an ongoing project
music, dance, film, installation, sound design
creating spaces to trans – form in
7.30 pm : 24th of March : Thirning Villa : Ashfield, Sydney
sound- form- movement
ancient traditions – new technologies
improvisation – consciousness – integration
creative collaboration – shared visions- collective action
Phase 1 : installation mode : a number of different spaces will be set up with sound and vision- One of these will incorporate live sound and vision making featuring resonating vessels made by key collaborator installation/glass artist Ruth Allen.
Phase 2 : performance mode : the performance of a number of my songs and a piano piece, with accompanying projected images and special guest musicians, including the wonderful Noah Hampson and Kevin White.
Phase 3 : improvisation/ jam mode : with as many of my improvising collaborators who are in the mood : )
Read more on the project HERE
I am dancing, drumming, singing and performing my new piano piece ‘Kandinsky’ at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra this week. The seeds first appeared in May last year through working with dancer Suraya Hilal. It has since been further developed on my own and then with dancer Sarah Hamilton. I am excited to show it and excited by the prospect of working with a bigger musical ensemble to bring it to life down the track.
A compilation of instrumental works created for theatre, dance, film and installation works 2000-2010. Listen and buy from Bandcamp : ) Cleaning out the sonic cupboard feels good : )
There is something very evocative about this video. I shot it lying on my bed one very hot afternoon at Thirning Villa, Sydney, where I am currently Artist in Residence. I was so tired my rational brain had well and truly passed out. My senses ruled. The patterns in the shadows, the pulsing change in the light generated by the hot westerly breeze, the air on my skin, the sound of the blind breathing………..this is all that existed. Balancing our capacity for sensory reception with our ability to analyze, is the day to day challenge of being human. Being conscious in a way that engages both hemispheres of our brain…. that is neither purely creative nor purely analytical.
Integration is the fundamental principle in all of my work.
The challenge, as ever, is to work out how to articulate simple key ideas clearly in a way which allows for the often contradictory nature of reality. How to highlight perspectives, ways of seeing things that is true to a multifarious way of perceiving the world.
I am currently focusing on …………… What it means to be an artist- performer-composer-dancer- media artist.
Windows and doors / images of frames-boundaries are recurring themes…… A metaphor for existing between creative genres- between cultures- between genders- between time………..
Encompassing traditions and innovation- finding the essence of what it is we seek through performance.
What is it we seek through creating and sharing music/dance/performance/creative contexts? Connection is one of the main answers.
Connection to what? Connection to ourselves, to each other, to our environment and to spirit. Spirit? The substance which IS….. All. Beyond words, time and quotidian understanding. That which we know to be true while not being able to express it. That which we attempt to express through art, poetry, music, dance. That which is beyond reason, incomprehensible.
What is the role of technology?
How much do we do alone as artists? How much do we do in collaboration? What is the balance between solo practice, collaborative practice, community engagement?
How do we share our work with the world? How is the internet changing this? What are we doing when we create web worlds?
Where do ideas come from ? How are they shared? Do they exist between co -creators? Do they have their own substance? Is the connection we share with other artists a kind of love? What are the bounds of creativity? Improvisation? Collaboration? How can the mechanisms we have developed as independent collaborative artists be put to use in solving the social and environmental issues we face?
How can ancient forms of creative improvisation between dancers and musicians be harnessed with new technologies and/or with group communication, collaboration and decision making in non arts based contexts?
Artists/ performers are networkers and miracle workers. They pass information between groups of people. They organise gatherings. They create a means for people to feel connected to a kind of clan, joined by a shared experience of performance. They are often working to create miracles with small budgets, not enough time and the minimum of resources. They often work anarchically handing leadership to who ever suits the given task in a given moment. They make decisions on the fly, find solutions to all sorts of problems to create a shared vision, to manifest an idea, to bring a fantasy into an experienceable context.
These are all incredibly valuable skills in a world faced with the need to transform itself and our relationship to each other and resources. How can we share these skills with the broader community?
These are just some of the questions floating around my mind which I am attempting to shape into a form which can be explored as part of a series of forums I am planning to host as part of my residency. It is exciting and yet also somewhat overwhelming to attempt to place these ideas into a coherent framework. They are the things closest to my heart. If you share an interest in these matters…. please… feel free and be brave to respond… here … now …. in what ever way you choose : ) I would love to hear your thoughts : )
For more photos of Thirning Villa check out my Flikr sit here.
I am artist in Residence through Ashfield Council in Sydney at the historic house Thirning Villa until the end of March. If you have ever had a desire to chew the fat with me about art, music, dance, what it means to be an artist. If you have ever wanted to sing, dance, play and create in response to ideas about the relationship between sound, form and movement. If you are interested in improvisation, collaboration, performance as emergent epistemologies, traditional eastern performance modalities, contemporary media arts practice, creativity as a fundamental way of being for all not some……..then…. come and explore with me….. I am drawing up a plan now with a series of events…. atleast some of it will happen online so you can still participate from a distance…… Looking Forward to exploring ‘The Sound of Everything’
My first video for” Jack” is being featured as part of the Metropolis Art Prize on Babelgum.
Check it out here and vote so they send me to New York : )
Brian Eno is in Sydney curating Luminous. A festival of music, light, ideas and performance. Having decided to stay home for the winter, instead of a Europe adventure, I have treated myself to a number of events for the festival.
Jon Hassel and Maarifa Street was the first. Totally sublime………..
Here is the moon being dwarfed by Eno’s ever changing projections on The Opera House.
Here is a link to the web cam of the Opera House http://luminous.sydneyoperahouse.com/sails.aspx
Eno’s ’77 million paintings’ an installation with sound and slowly evolving images is gorgeous and one could happily inhabit it for days and come out the other end significantly closer to resolve.
Last night was a “conversation” between Brian Eno and Jon Hassell. Which was funny, intelligent, inspiring, affirming and hmmmmmmmmmm slightly disturbing in terms of the usual questionable white male gender and indigenous politics still being present ….even in these the most admired of my creative thinkers. Over all though wonderful to be present for it.
This was their starting point.
“We both come from an artistic frame of mind which assumes that art is in some sense practiced philosophy, that the decisions an artist makes aren’t separate from the world view that he holds and that art can be seen as a ‘working out’ of social/philosophical/cultural ideas. ” Eno 2009, Sydney Opera House
There is much I could say on this as it really is a very lived reality for me which is both wonderful and fraught with difficulty, as so many of these ‘creative’ decisions seem to be at odds with prudence. Prudence a word which i have been exploring the meaning of on a daily basis of late. I digress, I digress, I digress…. I could go on….. but i won’t for now ……….heading off to Canberra to engage in 2 creative collaborations with 2 old friends……more on that later… I am blessed!
Definition from Wikipedia
Prudence is the exercise of sound judgment in practical affairs. It is classically considered to be a virtue. Virtue is the ability to judge between virtuous and vicious actions, not only in a general sense, but with regard to appropriate actions at a given time and place. Although prudence itself does not perform any actions, and is concerned solely with knowledge, all virtues had to be regulated by it. Distinguishing when acts are courageous, as opposed to reckless or cowardly, for instance, is an act of prudence, and for this reason it is classified as a cardinal (pivotal) virtue.
In modern English, however, the word has become increasingly synonymous with cautiousness. In this sense, prudence names a reluctance to take risks, which remains a virtue with respect to unnecessary risks, but when unreasonably extended (i.e. over-cautiousness), can become the vice of cowardice.
Photo : Sound checking at Mt Kembla with little girls hanging close. Love that look in their eyes. The one that says ” hmmmmmm women don’t play drums like that on TV??? ”
It was a warm sublime afternoon. The orange sun traversed the forest wrapped mountains and settled on our smiling faces as it gently dawned on us that perhaps we were indeed a community. A group of people with shared concerns, inspired by the creative juices that swim amongst us, jointly developing regular means of spending time together and collectively striving for a more sane, sustainable and meaningful existence. Of course later that week it was discovered that we hadn’t drunk enough alcohol to make the pub happy with us. Ahhhhh well. Time to organise some gigs in local halls.