Recently landed: Count me in, a new article on Marginalia (by Gracia) takes you to More up a tree at Melbourne Festival
Within their glass enclosure, White sat in the corner behind his drum kit. He had cast off his boots, and was using them like two soft vessels to hold his sticks. From where I sat, I could see his socked feet at the pedals, lending an air of spying-on-the-neighbours candour to the performance. He exchanged a quiet smile with de Serpa Soares as she mapped out the space with increasing intensity and pace. Caught unawares, as they teased out movement in response to sound and sound in response to movement, for the main, their containment appeared a liberating sanctuary. Hidden behind a wall of noise, de Serpa Soares could yell at the top of her lungs, but I couldn’t fully hear her. She shook sound from her body as if coaxing it all the way from her little toes, up her legs and torso, and out of her mouth. There goes the hard day; and over there, the weight of the world, discarded. They were playing, releasing, experimenting, and I was watching, experiencing, vicariously. The two of them, to paraphrase the filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (when he wrote of the distortion of time as a means of giving it rhythmical expression), “sculpting in time!” Later, a little ‘cha-cha-cha’ sing-song movement, which I defy anyone to say or do huffily; some words and actions are happy making, no matter how you spin them.
Earlier the space had evoked a zoo enclosure, with de Serpa Soares stalking like a panther in a cage. Back and forth, her feet on repeated loop, wearing a hole in the carpet. In her march, she paused for a moment, in the corner of her confines and looks upward at the wall, her expression was one of steely focus: I will scale these walls and escape. Wild creatures confined, they break my heart, and this was perhaps why I enjoyed seeing de Serpa Soares later shake loose with high kicks, and roar, falling in and out of time.
The Rear Window style voyeurism, illumination of mundane fragments, and human modifications to architecture and personal space in Sussman’s earlier video works, Wintergarden, Balcony, and Seitenflügel (Side Wing), created with Simon Lee, is embedded within More up a Tree. Watching White play, he could well have been an unassuming inhabitant in his lounge room, in the large Berlin apartment building of Seitenflügel. To me, reflective imagery in Sussman’s work references the two sides of the one coin: time and memory. More up a Tree holds a mirror to time and memory for the performers and the audience alike. The circles de Serpa Soares drew with her bended knees pressed together at the beginning were there at the end. Her slow motion, cat-like prowl, high on all fours, also. It repeated, and yet it changed. And when the performance ended with the mirrored screen once more reflecting the audience, we were in the same position, and yet we’d changed, hadn’t we? Not so static after all.
We're thrilled to be a part of Milly Sleeping's forthcoming exhibition, and have created a moving collage projection.
Fourteen local makers present new works using ideas, methods or materials that differ from their usual modes.
Wednesday 11th – Sunday 29th of October, 2017
157 Elgin Street, Carlton
Launching this Saturday October 14th from 4.30pm. See you there.
I raise my hand up above my head. I let it fall down. Connected to my body, my arm remains secure in its socket of the shoulder blade. My arm does not fall to the ground. My body is connected, "dem bones, dem bones, dem dancing bones." My body has my back, secure “doin’ the skeleton dance ….The backbone’s connected to the neck bone. Doin’ the skeleton dance.” And it was in this manner that I read Alice Topp’s new choreographic work, Little Atlas. There may have been three dancers on the stage, Leanne Stojmenov, Kevin Jackson, and Andrew Killian, but there was one body. One body caught up in the push and pull of memory.
When Stojmenov moved she was more than in tune with the movements of Jackson and Killian, they became one and the same. "The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone" and Stojmenov was connected to Jackson, as she fell she was safe in the knowledge that she wouldn’t hit the floor. “The hip bone’s connected to the backbone” and Killian was a continuation of Stojmenov, a different facet of a whole. To me, I interpreted the movements as the struggle within the one body, as memories are reordered and erased by time, and the fluidity of joints begins to stiffen. The thigh bone is connected to the hip bone, but as we all know the body can’t dance forever, not quite. Best to shake it, morph it, steel fuse it like Patti Smith. Or Shakira. "My hips don’t lie [as Topp explains]…. I’ve only got a few more years of dancing left in this old bod so I would absolutely love to have a future in choreography.” And from Little Atlas a future in choreography is undoubtedly what she has.
At the coordinates 78°29’121 N 014°17’986 E, composer Ludovico Einaudi (for and with Greenpeace) performed 'legy for the Arctic', a call from the icebergs, a response on the keys, off the coast of Svalbard, Norway. And at latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates for Melbourne’s State Theatre, in similar vein tap, Einaudi’s 'Fly' and 'Experience' enabled the heart to soar. As revealed in Topp’s choreographic note, by way of two greats, Joan Didion and Patti Smith, this was about our own stored memories and “our attachment to the way these things made us feel” Fleeting time, we feel it in our bones. Transformation, while inevitable, is loss. But as Patti Smith (in her 2015 kaleidoscopic memory dance, M Train) best describes: “the transformation of the heart is a wondrous thing, no matter how you land there.”
The original Alice was Alice Liddel. She was ten at the time Lewis Carroll amused her with a tale of adventures underground. In history’s collective memory, she is the assured girl staring at the photographer (Carroll) in role of Beggar Girl (then aged 7). A muse in the form of a girl who requested Carroll pen the adventures he had regaled her with. And write them down he did, adding the famous grinning Cheshire Cat and a tea party with a Mad Hatter, March Hare, and sleepy Dormouse for good measure, and thus plumping, amending, growing an absurd amusement into what would become a classic. A classic where those who best adapt are those who accept new laws of logic. Live Flamingos are croquet bats. And those aforementioned Hedgehogs are balls (performed by young children in soft-spiked backpacks, and all adorable). Babies are piglets; mind the mincer. Roses can be (should be, declared the Queen of Hearts) painted red. Violets need not be violet. But, of violet as a hue, let’s dress the other original Alice, Lauren Cuthbertson of the Royal Ballet. A special guest performing two nights during the Melbourne season, Cuthbertson has performed the role of Alice since 2011. She was Christopher Wheeldon’s original Alice, like Liddel was to Carroll, and she was responsible for creating the part. To see her in this role on Wednesday night is an indescribable joy. She inhabits every inch of the role, from extended fingertips to light pointe play. And amid all of the wordplay transformed into theatrical might, she is utterly hypnotic, with Christopher Rodgers-Wilson’s Knave of Hearts beautifully smitten.
With her brown hair bobbed, like Alice Liddel, Cuthbertson has returned Alice to (perhaps) her truest form. She no longer recalls John Tenniel’s original illustrations of a long-haired Alice with an overlarge head. And she has nothing to do with the Disney musical of 1951, blonde and in blue. Cuthbertson’s Alice knows the rules on the other side of the looking glass. The rules one might adhere to ‘aboveground’ do not apply here: take the mushroom. Whether nonsensical or otherwise, she deciphers the rules and applies them, growing accordingly. When you take away the preconceptions of how things should operate, every tick-tock of Alice’s extended leg backwards and forwards is a philosophers’ dream. Cuthbertson’s Alice embraces new reality on its own terms in a playful, off-kilter world, and jumps on a sponge cake (with an inbuilt trampoline). She throws herself with abandon, safe in the knowledge she’ll be caught, and her legs make perfect right angles, mid-air. Rules to live by, above- or underground.
I lie low. I nestle in the soil. Are you a fighter? A collaborator? A victim? A survivor? An idealist? A realist? Some days I feel like I am Bennelong. I am Bennelong.
At first impression, Stephen Page’s new work Bennelong is about the history and legacy of Woollarawarre Bennelong (c. 1764–1813), the man who carries five names (also Baneelon, Wogultrowey, Wolarrabarrey, Boinba, Bundebunda). Before a large suspended ring, evocative of a smoking ceremony (sensitively, economically designed by Jacob Nash), ‘The Birth of Bennelong’ is told. The women’s circle, all loose with its collective weight directed towards the floor, the men’s, by comparison, pointed, angular, and elevated. To know the story: read the bodies. Every surface, a canvas, a means of unbroken communication. With native plants in hand, burning to ward off bad spirits, the hardest terrain is life giving.
A Wangul man of the Eora Nation people, Bennelong lived during the European settlement/invasion in 1788. He was captured and shackled in 1789, along with a Cadigal man, Colebee, on Governor Arthur Phillip’s orders by Lieutenant William Bradley at Manly Cove. Lieutenant Bradly wrote of the men’s abduction as being “by far the most unpleasant service I was ever ordered to Execute…. [The] crying & screaming of the women and children together with the situation of the two miserable wretches in our possession was really a most distressing scene; they were much terrified.” Two randomly selected go-betweens to assist with the assimilation process, Colebee escaped, while Bennelong remained in the colony. In frock coats from the New World, Bennelong would later accompany Governor Phillip to London (1792–95), with Wangul man, Yemmerawanye, and four “lively and healthy” kangaroos [Lloyd’s Evening Post, 1793].
Sticky Institute’s zine fair Tonerpalooza returns to State Library Victoria with a hundred zine stalls across the weekend. And we'll be there on the Sunday with a stall full of new and existing titles.
Tonerpalooza II is taking place in the Red Rotunda, Cowen Gallery to accompany the exhibition Self-made: Zines and Artist Books (in the Blue Rotunda, Cowen Gallery).
Saturday 23rd – Sunday 24th of September, 2017
Red Rotunda, Cowen Gallery
State Library Victoria
See you there.
As part of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, this weekend, we'll be taking part in the Ballarat Foto Book Fair, sponsored by Momento Pro at the Ballarat Art Gallery.
Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd of September, 2017
Art Gallery of Ballarat
40 Lydiard St North, Ballarat, Victoria
We hope to see you there.
In Edward Hopper’s painting, Night Windows (1928), a woman in her illuminated apartment goes about her private affairs unaware of my gaze. A voyeuristic composition, Hopper has made me a ‘peeping tom’ whether I wish to be or not — to view the work is to peep. Is she, too, postponing the tasks of her tomorrow? The emphasis here is not upon Tennessee Williams’ “kindness of strangers,” but rather their loneliness, a shared loneliness, one shadowed by intimacy. In a pink slip, she is bent over, spot lit against the black of night as I, the viewer, lean nonchalantly against a lamppost. And in Melanie Lane’s new choreographic work, Nightdance, she is Lilian Steiner in flesh-coloured pants rendered golden goddess by lamplight. One thing is certain: night is made of shadows and in said shadows one can lurk. The cover of darkness, the ability to conceal, magic made not by sleight of hand but by the shift change between the sun and the moon. You can watch and not be seen.
From folklore’s werewolves to the Porto Rican coarse-haired Chupacabra (“goat sucker”), come the full moon, come the descent of night, all creatures come out to play and give rise to night terrors and thrills. Ghouls and golems not detectable during the day are made manifest by night. From the margins of medieval manuscripts come men with dogs’ heads, the Cynocephali, to tap at your windowpane. As Steiner, Gregory Lorenzutti, and Lane prowl on all fours across the darkened stage, such are my thoughts. In dog pose, their collective gait is stiff (humans do not have the supple spine of canines, no matter how fit) and otherworldly. Beguiling too. Nightdance reveals this awkward-easy transition into another world distinct from day to be liberating and emboldening. Come the night, you can reinvent yourself. You can release your alter ego. You can strut. You can prowl. You can shimmy. You can seek to entrance. You can even become your own kind of werewolf. Or muscled were-mouse, as Lorenzutti, shows. You can watch and be seen.
State Library Victoria and Sticky Institute present Tonerpalooza II, a zine fair to accompany the library's new exhibition, Self-made: Zines and Artist books.
Saturday 23rd – Sunday 24th of September, 2017
Red Rotunda, Cowen Gallery
State Library Victoria