Recently landed: Tea and Toast, and an Electric Guitar, a new article on Marginalia (by Gracia) takes you to Caroline Meaden, Alice Dixon, and William McBride's Blowin' Up, and Deanne Butterworth's, with Evelyn Morris, Two Parts of Easy Action, presented by the Substation as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival
The warmth of the spring day did not hold in the Substation. Inside the capacious, high-ceilinged, former industrial space, it is never warm. It is resolutely sub-temperature. Seated for the first of three solos presented under the collective awning of Blowin’ Up, I sat, cleared my throat, and cleared my throat again. The cold of the building crept inside my chest with the intention to make me the spluttering, wheezing, noisy audience member. My defence of stoicism and Soothers was going to be tested.
So when Caroline Meaden stood upright from an investigative, languid Cat pose, advanced to the front of the stage, a hair’s breadth from the audience, and sniffed, an exaggerated under-the-weather, nose crinkle in want of a handkerchief, my body involuntarily mirrored the waiting room action, and I coughed. And I coughed again, and once more for good measure. In a game of call and response, I was not the “silent animal…. out there somewhere, watching on.” Into Meaden’s solo, ‘Sneaky Bastard,’ I crashed into the “thick silence and …. deep restraint.” But my performance etiquette mortification was soothed by the sense that Meaden, Alice Dixon, and William McBride feel like the type of performers that make me want to ask: could your trio become a quartet?
Following on from their work together in This is What’s Happening, at the preview performance of Blowin’ Up, presented by the Substation as part of this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival, Meaden, Dixon, and McBride tell their three tales through their familiar occasional whisper and brief twiddle of the thumbs. They tell their tales with a wink that seeks to make colluders of the audience. Earlier, before ‘Sneaky Bastard’ had unfurled their “attack as life strategy,” arm movements like that of an elephant’s trunk gingerly sensing it’s way, Meaden, Dixon, and McBride had made themselves store mannequins behind the glass doors in the hallway. Still, playfully posed, and wry, Meaden in forest green, Dixon in a shade of midnight blue, and McBride in scarlet, their attire reminded me of a late '50s, early '60s art student. A tap on the shoulder and an invitation to return to their digs for tea and toast around the radiator would not feel out of place. Challenge as a coping mechanism need not ascribe to a set range of movements that fit every body, as this moment and following solos convey.
Opening on Tuesday the 15th of September, an exhibition of modified French cuffs, including our unique state artists' book, Beneath my suit, I am..., at Lord Coconut.
Art of the Cuff
As part of Melbourne Fringe Festival, 2015
Wednesday 16th of September – Saturday 3rd of October
Level 4 Carlow House
289 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Recently landed: Post Phase: The Summit is Blue, Gracia's written response for Fjord Review
In 1924, Captain John Noel, with the aid of his hand-cranked camera (and steel nerves, I wager) captured footage of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine’s infamous attempt to climb Everest in all its beauty and brutality. The footage, recently restored by the British Film Institute National Archive and with a score composed, orchestrated and conducted by Simon Fisher Turner, saddles a backpack to the shoulder of the viewer even by today’s standards, and leaves me in little doubt as to the majesty of such an environment. Alongside the earliest film records of Tibetan life, the harsh landscape presented is one part awe-inspiring beauty to one part endurance test, and it is this punishing survival element that links an expedition with Chloe Chignell and Timothy Walsh’s new work Post Phase: The Summit is Blue. The landscape traversed in both film (The Epic of Everest: The official record of Mallory and Irvine’s 1924 expedition) and dance is one that covers vulnerability and exhaustion, against a backcloth of extreme conditions.
Post Phase: The Summit is Blue may not have the epic quality of Everest, nor the presence of yaks*, but it does yield a suitable chill in proportion to its means and positioning. By comparison to Everest, a small mound of ice at the back of the upstairs studio space provides the required brrrr to make the teeth chatter. The tone is set, and time marked by the process of watching ice melt.
* "The negatives were sent down the mountain and across the Tibetan plains by yak to Darjeeling where Noel had set up a special laboratory to process the films." Restoring The Epic of Everest, Bryony Dixon, BFI, 17th April 2014