Posts tagged Abbotsford Convent
Dark Night

Recently landed: Dark Night, Gracia’s written response to Dark Night by Jill Orr and Quake by Hellen Sky, presented as part of Dance Massive 2019, for Fjord Review

It is the smell of composted ingredients I notice first as I make my way along the passage. A blend of animal manure, rainforest mulch, leaf mould, washed river sand, and loam, giving off that warm garden smell. A mound of steamy soil, piled high in the Magdalen laundry of the Abbotsford Convent; a soil mix for holding moisture in a space still damp from its history. Soil might be a source of nutrients for growth, but in the dirt and dust and sadness of the laundry, its steam is overpowering on a humid autumn night.

Change the location, and a normally pleasing smell of pottering about in the garden alters how it is felt. This cavernous space is airless. I feel like I am being herded into a shed, like livestock penned in against the night and her predators, albeit gently, curiously, by a raft of smiling ushers who motion with torches “mind the cables,” “there’s room along the side wall.” Sand, sphagnum peat moss, perlite, overwhelming! Overhead, a moth crashes into the light. It flutters. I stand. There are not enough seats. (Earlier, audience members who most needed a seat had been asked to come forward.) Grass clippings, fungi, and bacteria! Vermiculite, from the Latin vermiculari, to ‘be full of worms,’ too. The urge to flee, or at least stand near to an exit is strong: I don’t want to put down roots here, in neither laundry’s past nor soiled, oppressive present.

And yet I do, for atop this mountain ‘full of worms’ sails Jill Orr. Majestic and unassuming, simultaneously. Both as assured captain of the craft and as a canvas for the audience to project their own thoughts upon. Legendary. Orr and her boat. Her surname alone, an oar, a navigational means, but I reckon she’d be pretty tired of hearing that. Presented by Dancehouse in partnership with the Abbotsford Convent as part of Dance Massive 2019, “emerging from an installation conceived for the Venice Biennale as a response to the terrible fate of asylum seekers arriving by boat to Australian shores, Dark Night explores the crumbling humanitarian ideals of a world in crisis. In this embodied installation, embracing the dramatics of scale, volume, tone, rhythm and movement, a series of images are performed.”

Dark Night  (image credit: Gregory Lorenzutti)

Dark Night (image credit: Gregory Lorenzutti)

In the Grand Imaginarium

On Monday the 4th of April, as part of (school) Holiday at The Grand Imaginarium, Louise will be holding a zine making workshop through Kids' Own Publishing at the Abbotsford Convent.

In the Grand Imaginarium, you will make a zine from a single sheet of paper. Bring anything you’d like to draw and/or collage with. Also feel free to bring a toy or item you’d like draw or illustrate, papers you’d like to collage, and any favourite pencils, pens, glue sticks and scissors from your pencil case.

(Bookings required. Recommended for ages 5-12. Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. Adults can attend for free.)

'Ordinary people doing ordinary things'

Recently landed: 'Ordinary people doing ordinary things', a new post on High Up in the Trees (by Gracia) takes you to This is What’s Happening by Alice Dixon, Caroline Meaden and William McBride

Still from Roy Andersson's film, You, the Living (2007)

Beloved Be

Recently landed: Beloved Be, Gracia's written response for Fjord Review

Head down, an old man shuffles with the assistance of a wheeled walking frame past the ghostly blue façade of a building. Unbeknownst to him, his dog is tangled in his own lead and is being dragged on his back through the grey streets. In the background, a traditional jazz band plays.

A man in his lounge room practices his sousaphone. A half drunk glass of beer on the table beside him. Unbeknownst to him, his playing is driving his wife to despair. She enters the room through the doorway behind him, raises her hands to her head and screams. Moments later, somewhere off camera, she slams a door causing a picture frame to fall into the fish tank below. The man keeps playing.

This pair of black-humoured vignettes of ‘ordinary people doing ordinary things’1 are from Roy Andersson’s 2007 film, You, the Living, but equally, they could be from Alice Dixon, Caroline Meaden and William McBride’s recent performance, This is What’s Happening, winner of this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival’s Best Dance.

Alice Dixon and Caroline Meaden in This is What's Happening (Image via the artists)