30th July 2016
6.30-8.30 - performance 7pm

La Petite Mort is a performance and installation involving the use of varied materials: ice, fire, wood, crab shells, a printer, domestic appliances, plastic bottles, a duvet, crude oil, soil & plants.


La petite mort (the little death) is an expression which means "the brief loss or weakening of consciousness", and in modern usage refers specifically to "the sensation of orgasm as likened to death".

The first attested use of the expression in English was in 1572 with the meaning of "fainting fit". It later came to mean "nervous spasm" as well. The first attested use with the meaning of "orgasm" was only in 1882. In modern usage, this term has generally been interpreted to describe the post-orgasmic state of unconsciousness that some people have after having some sexual experiences.

More widely, it can refer to the spiritual release that comes with orgasm or to a short period of melancholy or transcendence as a result of the expenditure of the "life force". Literary critic Roland Barthes spoke of la petite mort as the chief objective of reading literature, the feeling one should get when experiencing any great literature.