Thomas John Bacon is an artist whose work focuses upon the conception of the body, Being and the idea of a multiplicity of Self/s in performance. His work can be located within the framework of performance art and philosophical/phenomenological investigations that look to de/construct and challenge perception, alongside the assumed liminal barriers of body-based art.
He creates artworks that capture an altered space, environment, or period of time that regardless of scale, will often make intense, sometimes visceral, beautiful pieces that place the body in extremis.
Thomas has been exhibiting his solo practice since 2001 and internationally since 2009 particularly through Europe and East-coast USA. He is also the artistic director of of the festival of international performance art and noise art called, Tempting Failure.
In 2014 The British Library selected this website for their permanent archive. In 2016, his company Tempting Failure was invited to become a core member of Live Art UK.
Thomas has been a qualified lecturer since 2007 and is committed to the creative exchange between both practice and research methdologies that occur within his own output and those through his undergraduate and post-graduate teaching. He is also active within forms of education pedagogy standardisation working as an External Examiner currently for Sheffield Hallum University and previously with University of Highlands and Islands and on degree reviews both within Middlesex and externally at Southampton Solent University.
His teaching is distinguished by its range of scope and approach. He works with students across contemporary and historical performance making, integrating theoretical, philosophical and critical approaches to the study of performance. Thomas often explores experimental forms of engagement, expanding upon current industry methodologies and traditional practices through studio praxis.
Specialist teaching interests:
General teaching and learning interests:
Thomas has supervised and examined a range of research and degree students. He invites potential students, whether considering MPhil or PhD, to discuss proposals for study in areas related to his own research and specialist teaching interests, including Practice as Research projects.
Thomas John Bacon's main focus is upon novel applications of phenomenology to the study of performance art, specifically body art, a form which has undergone limited phenomenological analysis in existing scholarship. Analysing the Being of the performance artist in the process of performative action, where the material is their own, “lived body” (Merleau-Ponty 2002), focusing on how their presence is perceived, produced and experienced through spectator, space, and artist.
This is underpinned by key phenomenological theories from Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1968, 2002), considering embodied performing and spectating experientially. With additional insight from Martin Heidegger’s theories (2009a, 2009b), Thomas John Bacon proposes that a multiplicity of Self/s are perceived through an investment in physical, psychological or aesthetic risk.
Practice as Research:
Knowledge transfer is vital to the work he undertakes and he is always engaged with considering new ways to impart information to students, professionals and peer scholars. The following are a selection of practice-as-research projects, exhibitions, residencies or performances:
Further information on Thomas John Bacon's practice can be found at:
Conferences & Speaking Engagements:
Publications - peer reviewed journals
Funding and Awards
I have extensive experience of delivering successfully, large scale projects and drawing both public and private funding, awards, and in-kind support. Each project is completed to a high level, and reported on through extensive data reflection and evaluation. Some of the most recent public funds I have been awarded include:
2018 - Grants for the Arts received for TF18 from Arts Council England
2018 - Croydon Cultural Partnership Funding for TF18
2016 - Grants for the Arts received for TF2016 from Arts Council England
2015 - Grants for the Arts received for SND2015 from Arts Council England & Latitude Festival.
2014 - Grants for the Arts received for TF2014 from Arts Council England
Other Industry Experience:
What if a plane falls out of the sky? (Consultant Artist) by Idiot Child; UK Tour, 2017
Thomas John Bacon Masterclass - LSBU, London, 2016
Artist Mentor to Alethea Raban, UK, 2014
Requiem (Director) - Olympus Theatre, Bristol, 2013
5 Day Failure Workshop (Leader) - The Island, Bristol, 2013
The Failed Method (Director) - Olympus Theatre, Bristol, 2012
Mountain Language & New World Order (Director) by Harold Pinter - Taylor Theatre, Gloucestershire, 2012
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Director) by William Shakespeare - Llanthony Priory, 2012
Polar Bears (Director) by Mark Haddon - in aid of the charity Mind, 2011
Phaedra’s Love (Director) by Sarah Kane - Taylor Theatre, Gloucestershire, 2010
100 (Director) by Christopher Heimann - Taylor Theatre, Gloucestershire, 2009
Celebration (Director) by Harold Pinter - Taylor Theatre, Gloucestershire, 2008
Products of Conception II (SilverSmith Dance), Nightingale Theatre, Brighton, 2008
[meditation] - Wired Up Festival, London, 2007
the abject scream - Whitechapel Gallery; London, 2007
avarice + envy - Fuck the Back Row Festival; Camden, London 2007
Products of Conception II (Dir. Lorraine Smith), Laban, London, 2008
pi (version 3) - Battersea Arts Centre; London, 2006
Frightened Ones (Dresden Dolls Tour) - Cambridge Junction; Cambridge, 2006
The Keeper (Dresden Dolls Tour) - The Astoria; London, 2006
Club Class (FrenchMottershead) - Tate Modern, London, 2006
where did all the colour go? - Goldsmiths, London, 2005
Forest of Shadows - Chisenhale Dance Space, London, 2005
Deep End (Dir. Geraldine Pilgrim for Corridor) - Marshall Street Baths; London, 2005
what AKTION - site specific: Islington, London, 2003
wounDED, East End Collaborations Platform; QMUL, London, 2002
Abjection Monologues & WOTSpring - site specific: Tower Hamlets, London, 2001
2016 - ‘Top Pick by Thomas John Bacon, Artistic Director Tempting Failure 2016,’ This is Unbound, Live Art Development Agency
2016 - ‘Richard Herring on Tempting Failure,’ The Metro
2016 - ‘Tempting us to the Edge of Art,’ Angela Martin, Croydonist
2016 - ‘Tempting Failure: London’s performance art festival where something is bound to go wrong,’ Bridget Galton, Islington Gazette
2016 - ‘Challenging Spaces: Access and Performance Art – A roundtable discussion at Tempting Failure festival,’ Nina Muehlemann, Disability Arts Online
2016 - Interviewed for Croydon Radio Art Show
2016 - ‘Coverage of TF2016’, Incident Magazine, New York
2014 - ‘Interview with Thomas John Bacon’ Don’t Panic Online
2014 - ‘Theatre of Risk,’ FK Alexander, Exeunt Magazine
2014 - ‘Diana Damian Martin in conversation with Thomas John Bacon,’ Exeunt Magazine
2014 - ‘My Bristol favourites: Thomas John Bacon,’ B24/7
2014 - Interviewed for BCFM Art Show
2014 - Interviewed for BBC Radio Bristol
2014 - ‘What makes a great theatre festival?,’ Lyn Gardner, The Guardian
2011-2014 - Total Theatre Review, University of Winchester
2012 - ‘Why aren’t people writing about theatre in the south west?,’ Nom De Strip, Plymouth University
2005-2008 - Neo Magazine, Uncooked Media Ltd
2005 - Little White Lies, TCO London Publishing
2004 - The Face, EMAP
2003 - Empire Magazine, Bauer Media
2003-2004 - Front Magazine, Pocket Media
2001-2003 - Virgin Student Film Channel, Virgin (sub-editor)