Recently landed: Walking on Clouds, Gracia's written response to Chunky Move's Anti-Gravity, Nat Cursio's Tiny Slopes, and Lucy Guerin's Split, three performances presented as part of Dance Massive, for Fjord Review
The Bureau of Meteorology La Trobe St. Weather Station, near to the Carlton Gardens, has always intrigued me. A triangular wedge of fenced-off green on the city’s fringe, it looks like an art installation or a performance space. With a tiny garden shed, and unfamiliar equipment to measure climatic changes and patterns neatly dotted and connected by pathways, it is not so unlike the world Chunky Move’s Anouk van Dijk and Singaporean artist and filmmaker, Ho Tzu Nyen, have set up for their collaborative work, Anti-Gravity.
Presented as part of the Asia Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts and Dance Massive 2017, the stage is an ordered maze of forms that are familiar but whose role is ambiguous. The business of forecasting sounds and looks poetic, but it is serious stuff. Wind measurements, temperature, humidity, and precipitation are all recorded by tiny, unassuming sculptures that appear in need only of an artists’ statement. Working with clouds has the air of romance, to me, and in literature, dance, and art too, but I suspect that it is the data not the tools and their subjects that must interest those who chart meteorological quantities.
3, 2, 1, go.
Beyoncé ‘borrows’ moves from the Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. She duplicates De Keersmaeker’s Rosas Danst Rosas (1983) in her 2011 clip Countdown. It isn’t plagiarism; it’s homage, it’s a tribute, darling. Besides, what’s original anyway?
Revamped. Resampled. Reconfigured. Influenced by. What’s mine is yours. Following in the footsteps of the dance pioneers. Patti Smith rolls her head back, looks direct to camera: ‘anything is possible.’ History, it’s in my veins. Who’s following whom? Who founded what? Origin or original? Hey, what does it matter anyway?
DADA gave birth to the Situationist International gave birth to punk. No, Valeska Gert gave birth to punk. She did, didn’t she? She who danced “traffic jams, car accidents, slow movie cuts, boxers, babies, orgasms, and most radically, nothing. . . . [She who] managed to put conceptual brackets around “nothing” some thirty years before John Cage would compose his “groundbreaking” silent piece, “4’33.”” She was proto punk, born in 1892.
Modern dance is constantly evolving, absorbing what came before it, moulding what is present and pushing towards what is to come. An exploration of the self, of humanity itself, perhaps its only link is that it feels essential to the dancers, choreographers, and the audience, to the makers and the watchers.
See below the line. Look beyond the surface. Delve beneath the city. Peer underneath the skin. Vide infra. What makes us tick, and ultimately what holds us together, piece by splintered piece.
Drawing its name from the Latin word for ‘below,’ Infra (2008) surveys the internal. This work is a part of the body, within the body; this work is the human condition. Infrarenal. Wayne McGregor invites us to look at the “interior emotional landscape” by observing and drawing inferences from the data on the stage, in turn calling upon our own emotions. The choreographic language is both felt and distinctly human. Beneath the surface of both city and skin, the binding agent is similar.
Segmented by an LED screen that runs the length of the stage, two letterboxed worlds are presented. Above the line, visual artist Julian Opie’s flow of uniform pedestrians are an unwavering rhythm. From the left and right they flow in a mesmerising pattern that is both soothing and indifferent. If you stumble, assistance is unlikely; you’ll merely disturb the pattern. Simplified to the core — a circle for a head, a block for a torso, a rectangle for a briefcase — they are in stark contrast to the activity below the line. The twelve dancers from the Australian Ballet, beneath the ‘unreal city,’ reveal deep inward feelings. Below the line, within the body, visceral and real, and with a capacity to feel, ache, and sometimes break. The binding agent is fragile.
The Melbourne Art Book Fair is all set to go! go! go! We'll be there. Will you?
National Gallery of Victoria presents:
Melbourne Art Book Fair 2017
National Gallery of Victoria
Thursday 16th – Sunday 19th March, 2017
Thursday 16th March: Typography Symposium 10am–5pm
Friday 17th March: 10am–5pm
Friday Party (ticketed): 7.30–10pm
Saturday 18th March: 10am–8pm
Sunday 19th March 10am–5pm
(Free entry at NGV International. Prices are noted for ticketed programs and events.)
Until then, keep a spare eye on #theworkingtable to see what we are making especially for the fair.
Thank-you to everyone, bright and new, and bright and dear, who swung by our zine stall at this year's Festival of the Photocopier at the Melbourne Town Hall. It was, it is, always a thrill.
Thank-you, Sticky Institute, for another great fair.
You'll find our online store furnished with available titles, should you hanker to fill a gap in your collection.
Sticky Institute's zine fair is this weekend. We'll be there. Will you?
Swing by, say hi, and meet our paper animals.
Sticky Institute presents:
Festival of the Photocopier Zine Fair 2017
Melbourne Town Hall
Sunday the 12th February
While the preorder campaign (to assist with the printing costs) has folded its wings, it is still possible to reserve a copy of Prattle, scoop, trembling: a flutter of Australian birds through our online store.
We will be releasing the book from our stall at this year's NGV Melbourne Art Book Fair, where you are welcome to pick up your preordered copies from us (from Friday the 17th to Sunday the 19th of March, 2017).