2015

Underbelly Arts Lab and Festival 2015

Festival: 1 – 2 August 2015

Cockatoo Island

Explore the 2015 Underbelly Arts Lab and Festival program below:

2/3

Gregory Stauffer & Bastien Gauchet (Switzerland)

2/3

Gregory Stauffer & Bastien Gauchet (Switzerland)

Together Stauffer and Gauchet construct a perspectival graphic landscape using only their bodies as instruments of measure, and tape as a record.

Inspired by the practice of Felice Varini, a painter of mega-scale anamorphosis – a practice which require viewers to be specifically located to see the work – 2/3 focuses on process and that apparition.

The Airrarium

Emily Parsons-Lord

The Airrarium

Emily Parsons-Lord

The history of the atmosphere on Earth is inexorably linked to the history of life. 300-350 million years ago oxygen levels were nearly double what they are today, supporting mega flora and fauna. 252.5 million years ago, the Earth experienced the greatest extinction event with 93-97% of species on land dying out and a simultaneous spike in carbon dioxide levels. What do these air taste like? How do they effect your body and your conciousness?

The Airrarium offers the audience the opportunity to taste and feel the air from different eras in Earth’s evolution.

Bad Mudda

Salote Tawale & James Nguyen

Bad Mudda

Salote Tawale & James Nguyen

National identity and racial bias in the media was the starting point for this collaboration between Salote Tawale and James Nguyen. Bad Mudda challenges the artists’ own prejudices as well as the prejudices of Australia more broadly through a series of three radioplays/melodramas with the fanfare of bicycle choreography.

Drawing from their own Fijian and Vietnamese migrant communities to develop and activate unique cultural crossovers and experiences, the project asks the audience to reflect on the common anxieties and divisions that shape how Australians relate to one another.

The Becalmed Heart

Brienna Macnish with Clare McCracken, Robert Jordan & Christopher Page

The Becalmed Heart

Brienna Macnish with Clare McCracken, Robert Jordan & Christopher Page

The Becalmed Heart is a vast immersive installation that transports you into a visually stunning world created from over 20,000 reclaimed plastic grocery bags.

Inspired by images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, The Becalmed Heart is a visually stunning installation that transports you into a strange and seductive vision of tomorrow.

Betonder

Joesphine van Rheenen & De Dansers (The Netherlands)

Betonder

Joesphine van Rheenen & De Dansers (The Netherlands)

Betonder features three dancers who physically inhabit a piece of uninhabitable land, contrasting the vulnerability of the body against the hard surfaces of the post-industrial Cockatoo Island.

Their bodies surrender to the space around it, embodying the rumbling (‘gedonder’) in the concrete (‘beton’) below.

In this performance featuring Dutch group De Dansers (Guy Corneille, Ezra Fieremans, Stephan Bikker), their energetic and optimistic games and songs contrast the solitude and harshness of the urban landscape.

The Bowling Club Medley featuring The Bay Angels

Bhenji Ra with The Bay Angels

The Bowling Club Medley featuring The Bay Angels

Bhenji Ra with The Bay Angels

A dance troupe belonging to the local Filipino community of the South Coast, The Bay Angels will perform an arrangement of social dances including the Cowboy Cha-Cha and the Cruise, along with Festive dances from the Philippine Islands.

The Bay Angels (Laurena Rabina Pasic, Myrna Radin, Marie Cel Arranchado Desabella, Joanne Chinnock & Elizabeth Stevens) collaborate with Bhenji Ra to present a performative reflection of their social dances within the iconic Australiana context of the bowling/golf club. This semi-durational performance will see these women in their spectacle element, echoing self-representation, expression and positioning within these spaces.

City Circle Arrives at Cloud Heaven

Thom and Angelmouse

City Circle Arrives at Cloud Heaven

Thom and Angelmouse

City Circle Arrives at Cloud Heaven is a collaborative project between Robert ‘Thom’ Smith and Harriet ‘Angelmouse’ Body, an immersive three-channel video installation comprised of images of people sourced from magazines and catalogued animated to look and behave like trains.

Trains feature strongly in both the artists’ work by the significance of ‘The Train’ differs for both artists. Smith feels very emotionally connected to trains. To him they have faces, personalities and feelings. For Body, the train is a metaphor for a space of genericism in which individuality can exist. Their ideas combined present the train as a blank canvas for experience.

The Closest Thing to Your Body

Megan Alice Clune

The Closest Thing to Your Body

Megan Alice Clune

The Closest Thing to Your Body investigates the role of music in a nightclub. Distilling the most essential elements of the music of nightclubs throughout history, through the work Clune seeks to replicate this experience through installation.

Taking its name and inspiration from a description of music from Chinese author Mian Mian: “Music doesn’t need to be understood; music is the closest thing to your body”, the work is not only about the process of hearing – it is about the physicality of sound and its communication with the body. The Closest Thing to Your Body asks, what makes us what to dance?

Covered by Concrete

Hromek, Hromek & Hromek

Covered by Concrete

Hromek, Hromek & Hromek

Australian urban space has been covered by concrete, steel and asphalt – burying a rich and diverse culture beneath these markers of urbanity. This installation explores how a space can be reclaimed and Aboriginal culture can be reflected on contemporary identities.

Covered by Concrete engages with the hidden histories of Cockatoo Island integrating recorded conversations with Indigenous people, a spatial map using in situ burnt concrete and written word to uncover the latent histories of Aboriginal Australia.

Dance Films

Mischa Baka

Dance Films

Mischa Baka

For a work of posed bodies, on the verge, slammed together.

Junxtaposed images create a dialogue between people, place and movement in a series of dance films.

Bodies clash and synchronise navigating the spaces between each other and their environment. Music bends time, navigating between anticipation, expectation and confrontation.

Death of Affect Restaged with a Return to the Japanese Nude 2017

Atlanta Eke

Death of Affect Restaged with a Return to the Japanese Nude 2017

Atlanta Eke

In Death of Affect… Eke Crafts a new cultural ritual. Time is stretched; speed has slowed down. A dancer pushes cars, a monument of commerce gracefully inhabiting the deserted relics of industry.

Recontextualised through slow and suspenseful movement, contrasting to the cars’ common state, Death of Affect… is a meditation on our relationship to the everyday machine and the body.

Digital Forest

Tully Arnot

Digital Forest

Tully Arnot

Exploring the effect technology has on social interaction and culture, Arnot’s Digital Forest create an interactive relationship between the audience and this electronic foliage.

The interactivity of these plants reflects on our desire for technological engagement. They present a possible future where forms of reality, life and nature are blurred. This blurring between digital and organic worlds asks the audience to question their relationships with contemporary technology; encouraging audiences to better understand the media that mediate their lives.

Hectoring Apocalyptica

Nathan Harrison, Jake Pember, Rachel Roberts & Emma McManus

Hectoring Apocalyptica

Nathan Harrison, Jake Pember, Rachel Roberts & Emma McManus

In the coming decades, we are going to experience a gradual but undeniable shortage of clean water. In a recent report the UN predicted a 40% shortfall in the world’s water supply by 2030. Right now, 80% of Queensland is in declared drought, and Broken Hill’s water reserve is at 8% – plus there’s an El Nino on the way.

How are we going to deal with this? The way we use water is full of complexities and contradictions, but how do we manage this problem? Is there a back up plan?

Hectoring Apocalyptica is an interactive performance. They don’t have the answers. They don’t even really have all the questions. But they’re making a show about it.

Holiday Feelings

110%

Holiday Feelings

110%

Holiday Feelings is a participator performance and installation work that explores the relationship between the pursuit of leisure and the appreciation of art.

Visiting an interactive leisure oasis featuring reclining structures, cooling systems and soothing audio-visual projections. 110% invite you to experience a simulated environment of leisure from which art grows. This relaxation zone will be paired with themed guided tours.

‘At Holiday Feelings: Our labour is your leisure; you leisure is our pleasure’.

Human Google Project

Roslyn Helper

Human Google Project

Roslyn Helper

The artist sits behind a desk, as festival-goers are invited to ask her anything.

This project calls into question our 21st Century reliance on the internet for answers, the algorithm-driven standardisation of knowledge, changing notions of truth, and the values we place on what we read online vs. how we treat subjective explanations and sense-making.

At the same time, this project draws into focus an individual’s capacity to know the world.

HYDRA STEP & HYDRA SHUFFLE

James Capper (UK)

HYDRA STEP & HYDRA SHUFFLE

James Capper (UK)

Capper’s monumental creations treat the mechanical as aesthetic and intelligently navigate the landscape. They precisely mark the ground, stepping over obstacles, climbing gradients and slopes.

In step with the industrial nature of Cockatoo Island is HYDRA STEP, a walking earth marker, and HYDRA SHUFFLE which never leaves the earth using caterpillar-like motion to excavate the ground. These industrial objects interact with various terrains producing abstract compositions.

Island Salon

Curated by Angela Garrick, Sophie Kitson & Danielle Zorbas

Island Salon

Curated by Angela Garrick, Sophie Kitson & Danielle Zorbas

Island Salon is a Sydney-based curatorial group aimed at producing new media and film based projects with contemporary female artists in Australia.

Initiated by Sydney based artists/ curators Angela Garrick, Sophie Kitson and Danielle Zorbas, Island Salon expands the scope of Australian experimental arts practice and engagement.

This project unites a band of over 100 female artists across a broad spectrum of media in an immersive, island-inspired cinema installation.

The Likes of Me

Matt Shilcock in collaboration with Dean Walsh & Melinda Tyquin

The Likes of Me

Matt Shilcock in collaboration with Dean Walsh & Melinda Tyquin

Shilcock was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a brittle bone disorder. Osteogenuine is an entirely unique choreography style developed around the breakages, weaknesses and repairing of his body, and the aids he incorporates into his adaptive and poetic form of movement.

In this performance, Shilcock explores the philosophy of negative eugenics. Utilising his changing bodily landscape as an expressive tool, Shilcock’s performance urges exploration of the body’s potential in defiance of any ideas about type, shape, form or ability.

Mirrored Ziggurat

Shirin Abedinirad (Iran)

Mirrored Ziggurat

Shirin Abedinirad (Iran)

Inspired by the pyramidal structure of Ziggurat in ancient Mesopotamia, this installation offers a transformative view of the self.

For Abedinirad, Mirrors amplify this paradise, giving light; an important mystical concept in Persian Culture and a medium creating an optical illusion. The reflection of the natural surrounds of Cockatoo Island brings nature and humans closer together create a union of ancient history with today’s world.

Monolith #1

Austin Buckett with Robbie Avenaim

Monolith #1

Austin Buckett with Robbie Avenaim

Be met by a monolith of sound.

Monolith #1 explores repetition and ritual in performance, featuring 10 large membranophones configured in a line along a dramatic cliff face. It possesses the ritualistic function of a church bell, with tremendously different sonic results.

This strident yet meditative work, devised by composer and artist Buckett, is written to be performed with the use of Avenaim’s SARPS motorised percussive mechanisms.

New Monuments

Jacob Raupach

New Monuments

Jacob Raupach

New Monuments explores the link between industrial economy, work and failure via photographic and sculptural objects.

The work is an experiment in understanding the nature of industry in post-industrial society. It takes the industrial ruins as its interest; in particular the ways in which ruins as objects are both monuments of industrial might, yet also reveal the failure inherent in all systems.

Through exploiting the materiality of both photography and sculpture, the installation uses the particular characteristics and history of Cockatoo Island as a space to explore the tenuous link between industrial myth and reality.

The Radio Impulse

Pip Stafford

The Radio Impulse

Pip Stafford

The Radio Impulse is a copper ‘cloud’, suspended in space, gleaning electromagnetic waves and turning them into sound. The cloud acts as a basis for a large antenna and crystal radio, hand-built from elementary materials such as a natural mineral diode (pyrite or galena), hand-wound spider coils and a handcrafted ‘cat’s whisker’.

Using the radio and existing structures as both sculptural form and tools for performative divination, electromagnetic waves become part of a layered relationship with form, content and concept, representing and visualising the chaotic, rhizomic systems that loop and feedback, glitch and pop.

The Red Gums

Amy Tracey

The Red Gums

Amy Tracey

Have you ever experienced a deep-rooted feeling that the land that you are standing on has a soul much bigger and older then you? Cockatoo Island gives Tracey that feeling, but she can’t help but feel that the soul it has today is very different to the soul it would have had when its red gum forest stood strong and tall.

Using live native Australian plant materials, Tracey has created an immersive physical environment of suspended gum leaves and native flowers.

Relaxation Circuit

Pia van Gelder

Relaxation Circuit

Pia van Gelder

Relaxation Circuit restages an intriguing early experiment in electrotherapy by L.E.Eeman, with one edition, a bio-synthesiser. Eeman proposed his bio-circuit could treat a variety of conditions by harnessing the radiant powers of the human body. The bio-synthesiser manifests these radiant energies in sonic form, creating subtly modulating low frequency tones based on the body’s own conductivity.

Van Gelder recreates Eeman’s circuit from 1920 to think about this historical speculation about the possibilities of bioenergy.

Script

Biljana Jancic

Script

Biljana Jancic

Though we get the impression we have freedom of movement, our navigation through public space in underscored by the choreography of spatial design.

Script is informed by Jancic’s interest in the way architectural space dictates movement, social dynamics and personal experiences. By manipulating the dynamics of space, this multi-layered dramatic project is an expansion of Jancic’s practice, questioning the way anxieties and tensions manifest through spatial mood and atmosphere.

This contradictory and considered work amplifies the constructed nature of the environments we inhabit.

SMILE

Lewis Doherty

SMILE

Lewis Doherty

SMILE takes the form of a gigantic disembodied face rendered in neon light beaming down on Cockatoo Island’s historic Turbine Hall. More melancholic and childlike than the average smiley face, the work looks to muse upon our engagement with digital avatars and our compulsive manipulation of our online selves.

Impressions of human life characterise much of the images we encounter online and SMILE seeks to posit that these same impressions are having a profound impact on us IRL, affecting how we socialise, communicate and see ourselves. This monumental emoji combines the irreverence and naiveté of a child’s drawing with the stark nature and scale of an advertising billboard or neon sign.

Soaked In

Claire Finneran & Alex Kiers with Zoe Finneran

Soaked In

Claire Finneran & Alex Kiers with Zoe Finneran

Playing with a checklist of comforting elements, Soaked In is a sensory installation with live-recorded performances. The work is an exercise in absorption through passive entertainment, glazed over eyes and blissfully empty minds.

Extending on prior work inspired by ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), Soaked In explores the relationship between viewer and intimate displays. The viewer experiences the sense of textures through point of view camera capturing the touching, smearing, scratching and prodding of fetishised objects.

Soft Concrete

Lucy Phelan

Soft Concrete

Lucy Phelan

Dip your head deep into a bunker of abstract sound. Soft Concrete takes sounds recorded across Cockatoo Island and hits them hard against the bunker walls.

The installation takes form around what Phelan sees as a reoccurring feature of the round concrete bunker and the island more generally. In this work the coming together of seemingly opposite elements of harsh and serene work to create what Phelan terms an ‘industrial ambience’. This ambience is an incongruous atmosphere that hovers around the island, translated in Soft Concrete as an experience into otherworldly dense sonic abstractions.

The Soul Train Express

Caroline Garcia

The Soul Train Express

Caroline Garcia

Born in New York’s deepest underground and brought together by strands of Gay liberation and post-Civil Rights racial integration, Disco’s socio-political undertones still resonate today. The Soul Train Express reimagines the quintessential disco dance format into a contemporary setting, inviting you to boogie on down through the Turbine Hall.

Using the trajectory of dance as a platform for political reflection and cultural exchange, Garcia welcomes audience to help her revive the legacy of disco in all of its utopian and subversive glory – the Soul Train

Tutti Frutti Dream Factory

Emily Crockford, Emma Johnson, Phillip Sidney, Skye Saxon & Tim Bell (Studio A) with Rosie Deacon

Tutti Frutti Dream Factory

Emily Crockford, Emma Johnson, Phillip Sidney, Skye Saxon & Tim Bell (Studio A) with Rosie Deacon

Enter the ‘kooky-too island of the tutti and the frutti’. Dark and daring or bright and bedazzled. Find yourself lost. Awaken to a different dream. Swim through our islands and float in our jumble of dreams.

This collective of artists have worked together for years, creating collaborative sculptures as part of Studio A who provide professional development to artists with disability. After seeing Deacon’s work, the Studio A artists were intrigued by the colour and energy of her installations, recognising an affinity with their own practice. Seeking a new creative experience, they invited Deacon on the Tutti Frutti Dream Factory, a manifestation of each artist’s unique vision.

Untitled

Ela Stiles

Untitled

Ela Stiles

Stiles is a Sydney-based musician, known for her work with the bands Songs, Bushwalking and the Rangoons. Turning her attention to drone and voice, Stiles crafts delicate vocal vignettes; their complex and sometimes skeletal sonic landscapes are truly impacting.

Stiles showcases her exploration into extended vocal abstractions and harmonium, using Cockatoo Island’s Coal Bunker to build a cascading, textural showcase of sound.

Upon Contemplating the Sunset/ Upon Contemplating the Sunrise

Daniel Jenatsch

Upon Contemplating the Sunset/ Upon Contemplating the Sunrise

Daniel Jenatsch

Make it to the water’s edge before sunset to experience something that always is, in a way that it is rarely experienced.

This situational performance scales the final moments of sunlight; the audience will bare witness to time passing and memories resurfacing – contemplating all that has come before across the movement of the sun.

Join the artist in unfolding the progressive temporal narrative brought to bear upon our collective psyche.

Vita-Lymph

Soft Power

Vita-Lymph

Soft Power

Human life is homogenizing. Scientists have found that there is more pop music than ever with less variety than ever (no, you are not old for thinking that, music sounds the same because it is, empirically). Tapping the dominant current of pop, let’s at least attempt to vary the outputs, multiply the channels and await the result?

Soft Power addresses the evolving design and function of contemporary persuasion: populations are seduced rather than forced, individuals groomed rather than enlisted, control automated rather than enacted. The political, social, economic and linguistic channels of power have become so technologised that it’s tempting to remove the prefix ‘techno-‘ altogether. Because all is techno.

Wait Until Called

Amy Spiers

Wait Until Called

Amy Spiers

Wait Until Called is a participator installation involving a room of patiently waiting asylum seekers. It is a delegated performance that over-identifies with the fantasy of a proper waiting process.

The work reflects on what British philosopher and activist Nina Power has described as ‘the weaponisation of time’; the way in which the state uses time as a method of punishment – suspending people’s capacity to reach their potential.

Wait Until Called
aims to make the lengthy, sanity-sapping process associated with seeking asylum manifest on Cockatoo Island.

White Noise

Amala Groom and Nicole Monks

White Noise

Amala Groom and Nicole Monks

White Noise symbolises a cultural and political portal between two worlds, explore the intersection of Aboriginal and colonial world views, using the aural and sensory to create a transformative experience.

White Noise explores the Aboriginal experience of exisiting in a postcolonial landscape. The artists are communicating the experience of being Aboriginal women living within Western society and legal structures on their own land, where they are pushed to adopt Western thought patterns to survive.

Wish You Were Here

Friends With Deficits

Wish You Were Here

Friends With Deficits

Two performers conduct a conversation with each other over water, using the language of semaphore. As the performers converse, the experience of isolation becomes apparent.

The performers text has been developed from tropes of island as paradise, island as prison, and the historical perspective of islands as territory to be colonised. Found text from the letters of detained refugees create a monologue of imprisonment, isolation and torture. Certain phrases are echoed in another (imagined) letter from an island paradise. The two perspectives come together then diverge