Alex, one of the new people I met at my open classes, asked “What do you do as an artist in residence?”
A residency is a haven—time and space to wonder, wander, converse, consider…
It is time away from the independent artist finances hunt
and a studio space in which to gather community, to remember sensation, breath, imagination
My choreographic practice is about choreographing connection as a video editor and as a teacher and collaborator. In the past year I have had three separate weeks as an artist in residence supported by Dance Hub SA and Tasdance during which time I developed the bio-pic Yesterday’s Skeleton. I was considering my ‘body of work’ as an independent dance artist, opening the archive and responding in the present moment to the echoes of my bodies past.
With this residency I wanted to build new and deepen known connections with other bodies.
I gathered three different communities: seven local mature dance artists whom I interviewed and filmed dancing in the Tanya Liedtke studio; seven screendance colleagues who joined me via Zoom meetings and video exchanges; and the around forty bodies who attended my open classes in contemporary dance, yoga or improvisation (including the ADT youth ensemble).
For the showing on July 1st I presented an installation of layered live and filmed materials. I used a large TV screen at one end of the studio and papered the seating bank at the other end to create a more three-dimensional screen surface. This looked like a glacier—an image that had come up in a number of my discussions with other artists as we considered notions of bodies and sustainability. The glacier as metaphor for the mature dance artist and the environmental crisis…layers of history and experience, survival techniques, generational shifts, letting things rise to the surface…
From my Zoomasphere community, my screendance colleagues, I edited video responses to offerings they had sent me after our conversations. I compiled fragments of our discussions, their videos or written responses and my own new creative responses, which played over the two screens. At first, with the sounds inherent in the images on the large TV monitor, then written text and imagery falling up the glacier over the soundscape created by Stuart Day from the audio interviews I had gathered. With these screens as bookends and the audience (of up to 20 people for each of the two 25 min showings) sat on chairs or floor around two sides of the space, Aidan Munn and I passed a hand-held projector between us, animating the other’s body with images of our filmed dancing bodies. I had layered images also of Alison, Peter and Lisa filmed in the blacked-out studio in the preceding weeks, and we danced them across the hands of the audience or at their feet. From this same footage of the seven local dance artists I edited together “the gathering”—a sequence created through editing which was then performed live by the ADT Youth ensemble and myself amid the projected imagery of the edited sequence itself. Finally, the single voice of Elizabeth Cameron Dalman (but also sonically “texturalised” by Stuart) floated over imagery of her dancing on Lake George, at her home near Canberra where I had visited in week 2 of the residency.
To present a summing up in this way is another expression of my desire to “flesh the interface”…to bring the body, touch and breath into the screen space, and to bring the face to face interaction into the performative exchange.
Here is a compilation of the video projections from the showing.
This residency has been kindly supported by Australian Dance Theatre’s Artist in Residence/ICC Program.