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Critical Dialogues  Issue  8   Environmental  Impact   August  2017          


Critical Path  Staff:     Director   Claire  Hicks     General  Manager   Laura  Osweiler     Project  Manager   Bibi  Serafim                

Publication Staff:  

Editors   Liz  Lea  and  Kyle  Page     Copy  Editor   Laura  Osweiler     Designer   Kathleene  Capararo     Contributors   James  Batchelor   Lindy  Hume   Gene  M.  Moyle   Dr  Sarah  Jane  Pell   Jade  Dewi  Tyas  Tunggal   Vicky  Van  Hout   Dean  Walsh                     The  next  issue  of  Critical  Dialogues  is  scheduled  for  November  2017.     Sign  up  to  Critical  Path  newsletters  to  stay  informed.  criticalpath.org.au  

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Contents:

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Introduction   Liz  Lea  and  Kyle  Page  ……………………………………………………………………………………    4     Light,  Space,  Silence...  Elemental  Thinking   Lindy  Hume  …………………………………………………………………………………………….….    11     The  Psychological  Impact  of  Environment  on  Creativity     Gene  M.  Moyle  …………………………………………………………………………………….………    18     An  Inverse  Trend   Vicky  Van  Hout  ……………………………………………….………………………………….….……    24     Thoughts  on  Deepspace   James  Batchelor  ……………………………………………….……………..………………….….……    32     Embodied  Environmentalism   Dean  Walsh  ……………………………………………………..……………..………………….….……    38     Following  the  Bodies’  Natural  Edge  to  the  Abyss  of  Space   Dr  Sarah  Jane  Pell  ………………...…………………………..……………..………………….………    47     Moving  with  My  Nature   Jade  Dewi  Tyas  Tunggal  …..…...…………………………..……………..………………….………    57                                                  


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Introduction Liz  Lea  and  Kyle  Page  

Artists’  Brief:   Environmental  Impact  examines  the  affect  of  environment  on  creativity  through   the  lens  of  7  distinct  thinkers,  makers  and  creatives.  In  a  discourse  spanning   physical  and  psychological  environments,  changing  environments,  remote  and   regional  environments,  connection  to  place,  disconnection  from  place,  vastness,   intimacy  and  non-­‐traditional  spaces,  together  we  unpack  the  profound  ways  in   which  environment  shapes  experience  and  output  in  the  creative  realm.     Liz  Lea:   I  am  thrilled  to  be  co-­‐editing  this  Critical  Dialogues  edition  with  Kyle.  The  subject   matter  is  very  close  to  my  heart  and  working  with  the  different  writers  has  been   a  stimulating  and  intriguing  process.  Some  articles  deeply  moved  me,  others  sent   my  mind  soaring,  dazzling  my  thinking.  The  opportunity  to  share  thoughts,   writings  and  discourses  in  this  way  is  an  invaluable  one  and  both  Kyle  and  I  are   grateful  to  Critical  Path  for  inviting  us  to  edit  this  edition  of  Critical  Dialogues.   Each  contributor’s  approach  to  the  brief  above  gives  a  stunningly  broad  insight   into  the  many  and  myriad  ways  in  which  artists  see,  creative  and  seek   inspiration  from  the  environment  in  which  we  live  and  work.       We  open  with  Lindy  Hume’s  article,  which  gives  a  very  personal  account  into  her   experiences  working  in  regional  Australia  -­‐  and  which  gave  me  a  new  found   confidence  in  being  based  in  Canberra.  Gene  Moyle’s  article  is  one  which  I  feel  all   artists  will  relate  to  -­‐  the  clear  and  deeply  considered  outline  of  just  how  much   our  creative  environments  are  shaped  by  the  people  we  choose  to  work  with.       Vicki  Van  Hout’s  article  gives  a  great  insight  into  the  history  of  contemporary   Indigenous  dance  practices,  connection  to  country  and  how  creation  is  informed   by  the  land,  space  and  place  for  her  as  an  Indigenous  dance  artist.       I  have  watched  James  Batchelor’s  work  evolve  since  he  danced  with  QL2  over  the   past  8  years  and  am  always  amazed  at  the  intelligence  and  ingenuity  of  his   thinking  and  artistic  processes.  Seeing  how  Deepspace  has  evolved  from  his   journey  to  the  Antarctic  is  stunning  and  will  continue  to  be  so.       Dean  Walsh’s  article  is  beautiful  and  brave  as  he  shares  his  explorations  of  past   and  current  personal  experiences  and  how  they  have  and  continue  to  shape  him,   his  practice  and  his  way  of  engaging  with  the  world.       Sarah  Jane  Pell  has  provided  a  new  mind  crush  for  me  -­‐  the  extent  and  breadth  of   her  work  is  stunning  and  the  rigour  behind  her  process  is  intriguing.  Space  flight   is  not  the  normal  space  for  movement  creation.       We  close  with  Jade  Tyas  Tunggall,  who  writes  in  the  most  beautiful  and  mystical   way.  It  is  like  riding  a  wave  of  consciousness  while  also  learning  about  her  


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cultural heritage  and  that  of  her  ancestors,  which  aligns  with  her  current   practices  and  being  with  her  daughter.      

Liz Lea  from  above,  swimming  in  a  red  dress  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Nino  Tamburri    

I  grew  up  in  Sydney  and  Malawi.  We  also  lived  in  Bangladesh  and  Pakistan  and   these  experiences  have  absolutely  shaped  me  as  a  person  and  dance  artist.  My   speciality  in  classical  Indian  movement  forms  was  very  much  informed  by  living   in  and  around  countries  in  which  the  classical  Indian  forms  evolved  over  many   centuries.  Being  in  the  zone,  in  the  space,  as  I  call  it,  is  fundamental  to  my   creative  practice.  I  respond  best  in  rehearsal  spaces  with  a  history.  Even  when   based  in  London  for  20  years,  I  always  returned  home  to  Manly,  NSW,  where  I   was  born,  to  create  my  solos.  I  would  see  family  and  friends  and  tuck  myself   away,  nothing  more,  and  work  in  Manly  Dance  Arts  Studio.  Then  on  tour,  I  found   I  knew  a  piece  ‘worked’  when  the  movement  resonated  in  the  different  spaces  I   rehearsed  in  around  the  world.  Anything  that  did  not  resonate  was  cut  and  new   movement,  inspired  by  the  heat  of  Goa,  snow  of  Bassano,  bustle  of  London  and   crazy  energy  of  New  York  was  added.  The  environments  wildly  influenced  and   informed  each  work  and  performance.  However,  the  genus  of  each  work  was   created  from  the  sea,  sand  and  solitude  of  a  known  and  loved  space.         Outside  of  the  soft  shores  of  Manly,  my  most  powerful  experience  in  an   environment  was  travelling  to  visit  the  Kalash  people  in  northern  Pakistan,  a  few   hours  walk  from  the  Afghan  border.  This  was  in  1999  and  it  was  till  a  crazy  thing   to  do  alone.  It  was  literally  two  years  before  9/11.  I  was  deep  in  Taliban   territory,  in  the  wrong  kind  of  Salwar  Kameeze  with  AK47’s  all  over  the  place.  As   a  non  Asian  artist  specialising  in  classical  Indian  dance,  I  was  researching   previous  interrelations  between  East  and  West.  I  was  advised  to  ‘just  go’.  So,  I   did  and  it  transformed  me.  Luckily,  there  were  gentle,  wise  and  discreet  people   to  guide  me.       The  Kalash  are  descendants  from  Alexander  the  Greats  journey  through  the  area   in  326BC.  They  are  extraordinary,  resilient  and  deeply  connected  with  their   culture  in  a  stunningly  isolated  environment.  The  Greek  Embassy  has  built  two   dance  spaces  -­‐  one  outdoor,  a  clear  flattened  area,  and  one  indoor.  The  indoor    


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Liz Lea  stands  in  water  with  arms  up  in  a  red  dress  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Nino  Tamburri  

space,  lit  by  two  squares  in  the  ceiling  and  the  shaft  of  afternoon  light  that  cuts   through  dust  of  the  space,  is  forever  etched  on  my  mind.  I  have  created   innumerable  works  in  squares  of  light  since  then.  Maybe  I  didn’t  need  to  go  such   lengths  to  work  with  squares  of  light...  it  was  all  part  of  a  mind  blowing   experience,  AK47s  aside.  The  menstruating  room  the  women  lived  in  once  a   month,  the  graveyard  with  bodies  buried  above  ground,  the  scathing,  harsh   beauty  of  the  hills,  the  warmth  of  the  people  and  being  sick  as  a  dog.  Nearly  20   years  on,  it  instills  humility  and  desire  in  my  creative  practice.     Now  based  in  Canberra,  I  still  go  back  to  Manly  to  create.  I  find  the  relative   solitude  of  the  gum  trees  calming.  I  used  to  cry  out  for  the  madness  of  Covent   Garden,  but  my  practice  has  changed  as  I  move  away  from  a  solo  practice  and   seek  younger  bodies  and  minds  to  work  with.  Canberra  has  a  beautifully  creative  


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space around  her  and  Gorman  Arts  Centre  is  a  new  hub  for  me.  It  lies  along   ancient  energy  lines  and  when  an  idea  comes  along  with  goose  bumps,  I  have   learnt  to  trust  that  the  idea  is  coming  from  somewhere  else,  not  me.  It  is  from  a   higher  place.  My  experience  working  with  Tammi  Gissell,  Eric  Avery  and  Graham   David  King  taught  me  this  and  I  am  deeply  indebted  to  them  for  opening  a  new   way  of  thinking,  connecting  and  being  present  on  Australian  soil.  •     Kyle  Page:   Working  alongside  the  wonderful  Liz  Lea  to  co-­‐edit  the  8th  edition  of  Critical   Dialogues  has  been  deeply  rewarding  and  intellectually  stimulating.  Together,   we  have  selected  seven  artists  with  a  broad  range  of  experience  and  insight  into   the  Environmental  Impact  of  creating  work  in  a  variety  of  ways  and  conditions.   Each  of  the  articles  speaks  for  itself  with  rich  and  compelling  glimpses  into  the   thinking  processes  and  methodologies  of  these  extraordinary  creatives.  Lindy,   Gene,  Vicky,  James,  Dean,  Sarah  Jane  and  Jade  have  been  immensely  generous   and  open  throughout  the  process  and  I  would  like  to  thank  each  of  you  for  your   stunning  contributions.       For  as  long  as  I  can  remember,  I  have  felt  most  at  home  surrounded  by  trees,   swimming  in  the  ocean  or  walking  through  wilderness.  I  love  the  way  that  nature   can  make  you  feel  so  dizzyingly  small,  so  deeply  connected  and  so  wonderfully   alive.      

A dancer  jumping  sideways  on  a  beach  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Amber  Haines  

Insight  and  inspiration  has  often  arrived  whilst  wandering  through  wildlife  -­‐   wandering  in  the  truest  sense  of  the  word,  with  nowhere  to  be  and  no  time  to   keep;  staring  at  the  immeasurably  vast  starlit  sky  in  the  desert,  hiking  through   remote  wilderness,  sitting  under  waterfalls,  strolling  along  the  beach,  rousing   early  for  sunrise  or  pausing  to  catch  sunset,  standing  silently  in  the  snow,   swimming  on  the  reef  and  gazing  in  awe  at  the  Aurora  Borealis.  The   juxtaposition  to  these  wild  open  spaces  are  densely  packed  cities,  where  the   collision  of  humanity  is  endlessly  fascinating  and  equally  rich  creatively,  all  be  it   for  very  different  reasons!    


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Creatively, the  spaces  we  inhabit  have  the  potential  to  shape  and  inform  the   project  as  much  as  the  research  and  concept.  The  space  is  not  restricted  to  four   walls  and  a  floor;  the  space  is  the  amount,  or  absence,  of  natural  light,  the  energy   of  the  room,  the  people,  the  temperature,  the  size...  elements  often  unconsciously   assimilated.  The  challenge  and  opportunity  comes  from  sculpting  these   conditions,  crafting  the  environment  in  all  its  manifestations  to  serve  the   creative  process.     Two  creative  environments  that  have  etched  themselves  most  deeply  in  my   memory  were  polarised  in  both  scale  and  context.     The  first...  a  concrete  garage  in  Varanassi,  India.  My  wife  and  long-­‐term   collaborator,  Amber  Haines  and  I  were  lucky  enough  to  receive  an  Asialink   residency  in  2013.  We  travelled  to  Kriti  Gallery,  Varanassi,  under  the  proviso   that  we  would  have  access  to  a  dance  studio  with  parquetry  timber  flooring.   Upon  our  arrival,  we  anxiously  asked  to  see  the  studio;  we  were  escorted  to  a   derelict  garage  on  the  side  of  the  property,  which  we  entered,  only  to  find  two   staff  watering  rough  wet  concrete,  smiling.  “The  concrete  has  been  freshly  laid,   ready  for  your  arrival!”  we  were  excitedly  told.  “Um,  and  where  is  the  parquetry   flooring?”  we  politely  asked.  “Here!”  the  staff  replied  as  they  unrolled  a  4x4   meter  sheet  of  linoleum,  complete  with  an  embossed  parquetry  floor  pattern...   This  was  our  introduction  to  India,  and  this  set  the  tone  for  a  truly  extraordinary   3  months  of  wildly  unexpected,  intensely  provocative  creative  discoveries!     The  second...  a  Barquentine  tall  ship,  Svalbard.In  2015,  Amber  and  I  were   fortunate  enough  to  take  part  in  the  Arctic  Circle  Residency  -­‐  sailing  a   Barquentine  tall  ship  around  Svalbard  for  3  weeks  with  20  multidisciplinary   artists  from  across  the  world.  The  silence  was  absolute  and  the  sunlight   omnipresent,  even  at  midnight.  We  thought,  we  spoke  and  we  read.  We  were   wholly  absorbed  in  the  vastness  of  the  natural  world.  Here  on  the  edge  of  the   earth  we  felt  so  small,  so  inconsequential,  yet  so  intrinsically  connected  to  all  and   everything  that  our  place  in  the  world  made  more  and  less  sense  than  ever   before.     It  is  in  these  rather  paradoxical  extremes  that  I  have  discovered  the  most  diverse   and  nourishing  creative  input.  Inspiration  abounds  in  environments  far  removed   from  that  which  is  familiar,  and  it  is  here,  on  the  edge,  at  the  precipice  of  the   ‘known’  environment  that  I  like  to  find  myself.  •    


Two dancers  reach  upward  and  around  one  another  in  ‘Syncing  Feeling’  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Ashley   McLellan                

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Liz Lea  Bio     Liz  Lea  is  a  performer  and  choreographer  based  in  Canberra  and  NSW.  Her   speciality  is  working  with  classical  Indian  dance  and  martial  arts.  Liz  Lea  Dance   projects  include  120  Birds,  InFlight,  Magnificus  Magnificus  inspired  by  the  red   tailed  black  cockatoo  for  Indigenous  dance  artist  Tammi  Gissell  and  Kapture,   inspired  by  the  freedom  fighter  Ahmed  Kathrada.In  2013,  Liz  founded  the   DANscienCE  Festival,  2013,  2015  and  in  2018  in  collaboration  with  FORM  Dance   Projects.  Liz  is  currently  working  on  The  Galaxy  Project  and  a  new  one  woman   show,  RED,  with  solos  commissioned  from  Martin  del  Amo  and  Vicki  van  Hout,   mentored  by  Brian  Lucas.     Liz  is  currently  shortlisted  for  an  Australian  Dance  Award  for  her  direction  of   Great  Sport!      

Kyle Page  Bio  

Kyle  Page  is  Artistic  Director  of  Dancenorth  Australia.  He  has  performed  in  17   countries  and  collaborated  with  renowned  choreographers  including  Meryl   Tankard,  Garry  Stewart,  Lucy  Guerin,  Gideon  Obarzanek,  Gavin  Webber,  Ikuyo   Kuroda,  Antony  Hamilton  and  Stephanie  Lake.  Kyle  and  his  long-­‐time   collaborator  Amber  Haines  have  directed  four  main-­‐stage  works  -­‐  Syncing   Feeling,  Spectra,  Rainbow  Vomit  and  Tectonic.  In  2013,  they  received  an  Asialink   residency  and  in  2015  they  attended  the  prestigious  Arctic  Circle  Residency,   sailing  a  barquentine  tall  ship  around  Svalbard  for  three  weeks.     Kyle  received  the  Australian  Institute  of  Management  30  Under  30  Award  and   was  named  Emerging  Leader  of  the  Year  for  the  North  Queensland  Region  in   2015  and  was  listed  as  one  of  North  Queensland’s  top  50  most  influential  people   in  2015  and  2016.                                  


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Light, Space,  Silence...  Elemental  Thinking   Lindy  Hume    

A landscape  shot  of  rolling  fields,  spotted  with  trees  in  the  Candelo  area  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Joanna   Kelly  

In  the  decade-­‐plus  I’ve  lived  in  regional  Australia,  one  of  the  most  useful  and   surprising  discoveries  is  that  the  quality  and  characteristics  of  my  thinking  -­‐  the   way  I  process  thoughts  -­‐  is  quite  different  here,  surrounded  by  the  elements,  to   my  thinking  in  the  city.  I  recall  the  moment.  I  was  sitting  in  the  shade  at  the  edge   of  a  forest,  looking  out  to  the  mountains  and  valleys.  The  sun  had  begun  to  set,   the  whole  afternoon  had  passed  but  I  had  been  working  in  such  a  state  of  flow   that  time  had  just  disappeared.  I  had  worked  hard,  the  work  was  now  done  and  I   was  happy  with  it.  It  felt  like  coming  through  a  tunnel.  Yet,  I  had  at  all  times  been   intensely  aware  of  my  un-­‐tunnel-­‐like  surroundings:  abundant  space,  the  air,   kookaburras,  the  thud  of  kangaroos,  the  continuous  movement  of  the  trees  and   the  shimmering  light  endlessly  undulating  through  leaves.       At  first  I  thought  it  was  simple  -­‐  a  change  of  scenery  stimulating  surges  of   productive  thinking,  but  over  time  I  came  to  understand  its  significance:  when   I’m  here,  my  thinking  will  be  clearer,  deeper  and  richer,  more  continuous,  and   therefore,  more  fruitful.  Initially,  this  epiphany  was  a  lovely  bonus,  now  it’s  a   creative  strategy.       The  system  works  like  this:  When  I  have  something  new  or  complicated  to  write,   or  if  I  need  to  wrap  my  head  around  a  big  multi-­‐demanding  directing  project  or   manage  a  complex  situation,  I  surround  myself  with  the  environment  I  need  -­‐   abundant  space,  silence,  light,  the  elements  -­‐  to  tear  into  it  conceptually,  to   wrestle  abstract  ideas  into  submission,  to  map  things  out  and  turn  my  internal   chaos  into  some  kind  of  order.  As  long  as  I  give  myself  enough  time  to  change  


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gears from  city  to  country,  time  to  breathe,  process  and  read,  to  walk  through   trees  and  watch  the  water,  the  elemental  energy  of  this  place  always,  always   rewards  me  with  some  kind  of  clarity  and  perspective,  and  the  electric  charge  of   the  ideas  my  creativity  thrives  on.       Having  this  reassuring  knowledge  up  my  sleeve  has,  far  more  than  once,  averted   meltdown  by  subduing  the  emotional  panic  associated  with  approaching   deadlines  or  crises.  Knowing  that  I  have  a  highly  effective  thinking  place  to  go  to   comb  out  the  chaos  has  helped  me  manage  (not  conquer,  alas)  my  anxiety  and   stress  levels.  In  fact,  in  a  weird  way  perhaps  it  even  encourages  me  to  take  on   more  projects  than  I  probably  should.       It’s  not  like  I  can’t  concentrate,  process  information  or  come  up  with  good  ideas   when  surrounded  by  buildings,  of  course  I  can.  I  thrive  on  the  many  distractions   and  accelerations  of  urban  life,  most  of  my  work  is  made  in  cities,  but  I  now   accept  that  these  dynamics  also  make  it  harder  to  maintain  the  continuum  of  a   thought-­‐stream,  to  spiral  deeper  into  a  concept,  to  sit  with  an  idea  for  a  while,  to   walk  or  drive  with  it  and  let  it  settle.  To  put  it  bluntly,  I’ve  learned  that  my   thinking  is  faster  yet  shallower  in  the  city,  but  deeper  (although  no  less  restless)   and  more  productive  when  I’m  surrounded  by  space,  silence,  light,  distance  and   thousands  of  shades  of  green.       This  growing  understanding  of  the  effects  of  the  natural  environment  on  my  own   creative  and  thought  processes  has  led  to  a  growing  fascination  with  the  impact   of  the  elements  on  the  creative  life  of  artists,  and  performance-­‐makers  in   particular.  No  doubt  there  are  neurological  and  chemical  impulses  pinging   around,  doing  complicated  things  to  our  brains,  but  that’s  not  my  focus.  My  focus   is  on  productivity.  Why  the  elements  affect  human  creativity  interests  me  far  less   than  how  they  affect  my  creativity  as  a  director.  And  in  terms  of  making  new   performance  work,  what  might  be  the  outcomes  and  implications  of  this  deeper   understanding?       So  the  question  I’m  exploring  is:  How  do  the  effects  and  affects  of  regional   environments  impact  upon  creative  development  processes  devised  by   performing  artists  and  directors?  It’s  a  question  I’ve  begun  to  ask  colleagues,  in   parallel  with  exploring  my  own  experiences  as  I  design  and  develop  the  first   project  of  my  own  creative  enterprise  based  outside  the  city.  There  is  a   confluence  to  their  responses  that  is  perhaps  not  surprising  -­‐  the  relationship   between  the  elements  and  creativity  is  not  exactly  a  new  phenomenon.       As  long  as  humans  have  communicated  by  leaving  marks,  mark-­‐makers  have   sought  to  interpret  natural  phenomena.  The  resonances  between  environment   and  performance  are  core  to  the  singing,  dancing  and  storytelling  on  Country   that  connects  a  landscape  to  the  maintenance  of  cultural  practice  for  Indigenous   communities.       In  the  digital  age  the  visceral  experience  of  extreme  weather,  a  powerful   landscape  or  a  sky  full  of  stars  can  still  reconnect  even  the  most  urban  of   creatures  with  a  long-­‐lost  wildness  and  the  awe-­‐inspiring  quality  of  greatness  or  


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grandeur described  as  the  Sublime.  I  like  Kant’s  idea  that  our  ecstatic  response  to   nature’s  power  is  underpinned  by  terror  of  our  human  frailty,  creating  a  tension   between  the  rational  and  irrational  mind  that  ‘may  be  compared  to  a  vibration’.   [1]     Being  attuned  to  a  sense  of  proximity  to  the  Sublime  and  wildness  is  certainly   part  of  it.  There’s  no  doubt  I  am  affected  by  a  deep  aesthetic  and  emotional   response  to  the  unique  beauty  and  power  of  the  Australian  landscape,  and   particularly  the  landscape  of  my  home  on  the  south  coast.  There  may  even  be  a   quasi-­‐religious  aspect  -­‐  ritual,  solitude  and  quiet  contemplation  -­‐  to  the   experience  of  getting  focused  and  going  into  the  ‘thinking  zone’.       In  considering  how  the  external  environment  affects  internal  focus,  I   am  immediately  drawn  to  the  most  obvious  change  one  feels  on  leaving  the  city  -­‐   a  sense  of  space.  One  experiences  distance,  a  horizon,  we  can  see  things  far  away,   how  the  light  and  weather  changes  over  that  distance.  We  can  feel  our   perspective  and  sense  of  space  and  scale  adjust  as  we  respond  to  a  sweeping   vista,  a  plummeting  canyon,  a  mountain  range,  a  winding  road,  a  forest  walk  or   the  ocean.  Our  bodies  experience  more,  and  there  are  practical  considerations  -­‐   keeping  warm  or  sheltered  from  the  sun  and  wind.  A  sense  of  our  human  scale  in   relation  to  our  surroundings  is  affected.  It  all  adds  up.    

Person in  a  pink  costume  and  wig,  facing  sideways,  with     arms  bent  at  the  Candelo  Village  Festival  -­‐  Photo  Credit:     Paul  McIver  

My fascination  about  the  impact  of  the  Australian  landscape  on  creative   processes,  sparked  in  my  conversations  with  Mike  Shepherd,  founding  artistic   director  of  Cornwall’s  internationally  celebrated  Kneehigh  Theatre,  coinciding   with  my  previously  described  epiphany.  Kneehigh’s  fantastic  show,  ‘The  Red  


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Shoes’, was  in  my  2011  Sydney  Festival,  and  the  company’s  ethos  was  a   revelation  to  me.       Over  its  thirty-­‐year  evolution  from  a  raffish  bunch  of  local  actors  to  a  company  of   national  and  international  acclaim,  the  company’s  creative  teams  have  ‘held  their   nerve’  to  maintain  their  distinctive  way  of  theatre  making  and  regional  identity   as  a  fundamental  artistic  priority.  As  Kneehigh’s  manifesto  makes  clear,  the   elements  are  central  to  their  work  at  The  Barns,  a  series  of  restored  buildings  on   the  rugged  Cornish  coastline,  cheek  by  jowl  with  neighbours’  farmland  and   overlooking  the  sea.       ‘The  isolation  of  the  barns,  and  the  need  to  cook  and  keep  warm  provides  a  real   and  natural  focus  for  our  flights  of  imagination.  This...  radical  choice  informs  all   aspects  of  our  work.  Although  much  of  our  work  is  now  co-­‐produced  with  larger   theatres,  we  always  try  to  start  the  creative  process  at  these  barns,  to  be  inspired   by  our  environment  and  where  we  work.  These  elemental  and  charged  spaces   add  a  physical  and  vocal  robustness  to  our  performance  style.’[2]     Kneehigh’s  early  shows  in  the  80s  took  place  in  ‘less  conventional  places’:     ‘We  created  theatre  on  cliff  tops,  in  preaching  pits  and  quarries,  amongst   gunpowder  works  and  arsenic  wastes,  up  trees,  down  holes,  where  the  river   meets  the  seas  and  where  woodland  footpaths  end.’     Many  of  Kneehigh’s  most  famous  shows  are  retelling  of  myths  animated  in  the   company’s  distinctive  narrative  style,  featuring  natural  light  and  in  particular,   the  shift  from  day  to  night.       ‘The  Red  Shoes  started  outdoors  so  there  was  the  storytelling  element  that  as   dark  fell,  it  affected  the  actual  shape  of  those  stories,  Red  Shoes,  Tristan  and   Isolde.  The  story  deepens  and  the  emotions  deepen  with  the  darkness.’     The  sensuality  and  wildness  of  those  early  theatre-­‐making  experiences  is   embedded  into  the  Kneehigh  rehearsal  process  at  The  Barns:     ‘We’ll  be  out  on  the  field,  or  we’ll  mark  out  the  space  down  on  the  beach  and   we’ll  run  (the  show).  We  get  out  on  the  cliffs  and  we  sing  and  we  run...  then     there’ll  be  times  when  we  focus  on  a  more  intimate  space  indoors,  so  its  a   mixture  of  the  intimate  and  the  epic...All  the  fresh  air  and  the  changes  of  weather   and  the  running  about  give  a  natural  robustness  and  rigour  physically  and   vocally.  We  find  it  hard  in  the  cities  to  get  peoples’  vocal  strength  up,  and  it  just   happens  naturally  here.’     Beyond  the  physical,  Mike  asserts  that  an  awareness  of  the  environment  is  key  to   establishing  a  psychological  state  conducive  to  creativity:       ‘This  place,  the  Barns,  it’s  at  the  end  of  the  United  Kingdom,  it’s  at  the  end  of  the   road,  and  it  has  a  massive  horizon,  which  makes  you  look  outwards,  it  makes  you   have  an  open  mind,  which  is  important...  and  quite  hard  to  keep  a  hold  of.    


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It’s about  getting  people  to  step  back  a  little  bit,  which  they  readily  do,  and  they   look  at  that  horizon  or  light  that  fire,  or  get  their  hands  dirty  or  just  put  a  woolly   jumper  on  if  its  getting  cold.  So  they’re  the  simple  elemental  things  that  I  mean,   really.  You’re  in  a  lot  of  weather.  The  weather’s  changing  a  lot  of  the  time  and   you  do  step  back...  you  eat  together...we  sit  around  that  fire-­‐pit,  you  surround   yourself  with  the  rudimentary  nature  of  things.’     The  shared  or  communal  experience  of  weather  and  environment,  combined   with  the  relaxed  atmosphere  that  is  part  of  the  regional  experience,  also  has  an   effect  on  productivity  and  the  sense  of  ‘flow’  that  is  so  important  to  the  creative   process.  In  my  recent  Platform  Paper  ‘Restless  Giant:  Changing  Cultural  Values  in   Regional  Australia’,  I  offered  this  example:       Recently  I  was  part  of  the  co-­‐creation,  with  playwright  Suzie  Miller  and   singer/songwriter  Zulya  Kamalova,  of  a  new  version  of  Snow  White  co-­‐produced   by  OperaQ,  Brisbane  Festival  and  La  Boite  Theatre.  The  complexity  of  the  works   development  was  tripled  by  the  fact  that  all  three  of  us  were  in  different  cities.   Most  of  our  communication  was  digital,  exchanging  ideas  and  drafts  via  email   and  Dropboxed  sound  files.  But  we  are  very  different  women  and  artists,  and  we   had  never  worked  together  before,  so  there  came  a  point  when  we  needed  to   spend  real  time  together  to  find  our  shared  voice.  Having  found  a  single  weekend   in  our  schedules  we  chose  to  run  away  to  a  beach  shack  on  the  NSW  central   coast.       We  walked  and  talked  and  talked  and  walked  for  three  days,  along  the  coastline,   over  rocks,  through  bushland.  Ideas  flowed  effortlessly,  progress  on  the  work   bounded  ahead  and  we  returned  to  our  various  bases  with  the  heart  of  Snow   White,  and  the  body  of  the  show.  Most  of  our  work  was  done  while  walking  or   driving,  preparing  or  eating  our  meals,  or  sitting  on  the  beach  as  the  sunset  -­‐   casual,  communal  creativity  combined  with  an  accelerated  sense  of  ‘flow’  that   many  regional  artists  know  well.  [3]       Perhaps  this  sense  of  ‘flow’  is  the  nexus  we’re  seeking,  that  there  is  a  logic  or   synergy  between  environmental  flow  and  creative  flow.  Perhaps  landscape   provides  a  physical,  external  counterpoint  to  the  internal  flow  experience  as   described  by  the  psychologist  Mihaly  Csiksentmihalyi,  that  deeply  pleasurable   state  of  optimal  productivity  ‘in  which  people  are  so  involved  in  an  activity  that   nothing  else  seems  to  matter’,  a  state  that  all  high-­‐level  artists  revel  in,  consisting   of  deep  concentration,  high  and  balanced  challenges  and  skills  and  a  sense  of   control  and  satisfaction.  [4]     Solitude  and  silence  are  often  cited  as  essential  by  thinkers  and  writers.  Candelo   singer/songwriter  Heath  Cullen  says:       ‘I  write  well  in  a  cluttered  environment  in  the  city  too,  but  I  have  a  much  bigger   need  -­‐  the  quiet.  Last  night  I  was  out  on  the  porch  and  it  was  so  quiet,  I  could   hear  the  creek  about  a  kilometer  away.’    


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But once  the  writing’s  done,  creating  a  sense  ensemble,  community  and  shared   purpose  are  central  to  the  development  of  new  performance  works.  And  here   too,  the  casual  mode  of  a  regional  environment  can  support  the  creative  process.   The  fact  that  the  atmosphere  s  relaxed  does  not  mean  the  work  is  less  important   -­‐  often  the  work  continues  well  beyond  business  hours  -­‐  timetables  and   schedules  flex;  relationships  are  neighbourly  as  well  as  professional;  people  are   in  and  out  of  each  others  houses  for  rehearsals  and  meetings.  There  are  often   dogs  and  kids  around.       There  is  practical  value  to  the  project  of  extending  that  creative  conversation   over  that  beer  after  rehearsal.  Consciously  or  not,  an  informal  mode  of   ‘reflection-­‐in-­‐action’  is  happening  which  will  inform  the  next  day’s  work.   Philosopher  Donald  Schön’s  example  of  improvising  jazz  musicians  is  apt:       ‘As  the  new  musicians  feel  the  direction  of  the  music  that  is  developing  out  of   their  interwoven  contributions,  they  make  new  sense  of  it  and  adjust  their   performance  to  the  new  sense  they  have  made.  They  are  reflecting-­‐in-­‐action  on   the  music  they  are  collectively  making  and  on  their  individual  contributions  to  it,   thinking  what  they  are  doing,  and  in  the  process,  evolving  their  way  of  doing   it.’[5]     The  shared  meal  and  informal  after-­‐work  gathering,  ubiquitous  rhythms  of   communal  life,  are  rituals  that  underpin  the  creative  process  everywhere,  but  in   regional  Australia  they  too  respond  to  the  natural  environment.  As  Richard   Sennett  points  out  in  his  book  ‘Together:  the  Rituals,  Pleasures  and  Politics  of   Cooperation’:       ‘Ritual  enables  expressive  cooperation  in  religion,  in  the  workplace,  in  politics   and  in  community  life.’     In  summary,  it  is  impossible  for  artists  and  thinkers  to  not  to  be  affected  by  their   surrounding  natural  environment  in  some  or  all  of  these  ways.  Attuned  as  we  are   to  the  sensory  experience  of  light,  sound,  smell,  taste  and  touch;  drawn  as  we  are   to  Beauty  and  the  Sublime;  and  being  creatures  of  community,  it  would  take  a   superhuman,  indeed  unnatural,  effort  to  block  that  ‘flow’.  Better  then  to  abandon   oneself  to  it,  explore  it  and  see  where  it  might  lead  creatively  and  reflectively.       After  a  period  of  residency  at  Bundanon,  Wesley  Enoch  wrote:       ‘...  the  river  and  the  rocks  allow  you  to  think  differently,  (they)  provide   inspiration  and  a  safe  place  to  explore  the  role  of  the  artist.’     This  is  the  very  idea  -­‐  exploring  the  further  potential  of  my  role  as  an  artist  in  an   environment  outside  the  city  -­‐  that  began  with  the  revelation  described  in  the   first  paragraph  of  this  article.  It’s  an  ongoing  project,  shared  by  colleagues   around  the  country.  The  question  of  how  the  effects  of  regional  environments   impact  upon  creative  development  processes  devised  by  performing  artists  and   directors  is  the  subject  of  further  research  I  am  undertaking  as  a  student  at  QUT,  


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and as  Creative  Director  of  my  own  company  ‘Crimson  Rosella’,  based  where  I   live  in  Tathra  on  the  far  south  coast  of  NSW.  •       References:   [1]  https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-­‐aesthetics   [2]  http://www.kneehigh.co.uk     [3]  Restless  Giant:  Changing  Cultural  Values  in  Regional  Australia,  Currency   House,  p.24       [4]  Flow:  the  Classic  Work  on  How  to  Achieve  Happiness  (Rider,  1990)     [5]  Reflection  in  Action,  the  Reflective  Practitioner:  How  Professionals  Think  in   Action.  Schön,  D.  A.  (1983),  New  York:  Basic  Books.      

Lindy Hume  Bio:  

Lindy  Hume,  former  artistic  director  of  Opera  Queensland,  Sydney  Festival,  Perth   International  Arts  Festival,  West  Australian  Opera,  Victoria  State  Opera,  and   OzOpera  has  created  more  than  50  major  productions  across  Australasia,  Europe   and  the  United  States.  International  productions  include  Barber  of  Sevilleand   Comte  Ory  (Seattle  Opera),  Don  Pasquale  (Oper  Leipzig),  La  bohème  (Deutsche   Staatsoper,  Berlin),  Radamisto  (Handel  Festspiele,  Halle),  A  Streetcar  Named   Desire  and  Norma  (Opera  Theatre  St  Gallen,  Switzerland),  Albert  Herring  and   Phaedra  (Aldeburgh  Festival),andThe  Barber  of  Seville,  Rigolettoand  Die   Fledermaus  for  Houston  Grand  Opera.  Her  production  of  “Cenerentola”,  has  been   presented  by  New  Zealand  Opera,  Oper  Leipzig,  San  Diego  Opera  and  the  Royal   Swedish  Opera,  Stockholm.                                  


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The Psychological  Impact  of  Environment  on  Creativity   Gene  M.  Moyle  

When  reflecting  upon  what  ‘environment’  is  in  the  context  of  its  psychological   impact  on  creative  practice,  the  focus  on  people  as  the  environmental  factor  is  an   area  not  as  readily  considered  within  a  creative  setting.  Add  to  this  the  way  in   which  psychology  can  be  utilised  to  assist  artists  explore  people  as  the   environmental  factor  and  its  impact  upon  creativity,  and  we  have  the   opportunity  to  explore  how  other  fields  of  research  and  practice  can  contribute   to  our  understanding.       When  considering  the  ‘people’  factor,  elements  that  play  a  role  within  this   interaction  include:  intra-­‐  and  inter-­‐personal  dynamics;  the  actual  physical   space,  context  and  the  relationships  and  meaning  we  give  to/have  with  it;  and   specific  psychological  and  cognitive  factors  such  as  creativity.  In  the  exploration   of  physical  and  ‘place’  contexts,  Environmental  Psychology  has  been  defined  as   the  exploration  of  the  interplay  between  individuals  and  their  built  and  natural   environment.  [1]  This  concept  of  physical  space,  place-­‐making,  and  the   relationship  to  our  physical  environment/s  in  the  context  of  creative  practice  has   previously  been  explored  in  depth,  therefore  this  article  will  primarily  focus   upon  the  exploration  and  reflection  upon  people  factors  as  an  environmental   impact  upon  creativity.    

Looking through  studio  310  door  at  filled  room  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  James  Dillon  

When  reflecting  on  the  people  factors,  a  point  for  consideration  is  who  we  (as   practitioners)  are  interacting  with  through  the  course  of  our  creating.  Creative   collaborators,  artistic  directors,  producers,  performers,  the  list  goes  on....  Who   are  defined  as  the  leaders  within  this  type  of  context  and  who  makes  up  the   teams?  In  the  business  and  social  behaviour  literature,  research[2]  has   demonstrated  that  Authentic  Leadership  (AL)  promotes  creativity  through  the   creation  of  trust  and  psychological  safety  within  the  leaders  team.  Those  leaders   who  exhibit  high  ethical  standards  and  are  transparent  in  their  relationships,   assist  in  creating  a  team  atmosphere  that  is  characterised  by  a  high  degree  of   trust;  thus  enabling  the  increased  communication  and  knowledge  sharing  of   ideas  and  information,  which  contributes  to  improved  creativity.  Ethical  


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leadership has  additionally  been  found  to  increase  psychological  empowerment   which  in  turn  fostered  creativity.  [3]    

Six dancers  from  the  Liz  Roche  Company  hold  hands  during  a  performance  of   TimeOverDistanceOverTime  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Luca  Truffarelli  

  When  considering  the  notion  of  extrinsic  motivators  and  how  they  are  used  by   leaders  and  organisations,  reward  for  creativity  has  been  found  to  enhance  the   association  between  novelty  and  an  individuals  performance,  dampens  the   relationship  between  usefulness  and  performance,  and  has  no  influence  on  the   relationship  between  integrated  creativity  and  performance.  [4]  However,  when   dealing  with  subjective  art  forms,  what  constitutes  an  extrinsic  reward  from   leaders  and/or  others?  Positive  feedback,  audience  response,  critical  acclaim,   box  office  success?  What  perceived  role  or  impact  do  these  have  upon  creativity,   and  does  this  shift  at  different  points  within  the  creative  process?     Typically,  intrinsic  factors  have  been  viewed  to  be  central  to  the  motivation  of   involvement  in  the  arts  in  light  of  a  love,  passion  or  calling.  Stanko-­‐Kaczmarek   identified  that  intrinsically  motivated  art  students  experienced  significantly   higher  levels  of  positive  affect  and  higher  evaluation  of  their  work  in  all  stages  of   the  creative  process,  when  compared  to  extrinsically  motivated  students.  [5]   Motivation  is  believed  to  sit  at  the  heart  of  the  creativity  process[6],  therefore   when  leading  a  creative  process  or  working  in  collaboration  with  others,  it   would  appear  important  to  invest  the  time  in  understanding  the  motivations  and   motivators  of  these  people  within  our  environment.  Neuroscience,  namely  


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Neuroleadership as  defined  by  David  Rock[7],  provides  a  scientific  basis  from   which  an  understanding  of  our  brains  and  how  they  work  in  relation  to  each   other,  and  can  significantly  assist  in  supporting  how  we  lead  and  interact  with   one  another  to  get  the  best  outcome/performance.  Rocks  SCARF®  model  is  a   brain-­‐based  model  that  has  become  a  foundational  framework  and  approach   within  leadership  development,  and  has  been  applied  within  a  variety  of  sectors   and  industries.  [9]    

David Rock’s  SCARF  Model  -­‐  Image  Credit:  Woithe  &  Co  

Describing  how  we  each  have  a  preference  for  operating  from,  or  being  triggered   by,  one  or  more  of  five  key  domains/cues  (i.e.,  Scarcity,  Certainty,  Autonomy,   Relatedness,  Fairness),  Rock  outlined  that  we  do  this  to  address  our  survival   instinct;  that  is,  the  Approach  (Reward)  -­‐  Avoid  (Threat)  response.  [9]  As  a   leader  in  any  setting,  we  are  encouraged  to  first  understand  what  our  SCARF   preferred  response  is,  and  then  invest  time  identifying  what  each  of  our  team   members  primary  response  entails.  Once  this  is  known,  we  are  challenged  to   adapt  how  we  communicate  and  interact  on  the  basis  of  which  approach  will  get   the  best  response  out  of  people  in  line  with  their  SCARF  preferences.  How  often   do  we  (seriously)  reflect  upon  such  considerations  within  creative  practice   settings?  If  we  aren’t  doing  this  regularly,  how  can  we  start  to  remind  ourselves   about  the  importance  of  recognising  the  potential  interactions  and  impact  that   these  detailed,  complex  and  embedded  attitudes,  behaviours  and  instincts  can   have  upon  ours,  and  others,  creativity?     Shifting  into  the  understanding  of  context  in  the  case  of  creativity,  Glâveanu[10]   outlined  that  cultural  psychology  proposes  that  despite  the  important  role  of  


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individuals and  their  traits  (i.e.,  cognitive,  motivational,  personality)  in  the   process  of  creative  production,  it  suggests  that  people  are  considered  in  a   broader  temporal  and  spatial  context.  That  is,  it  is  defined  by  its  view  of  creative   work  in  time  and  space  as  a  relational  process  between  creators  and  audiences,   and  engaging  existing  cultural  artefacts  in  order  to  generate  new  outputs.  This   perspective  was  based  upon  Glâveanus[11]  sociocultural  reformulation  of  the   conceptualisation  of  the  four  Ps  of  creativity  (i.e.,  person,  process,  product,  and   press)  into  the  five  A’s:  actor,  audience,  action,  affordances,  and  artefacts.     Linking  this  back  to  leadership  and  creativity  within  creative  contexts,  how  often   do  we  invest  time  into  clarifying  how  our  creative  team  is  going  to  operate  -­‐   beyond  the  mechanics  of  what  our  roles  involve?  What  are  the  teams  values?   What  are  the  specific  roles  and  responsibilities  that  each  of  the  members  would   be  expected  to  perform  -­‐  individually  or  collaboratively?  Are  we  conscious  of  the   psychological  factors  at  play  within  the  dynamics  of  our  interactions  with  each   other  and/or  the  environment  and  context  we  are  working  within?  Or  is  it   inherent  within  our  professions  that  we  will  just  know  what  all  these  are  based   upon  our  engagement  as  a  dancer,  producer,  designer,  choreographer;   influenced  by  the  unspoken  hierarchy  that  we  have  learnt  to  conform  to  as  part   of  our  training  -­‐  whether  formal  or  in  the  workplace?    

Six people  congregate  around  lights  and  computers  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  James  Dillon  

Ed  Catmull,  co-­‐founder  of  Pixar  Animation  Studios,  outlines  in  his  account  of   leading  Pixar  and  Disney  Animation  Studios,  that  the  people  and  culture  factors   (i.e.,  psychological  considerations)  within  creative  environments  are  critical  to   success  -­‐  both  in  terms  of  business  and  artistic  results.  [9]  Leadership  within   these  settings  requires  ensuring  that  new  ideas  are  protected  during  


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development stages  then  tested  against  a  brainstrust  of  experienced  creatives,   whose  approach  is  focused  upon  candid  feedback  shared  from  a  perspective  of   improvement,  not  through  fear  and  criticism;  that  communication  does  not   follow  organisational  structures  -­‐  everybody  should  be  able  to  talk  to  anybody;   and  that  leaders  need  to  make  it  safe  to  take  risks  and  focus  on  the  learnings   from  failure.  When  considering  the  literature  in  the  leadership  and  corporate   areas,  when  we  lead  a  project  or  creative  collaboration,  it  is  essential  that  we   consider  such  psychological  factors  in  the  set-­‐up,  operations,  and  completion  of   the  project/s  for  the  group  (i.e.,  the  team).  Incorporated  into  the  framework  of   leadership,  is  an  understanding  of  the  intra-­‐  and  inter-­‐personal  people  factors   that  play  a  crucial  role  as  part  of  the  environment  we  work,  create,  and  practice   in.  Meaning,  belief  systems,  previous  experiences,  world-­‐views,  perception,  and   emotional  and  social  intelligences  all  contribute  to  our  interactions  and   relationships  with  and  within  these  contexts.  How  creative  practice  activities   relate  to  our  own  vision  and  purpose,  both  as  an  individual  and  related  to  our   professional  self,  in  addition  to  whether  they  align  (or  not)  with  our  goals  -­‐  can   impact  or  influence  our  own  creative  process.  Using  the  SCARF  model  [9]  as  a   foundation  for  understanding  individuals  motivations  or  likely  responses,  it   would  appear  helpful  to  invest  some  time  thinking  about  the  range  of  people   factors  within  the  environments  in  which  we  create.  Ensuring  that  we  look  to   other  areas  of  research  and  practice  to  take  away  and  apply  learnings  that  could   make  a  difference  in  our  own  context,  may  be  beneficial  in  looking  at  more   closely  in  our  preparation  to  create  to  the  best  of  our  ability.  •       References:   [1]  Steg,  L.,  van  den  Berg,  A.  E.,  &  de  Groot,  J.  I.  M.  (2012).  Environmental   psychology:  An  introduction(1st  ed.).  Chichester,  West  Sussex:  Wiley-­‐Blackwell.     [2]  Meng,  H.,  Cheng,  Z.,  &  Guo,  T.  (2016).  Positive  team  atmosphere  mediates  the   impact  of  authentic  leadership  on  subordinate  creativity.  Social  Behavior  and   Personality,  44(3),  355-­‐368.  doi:10.2224/sbp.2016.44.3.355     [3]  Basharat  J.,  Atique  A.K.,  Sajid  B.,  &  Surendra,  A.  (2017).  Impact  of  ethical   leadership  on  creativity:  the  role  of  psychological  empowerment.  Current  Issues   in  Tourism,  20:8,  839-­‐851,  doi:  10.1080/13683500.2016.1188894     [4]  Sue-­‐Chan,  C.,  &  Hempel,  P.  S.  (2016).  The  Creativity-­‐Performance   relationship:  How  rewarding  creativity  moderates  the  expression  of  creativity.   Human  Resource  Management,  55(4),637-­‐653.  doi:10.1002/hrm.21682     [5]  Stanko-­‐Kaczmarek,  M.  (2012).  The  effect  of  intrinsic  motivation  on  the  affect   and  evaluation  of  the  creative  process  among  fine  arts  students.  Creativity   Research  Journal,  24(4),  304-­‐310.  doi:10.1080/10400419.2012.730003     [6]  Nakamura,  J.,  &  Csikszentmihalyi,  M.  (2003).  The  motivational  sources  of   creativity  as  viewed  from  the  paradigm  of  positive  psychology.  In  L.  G.  Aspinwall   &  U.  M.  Staudinger  (Eds.),  A  psychology  of  human  strengths:  Fundamental  


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questions and  future  directions  for  a  positive  psychology  (pp.  257  -­‐269).   Washington,  DC:  American  Psychological  Association.     [7]  Ringleb,  A.  H.,  &  Rock,  D.  (2008).  The  emerging  field  of  neuroleadership.   NeuroLeadership  Journal,  1,  1-­‐17.     [8]  Catmull,  E.  E.,  &  Wallace,  A.  (2014).  Creativity,  Inc:  Overcoming  the  unseen   forces  that  stand  in  the  way  of  true  inspiration.  NY:  Random  House.     [9]  Rock,  D.  (2008).  SCARF:  a  brain-­‐based  model  for  collaborating  with  and   influencing  others.  NeuroLeadership  Journal,  1,  1-­‐9.     [10]  Glâveanu,  V.  P.  (2014).  Theorising  context  in  psychology:  The  case  of   creativity.  Theory  &  Psychology,  24(3),  382-­‐398.   doi:10.1177/0959354314529851     [11]  Glâveanu,  V.  P.  (2013).  Rewriting  the  language  of  creativity:  The  five  A's   framework.  Review  of  General  Psychology,  17(1),  69-­‐81.  doi:  10.1037/a0029528     [12]  Amabile,  T.  M.,  &  Pillemer,  J.  (2012).  Perspectives  on  the  social  psychology   of  creativity.  Journal  of  Creative  Behavior,  46(1),  3-­‐15.  doi:10.1002/jocb.001       [13]  Luckman,  S.  (2012).  Locating  cultural  work:  The  politics  and  poetics  of  rural,   regional  and  remote  creativity.  New  York,  NY:  Palgrave  Macmillan.   doi:10.1057/9781137283580     [14]  Rock,  D.  (2011).  Neuroleadership.  Leadership  Excellence,  28(8),11.    

Gene M.  Moyle  Bio:  

Gene  has  worked  across  a  dynamic  mix  of  fields  including  the  performing  arts,   elite  sport  and  the  corporate  sectors.  A  graduate  from  the  Australian  Ballet   School,  QUT  Dance  and  after  working  with  the  Australian  Ballet  Dancers   Company  and  Queensland  Ballet,  Gene  pursued  further  studies  to  become  a   registered  Sport  and  Exercise  Psychologist.  She  has  focused  on  the  application  of   performance  psychology  and  performance  enhancement,  particularly  within  the   performing  arts  and  elite  sport  domains.  Gene  is  a  Non-­‐Executive  Director  and   National  Committee  member  for  a  number  of  professional  and  advisory  boards   across  a  range  of  performing  arts  and  elite  sporting  organisations,  and  is   currently  the  Head  of  School  -­‐  School  of  Creative  Practice  at  QUT  Creative       Industries.  staff.qut.edu.au/staff/moyleg  


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An  Inverse  Trend   Vicky  Van  Hout    

A dancer  stands  with  one  arm  partially  raised  in  the  Long  Grasses  of  Darwin    

Australian  Indigenous  Dance  an  Inverse  Trend  -­‐  bringing  the  outdoors  indoors:   As  Eurocentric  contemporary  choreographers  continue  to  clamour  in  great   numbers  to  leave  their  theatrical  habitats,  Australian  Indigenous  performance   makers  have  been  exploring  the  scope  of  possibility  from  an  inverse  trend,  of   infiltrating  into  the  theatrical  spaces.  From  a  cultural  practice  that  has  been   traditionally  performed  outdoors,  the  concepts  of  the  environment  and  site   specificity  are  inextricably  bound  to  my  works  and  those  of  my  contemporary   indigenous  choreographic  peers,  as  cultural  thematic  drivers  and  as  indicators   for  mandatory  cultural  consultancy  and  permissions  is  no  longer  confined  to   representations  of  performance  in  situ  on  country.  In  order  to  illustrate  the   many  ways  in  which  site  specificity  continues  to  inform  and  impact  Australian   indigenous  dance,  I  will  provide  a  brief  description  of  the  diversity  of  currently   existing  (although  not  regulated  or  officially  recognised)  Indigenous  dance   categories  or  genres,  their  manifestations  and  purposes.  I  will  outline  the  initial   anthropological  significance  of  Australian  Indigenous  art  making  conducted  


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before British  settlement,  which  lead  to  the  formation  of  the  resultant  genres  in   reaction  to  the  colonisation  process.  Focusing  on  the  Aboriginal  human  rights   activist  movement  of  the  1960s  and  70s,  in  combination  with  and  in   juxtaposition  to  American  dance  theorist  Susan  Leigh  Fosters  research  into  the   American  resistance  and  post-­‐modernist  dance  movements,  I  will  locate  this   form  of  social  activism  as  the  tipping  point  for  greater  visibility  and   opportunities  for  Aboriginal  arts  and  artists  citing  my  experience  in  conjunction   with  performances  from  myself  and  my  Australian  Indigenous  peers.     Locating  Australian  Indigenous  Dance  Location  is  of  paramount  importance  in   the  Australian  Indigenous  artistic  lexicon.  The  first  thing  another  Indigenous   person  will  ask  is,  ‘Where  are  they  from?’  Or,  ‘Who’s  their  mob?  Who  are  they   related  to?’  This  geographical  line  of  enquiry  represents  a  mandatory   prerequisite  applicable  to  all  indigenous  artistic  styles  and  cultural  practices.   These  styles  have  come  to  unofficially  include  those  considered  ‘traditional’   which  are  indicative  of  an  unbroken  lineage  of  expression  extending  before  the   advent  of  English  settlement  and  are  primarily  performed  as  part  of  cultural   ceremonies  including  funerals  and  men’s  coming  of  age  practices.  Another  is  the   ‘contemporary  traditional’  aesthetic,  similar  in  appearance  and  content  to  the   ‘traditional’  (often  remote)  community  styles.  Contemporary  traditional  dances   and  groups  are  post-­‐colonial  constructs  consisting  of  reimagined  or  revitalized   dance  practices  including  reclaiming  lost  languages.  Caused  by  the  systemic   breaking  up  of  families  due  to  forced  removal  off  homelands  and   institutionalization,  these  dances  focus  on  reconnecting  a  relationship  to  the   environment.  Contemporary  traditional  art  and  performance  is  promoted   through  many  avenues  including,  cultural  tourism  and  as  strategies  within  the   education  and  state  or  government  systems  to  promote  positive  Indigenous   acknowledgement  and  community  engagement.  Lastly  a  ‘contemporary   Indigenous’  artistic  style  is  an  umbrella  term,  which  may  or  may  not  include  both   the  unbroken  and  recently  formed  ‘traditional’  styles.  The  term  ‘contemporary   indigenous’  generally  refers  to  the  works  that  are  presented  within  the   mainstream  Eurocentric  contemporary  artistic  spaces  and  movements.     Aboriginal  Dance  -­‐  from  the  Dreaming:   Indigenous  art  making  processes  including,  painting,  storytelling,  song  and   dance,  were  inherently  site  specific  acts  chronicling  ‘Dreaming’  activities.   Anthropologists  Spencer  and  Gillen  were  the  first  Europeans  to  document  a   universal  Australian  Aboriginal  concept  of  ‘The  Dreaming’  or  ‘Dreamtime’   fundamentally  binding  the  people  in  a  geographical  relationship  to  the  land,   called  the  Alcheringa  by  the  Arrernte  people  in  1899.  [1]  The  Alcheringa  is  a   complex  non-­‐linear  definition  of  time  and  place  known  as  the  cold  or  Nyitting   time  by  the  Nyoongar  of  WA[2]  and  the  time  when  the  Yolngu  Wangarr  spirits   came  to  rest,  creating  the  land  and  all  of  its  features  in  North  East  Arnhem  land.   [3]  The  Dreaming  is  accessed  through  action.  Through  the  acts  of  artistic   expression  participants  are  present  here  and  now  while  simultaneously   communicating  with  the  first  hybrid  entities,  the  prototypes  of  all  beings  existing   thousands  of  years  beforehand.       A  Personal  Initiation  to  Cultural  Dance  from  the  Kimberleys:  


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As a  young  Aboriginal  dancer,  I  realised  the  geographical  significance  in  relation   to  cultural  arts  practices  when  I  first  embarked  on  a  ‘traditional  trip’  as  part  of   the  NAISDA  (National  Aboriginal/Islander  Skills  Development  Association)   Dance  College  in  1987,  to  Christmas  Creek  and  surrounding  townships.       Earlier  in  the  year,  the  representatives  from  the  Kimberly  region  of  Western   Australia  had  come  to  the  College,  then  based  in  the  inner  city  suburb  of  Glebe  in   Sydney.  They  were  kin  relatives  of  a  fellow  student  Josephine  Ningali  Lawford.   Their  names  were  Nipper  (Buck)  Tubagee,  who  was  songman  (and  renowned   Aboriginal  rights  activist  establishing  better  living  conditions  for  the  remote   Noonkanbah  community  in  the  1970s)  with  dancers  and  fellow  elders  Peter  and   Dora  Francis.       While  the  Kimberley  Elders  were  in  residence  in  Sydney,  we  learned  their   dances.  The  days  were  long  and  the  dances  small  and  repetitive  in  comparison  to   the  mainstream  techniques  including  classical  ballet  and  Graham  based  Modern   taught  at  the  college.  The  women’s  dances  were  smaller  and  far  less  spectacular   than  the  men’s  counterpart,  which  was  punctuated  with  dynamic  stomps  whilst   holding  elaborate  woven  woolen  artefacts  in  their  hands  and  propped  on   shoulders  behind  their  heads.  The  women’s  kinesthetic  vocabulary  consisted  of   more  subtle  gestures  danced  in  unison  as  a  collective  organism,  in  comparison  to   the  virtuosity  of  the  men’s  input.       The  days  on  country  at  Christmas  Creek  were  even  slower  in  pace  than  our  taste   of  the  remote  WA  homelands  in  the  city.  Slower  than  I  could’ve  imagined  before   actually  travelling  to  the  isolated  town  camp  we  would  call  home  for  the  next  few   weeks.  On  this,  my  first  ‘traditional’  trip,  I  remember  the  dry  heat  of  the  day  and   the  plummeting  temperatures  at  night.  I  remember  seeing  children  at  the  local   school  with  legs  thinner  than  my  forearms.  I  remember  all  of  the  women  had   closely  shorn  hair.  I  remember  tap  dancing  on  an  outdoor  stage  constructed  of   doors  for  the  community.  I  remember  the  iron  rich  red  dirt  penetrating  every   orifice,  every  nook,  cranny,  crag  and  corner  of  my  being  and  everything  I  owned   for  weeks,  months  and  years  afterward.  I  remember  feeling  privileged  amongst  a   community  with  little  material  wealth,  feeling  simultaneously  guilty  and   comforted  in  the  knowledge  of  the  modern  conveniences  awaiting  me  back  home   in  Sydney.      

A cast  member  of  Briwyant  sits  on  the  floor,  surrounded  by  playing  cards  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Jeff   Busby  


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I  remember  (this  story  I  have  told  many  times  before)  after  what  seemed  an   eternity,  we  were  going  to  finally  dance.  At  around  midday,  we  followed  the   women  to  a  clearing  of  spinifex.  We  took  off  our  tops  and  pushed  the  thick  ribbed   bands  of  our  bras  to  our  waists.  Our  chests  were  then  slathered  in  a  slippery   shiny  film  of  Crisco  cooking  oil  in  preparation  for  paint-­‐up.  The  ochre  turned  a   deep  red  when  it  came  in  contact  with  the  cooking  oil  and  our  skin.  The  spinifex   did  nothing  to  protect  us  from  the  damaging  rays  and  my  shoulders  were  hot  to   touch  from  over  exposure  to  the  misleading  dry  heat  from  the  bright  cloudless   sky.  After  we  were  painted,  we  sat  for  what  seemed  like  an  eternity.  By  this  time,   my  bra  was  back  up  over  my  shoulders  and  my  top  was  back  on.  In  our  huddled   formation  all  I  could  think  about  was  the  price  of  my  forever  ruined  b-­‐cup  as  the   oil  saturated  pigment  seeped  into  the  formerly  pristine  woven  fabric  of  my   undergarments.       We  walked  back  to  camp  as  the  too  hot  sun  was  dying  and  adjourned  to  our   temporary  abodes  to  wait  some  more.  It  got  dark  and  we  ate  dinner.  I  remember   drifting  off  to  sleep  to  be  wakened  with  the  promise  of  performance.  As  the   evening  chill  started  to  settle  in  my  bones  the  men  started  to  dance.  Seated   bodies  watched  the  performance,  slightly  to  the  right  of  the  songman.  Some  of  us   girls  practiced  steps  in  anticipation  of  our  turn  behind  the  audience  seated  on   the  hard  cold  red  dirt.  Although  we  mostly  cradled  large  enamel  mugs  of  sugary   black  tea,  less  for  the  taste,  more  for  the  respite  it  presented  in  lieu  of  standing   on  top  of  the  low  burning  fire  nearby  for  a  share  of  the  scant  heat  emanating   from  its  dull  embers.       We  danced  for  ten  minutes  in  total  that  night,  with  our  pictorially  painted   breasts  safely  concealed  under  our  damaged  underwear.  Our  contribution  was   ended  before  I  was  physically  satiated.  I  remember  feeling  cheated.       Then  the  men  danced  some  more.       It  took  years  of  reflection  in  hindsight  to  appreciate  the  fact  that  our  dance  was   not  confined  to  the  10  minute  performance  in  front  of  the  community.  All  of  our   actions  that  day:  the  walking  to  the  place  a  little  apart  from  camp,  the  paint-­‐up,   the  sitting  and  waiting,  the  anticipation  of  performance  and  the  secret  shared   practice  concealed  at  the  back  of  the  camp,  the  agonizingly  slow  pace  at  which   everything  transpired,  formed  a  vital  component  of  the  greater  dance  act.       (Before  we  left  the  community  we  were  given  dancing  necklaces,  some  the  length   of  our  standing  selves.  The  rope  holding  the  nuts  together  answering  the   question  of  the  commonly  close  cut  coiffures  of  the  locals.)       The  Birth  of  the  Political  Artist/Activist-­‐  happenings  heralding  change:   The  emergence  of  an  assertive  Aboriginal  political  activist  movement  in  the  early   70s  which  was  inspired  by  the  US  African  American  fight  for  human  rights   activities,  played  an  intrinsic  role  in  the  diversification  of  Australian  Indigenous   performative  arts.  These  human  rights  activities  included  freedom  rides  against   segregation  in  rural  NSW[4],  emulating  those  of  Americas  Deep  South[5],  and  the  


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creation of  an  Australian  Aboriginal  arm  of  the  Black  Panther  movement,  which   took  an  assertive  proactive  stance.  [6]  This  assertive  self-­‐determined  approach   precipitated  the  emergence  of  the  Black  Theatre  of  Redfern  who  created   innovative  theatrical  works  to  address  Aboriginal  inequality,  organising  perhaps   the  most  significant  site  specific  act  in  Australia  -­‐  the  Aboriginal  Tent  Embassy.     In  the  Early  hours  of  27th  January  in  1972,  four  Aboriginal  men  travelled  from   Redfern  to  Canberra,  funded  by  the  Australian  Communist  Party,  to  pitch  a  tent   on  the  lawns  of  what  is  now  known  as  Old  Parliament  House  in  protest  of  an   address  delivered  by  Prime  Minister  McMahon  concerning  Aboriginal  welfare  by   promoting  assimilation  in  a  plan  which  detailed  a  proposal  to  grant  fifty  year   leases  of  traditional  lands  back  to  communities,  so  long  as  they  made  ‘...   Reasonable  economic  and  social  use  of  that  land’[7]  in  accordance  with  the   colonialist  agenda  of  capitalism  and  consumerism.       American  dance  theorist  Susan  Leigh  Foster  recognised  the  performative   significance  of  the  U.S.  civil  rights  resistance  movement,  which  influenced  the   development  of  the  Australian  Aboriginal  activist  movement,  as  site  specific  acts   of  creative  merit  and  social  import.  Foster  referred  to  the  physical  intervention   of  the  1960  African  American  dinner  sit-­‐ins,  whereby  Black  college  students   requested  service  whilst  seated  in  the  whites  only  areas  of  the  cafeterias,  as  a   ‘choreography  of  protest’.  [8]  Foster  described  the  subversive  mobilisation  of   bodies  which  was  realised  through  an  opportunity  to  seize  economic  leverage   through  the  subsequent  nationwide  drop  in  sales,  which  contributed  to  the   eradication  of  segregation  as  integrated  service  resumed.  [9]      

Cast members  of  Briwyant  gather  around  a  table;  behind  them  is  a  projected  image  of  a  road  on   window  blinds  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Jeff  Busby  

The  Aboriginal  Tent  Embassy  similarly  presented  itself  as  a  powerful  critical   creative  and  political  durational  site  specific  happening  by  forming  tongue-­‐in-­‐ cheek  Aboriginal  shadow  ministry  which  utilised  the  media,  including  the   burgeoning  television  industry,  to  bring  international  attention  to  the  current   plight  of  Aboriginal  human  rights[7],  the  epitome  of  which  was  securing  a  sit-­‐ down  meeting  with  the  then  shadow  Labor  leader  Gough  Whitlam  who  would  


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eventually succeed  McMahon  in  November  of  the  same  year.[7]  While  in  office,   Whitlam  would  implement  significant  improvements  to  Aboriginal  people  in  the   areas  of  health,  land  rights  and  the  arts  which  was  bolstered  by  the  creation  of  an   Aboriginal  Board  within  the  formation  of  the  Australia  council  for  the  Arts  to   promote  the  visibility  of  Aboriginal  arts  and  artists  within  the  mainstream  arts   sector.       The  Contemporary  Australian  Indigenous  Lexicon-­‐  my  work  and  that  of  my  peers   Fast  forward  twenty-­‐three  years,  sitting  alone  in  track  8  at  Carriageworks  in  the   inner  Sydney  city  suburb  of  Eveleigh,  amidst  forty  interconnected  grey  jigsaw   mats,  equipped  with  a  piece  of  chalk,  a  stanley  knife  and  a  small  mound  of  boxes   of  cheap  playing  cards,  I  constructed  a  river.  Each  card  was  representative  of  a   dot,  designed  to  make  the  eyes  dance  as  they  would  a  dazzling  desert  painting,  in   the  attempt  to  elevate  its  significance  from  decorative  set  piece  to  sacred   artefact.  The  completed  river  resembled  and  represented  a  cartographer’s  map   of  my  Grandmother’s  country  of  Euabalong  and  the  Lachlan  river  when  viewed   from  above.  All  of  the  choreography  occurred  on  either  side  of  its  artificial  banks.   In  one  section,  the  dancers  travelled  its  length  over  and  over  and  in  the  dance’s   final  vignette  they  systematically  flattened  its  raised  contours,  marking  the  end   of  the  dreaming  narrative  for  which  it  was  created.       This  elaborate  set  piece  was  dismantled  and  resurrected  in  several  theatres  on   national  tour.  Briwyant,  the  work  it  belonged  to,  was  indicative  of  my  intention   to  transpose  the  theatre  into  my  Grandmother’s  ancestral  homelands  as  an   example  of  the  memory  practices,  which  first  occurred  as  people  were  forced  off   their  lands  onto  group  settlements.       Kuku  Yalanji  artist  Marilyn  Millers  choreography  Quinkin  (Critical  Path  2003),   based  on  a  Queensland  Dreaming  narrative  containing  two  inter  related   spirits[10],  utilised  western  artistic  convention  to  ensure  the  perpetuation  of  her   homeland  culture.  Similarly,  Francis  Rings  demonstrated  her  connection  to  her   cultural  homelands  in  her  choreographic  piece  X300  (2007)  which  acted  as  a   contemporary  Dreaming  construct  charting  the  Maralinga  atomic  bomb  testing   conducted  in  1956-­‐57.  The  precedence  for  contemporary  themed  narratives  to   be  added  to  the  Australian  Indigenous  performance  lexicon  includes  the  Tiwi   Islander  chronicling  of  the  bombing  of  Darwin[11]  and  the  Borroloola  Aeroplane   Dance  whose  song  and  dance  documents  the  downfall  of  an  American  WWII   bomber.     Lastly,  many  of  Artistic  Director  Stephen  Page’s  Bangarra  choreographies   transform  major  international  venues  into  satellite  Yolgnu  territories  through   danced  and  voiced  vocabularies  originally  reserved  for  ceremony,  including  the   signature  work  Ochres  (1994),  which  utilises  gestures  charting  Macassin  trading   predating  British  settlement.       For  many  contemporary  Australian  Indigenous  artists,  we  see  ourselves  as   heritage  makers,  creating  works  demonstrating  the  vitality  of  Australian   Indigenous  culture  as  a  living  ontology,  which  is  continually  being  augmented   and  reinvigorated  through  contemporary  artistic  demonstrations.  Those  early  


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Aboriginal activists  used  their  site  specific  demonstrations  to  provide  a  pathway   for  contemporary  urban  Australian  Aboriginal  people  to  build  contemporary   practices  in  the  metropolitan  theatrical  spaces;  to  create  opportunities  for   cultural  maintenance  despite  broken  ancestral  songlines  and  access  to  country.   One  of  the  biggest  activist  legacies,  the  ATSI  board  of  the  Australia  council,   continues  to  facilitate  meaningful  Indigenous  representation  in  the  arts   evidenced  by  the  creation  of  the  Working  with  Aboriginal  Arts  Protocols  guide   (WAAP  2007)[12]  regulating  the  mandatory  implementation  of  the  formerly   more  colloquial  enquiry  and  consultancy  into  location  of  country  and  kin,  as  a   crucial  component  of  every  indigenous  creative  endeavor,  including  all   manifestations  of  Australian  Indigenous  arts  practice.  •       References   [1]  Spencer,  B  &  Gillen  FJ  2014,  The  Native  Tribes  of  Central  Australia,  reprint  of   1899,  London:  MacMillan,  London,  last  viewed  20  June  2015,   https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/spencer/baldwin/s74n/Trezise,  P  &   Roughsey,  D  1978,  The  Quinkins,  Collins,  Sydney.     [2]  Robertson,  F  Stasiuk,  G  Nannup,  N  &  Hopper,  S  2016,  ‘Ngalak  koora  koora   djinang  (Looking  back  together):  a  Nyoongar  and  scientific  collaborative  history   of  ancient  Nyoongar  boodja’,  Australian  Aboriginal  Studies,  vol.  1,  pp.  40-­‐54,  last   viewed  15  March  2017,  Academic  Search  Premier,  EBSCO  host.               [3]  Keen,  I  2006,  ‘Ancestors,  magic,  and  exchange  in  Yolngu  doctrines:  extensions   of  the  person  intime  and  space’,  Journal  Of  The  Royal  Anthropological  Institute,   vol.  12,  no.  3,pp.  515-­‐530.     [4]  National  Museum  of  Australia,  Freedom  Ride  1965,  Collaborating  for   Indigenous  Rights,  last  viewed  2  April  2017,   http://indigenousrights.net.au/civil_rights/feedom_ride,_1965     [5]  History.com  2017,  Freedom  Rides,  last  viewed  21  September  2015,   http://www.history.com/topics/black-­‐history/freedom-­‐rides     [6]  Foley,  G  2001,  Black  Power  In  Redfern  1968-­‐1972,  The  Koori  History   Website,  last  viewed  11November  2015,   http://kooriweb.org/foley/essays/essay_1.html     [7]  Foley,  G  Schaap,  A  &  Howell,  E  (eds)  2014,  The  Aboriginal  Tent  Embassy:   Sovereignty,  Black  Power,  Land  Rights  and  the  State,  Routledge,  Oxon  &  New   York.     [8]  Foster,  S  2002,  Walking  and  Other  Choreographic  Tactics:  Danced  Inventions   of  Theatricality  and  Performativity,  SubStance,  vol.  31,  no.  2/3,  issue  98/99,   pp.125-­‐146.     [9]  Foster,  S  2003,  Choreographies  of  Protest,  Theatre  Journal,  vol.  55,  no.  3,pp.   395-­‐412.    


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[10] Trezise,  P  &  Roughsey,  D  1978,  The  Quinkins,  Collins,  Sydney.     [11]  Kuipers,  L  2010,  March  15  Aeroplane  Dance  in  Borroloola,  Australia,   YouTube,  last  viewed  2  April   2017,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYbJOVh-­‐dkwKuipers,  L  2013,  March   19,  Bombing  of  Darwin  Dance  by  Tiwi  Aborigines,  Australia,  YouTube  online   video,  last  viewed  2  April  2017,   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24sJ6mu9WQQ     [12]  Australia  Council  for  the  Arts  2007,  Performing  Arts:  Protocols  for   Producing  Indigenous  Australian  Performing  Art:  2nd  edition,  last  viewed  18   March  2017,  http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/about/protocols-­‐for-­‐working-­‐ with-­‐indigenous-­‐artists/Bangarra  Dance  Theatre  2017,  22  May  2017,   https://www.bangarra.com.au/     [13]  Marrugecku  2017,  last  viewed  22  May  2017,   http://www.marrugeku.com.au/      

Vicky Van  Hout  Bio:  

Vicki  van  Hout,  Choreographer;  is  a  Wiradjuri  woman  and  independent   choreographer,  performance-­‐maker  and  teacher.  She  has  worked  across  a  range   of  performance  mediums  nationally  and  internationally.  A  graduate  of  the   National  Aboriginal  Islander  Dance  College  (NAISDA),  Vicki  has  learnt  and   performed  dances  from  Yirrkala,  Turkey  and  Christmas  Creeks,  Mornington  and   Bathurst  Islands,  as  well  as  Murray,  Moa  and  Saibai  Islands  in  the  Torres  Strait.   Vicki  also  studied  at  the  Martha  Graham  School  of  Contemporary  Dance  in  New   York  and  has  danced  with  companies  including  Aboriginal  Islander  Dance   Theatre  and  Bangarra  Dance  Theatre.       Vicki  was  awarded  the  2014  NSW  Dance  Fellowship  for  established  and  mid-­‐ career  artists  -­‐  the  first  Indigenous  winner  of  the  Fellowship.                                  


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Thoughts on  Deepspace   James  Batchelor    

James Batchelor  dances  on  deck;  a  craggy  island  can  be  seen  in  the  distance  -­‐  Photo  Credit:   Charles  Tambiah  

Thoughts  on  Mapping:   I  remember  how  much  I  loved  my  childhood  desk,  which  had  a  map  of  the  world   on  its  surface.  It  was  communicative  and  expressive,  yet  at  the  same  time   mysterious  and  romantic.  Presenting  the  world  as  flat,  I  was  endlessly  curious   about  its  edges.  A  map  in  its  minimal  elegance  tempts  our  imagination  about   what  is  left  out,  what  it  does  not  show.       I  was  particularly  interested  in  the  white  mass  at  the  bottom  of  the  desk  -­‐  a   continent  with  no  cities.  Antarctica  was  a  mysterious  place  that  I  wanted  to   discover.  My  first  major  work  ‘ISLAND’,  was  partly  inspired  by  writings  of  early   Antarctic  explorers  and  the  difficulties  they  encountered  in  mapping  an   environment  that  had  so  few  visual  markers.  I  was  extremely  fortunate  that  the   then  Director  of  the  Institute  for  Marine  and  Antarctic  Studies  in  Hobart,   Professor  Mike  Coffin,  decided  to  come  and  see  ‘ISLAND’.  After  this  encounter,   we  met  to  imagine  ways  that  we  could  work  together.  He  asked  if  I  would  like  to   work  on  a  research  expedition  at  sea  and  I  was  immediately  fascinated  by  the   potential.  To  have  an  opportunity  to  go  to  Antarctica  and  research  it  through  my   own  body  was  a  dream.       Nearly  two  years  later  in  January  2016,  I  joined  a  team  of  60  scientists,  students,   artists  and  ships  crew  on  an  expedition  to  the  sub-­‐Antarctic  Heard  and   McDonald  Islands.  Not  Antarctica  itself,  but  equally  fascinating.  Floating  on  the   oceans  surface  in  one  of  the  most  isolated  places  on  Earth,  science  and  art   processes  converged  with  surprising  synergies.  It  was  a  particularly  unique  and   inspiring  space  to  study  and  research  the  body  in  movement.  On  a  constantly   moving  platform,  simply  searching  for  stillness  and  stability  was  a  task  in  itself.  


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It was  a  relentless  project.  For  two  months  at  sea,  it  demanded  extreme  patience   and  flexibility  to  meet  the  myriad  of  challenges  that  exist  in  such  harsh   environments.  The  isolation,  confinement  and  repetitiveness  of  our  daily   experience  prompted  a  profoundly  unique  approach  to  space  and  time.  From  this   unfamiliarity,  I  developed  a  particular  sensitivity  to  the  body.      

James Batchelor  fits  his  body  horizontally  between  parts  of  the  ship  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Charles   Tambiah  

In  embarking  on  this  expedition,  my  primary  question  was;  could  my  body  be  a   map?  I  wondered  how  it  could  be  a  record  and  what  information  it  could  hold  in   its  physical  intelligence.  In  dealing  with  this  task,  I  had  to  determine  what  I   wanted  to  map.  For  many  weeks  we  saw  only  endless  ocean  from  horizon  to   horizon.  I  got  to  know  the  ocean  intimately  -­‐  its  colours,  patterns  and  movement.   Occasionally,  I  would  peer  through  a  porthole  window  to  see  beneath  its  surface.   Despite  its  mesmerising  visual  beauty,  I  craved  contact  with  it.  So  far  my   experience  relied  heavily  on  what  I  could  see,  what  I  needed  was  touch  and   sensation.  I  would  visit  the  Operations  Room  where  the  acoustic  instruments   were  generating  maps  of  the  environment  beneath  the  ship  in  real  time.  Taking   note  of  the  depth,  I  liked  to  see  how  long  it  would  take  me  to  run  that  distance  on   the  treadmill,  imagining  myself  running  vertically  downwards  towards  the  ocean   floor.  Running  on  a  treadmill  on  the  ocean  is  an  extremely  profound  experience,   almost  impossible  to  do  without  holding  on.  Carried  by  the  movement  of  the   ship,  you  are  continuously  running  on  many  different  planes.  I  discovered  that   although  I  was  not  physically  in  contact  with  the  ocean,  by  simply  being  on  the   ship,  I  was  experiencing  its  motion.  I  found  that  I  had  to  learn  again  how  my   body  would  walk,  run,  sleep,  eat,  and  breathe  with  its  relentless  presence.      


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Master sculptor  Barbara  Hepworth  once  said  ‘I,  the  sculptor,  am  the  landscape’.   [1]  Her  relationship  to  the  material  world  was  one  of  communicating;   transmitting  form,  intuition  and  intelligence  from  body  to  body.  ‘I  cannot  write   anything  about  landscape  without  writing  about  the  human  figure  and  the  human   spirit  inhabiting  the  landscape  -­  the  balance  of  sensation  and  the  evocation  of  man   in  his  universe’.  [1]  While  on  the  expedition,  I  discovered  that  the  environment   that  I  could  most  meaningfully  engage  with  physically,  was  the  one  I  was  in   contact  with;  the  ship  itself.  Inspired  by  Hepworth,  I  began  a  process  of   understanding  the  ship  by  touch.  I  thought  about  my  skin,  the  largest  organ  of   the  body,  as  the  first  contact  point  with  the  ship.  Through  the  immediacy  of   touch,  I  could  map  the  ships  environment  and  measure  it  against  my  body  as  a   ‘known’  quantity.     It  was  a  process  in  experimental  cartography:  interrogating  form,  documentation   and  translation.  Each  day,  I  would  set  up  improvisations  in  different  areas  of  the   ship,  moulding  my  body  around  its  surfaces,  measuring  the  distance  between   points  in  space.  I  would  also  film  these  improvisations;  sometimes  from  my  own   perspective,  other  times  from  afar.       By  the  end  of  the  expedition,  I  had  touched  nearly  every  surface  on  the  ship  and   in  my  skin  I  held  a  physical  record.  The  next  task  is  to  see  how  this  record  is   transmitted.  What  does  it  communicate,  how  is  it  useful?  I  am  currently   developing  a  series  of  works  from  large-­‐scale  theatre  to  intimate  gallery   performances  that  continue  this  research.  Again  like  Hepworth,  it  is  now  a   process  of  communication  from  body  to  body;  both  for  the  dancers  I  work  with   and  the  audiences  I  perform  to.  What  I  am  finding  now,  is  that  although  I  can   somewhat  recreate  movement  and  sensation  from  the  ship  environment,  as  my   memory  fades  it  is  more  interesting  to  study  the  method  itself.  The  physical  act   of  sensing,  interpreting  and  recording.  The  process  of  mapping  rather  than  the   map.       Thoughts  on  measurement:     Measuring  is  a  way  of  processing  what  we  sense,  a  tool  to  define  our  relationship   to  the  universe  in  space  and  time.       On  the  expedition,  there  were  many  measuring  processes  in  action.  The   scientists  used  highly  sophisticated  instruments  to  measure  the  ocean   environment.  The  ships  crew  relied  on  measuring  distances  precisely  to  navigate   our  course.       I  was  of  course  busy  measuring  with  movement.  In  movement,  the  body   measures  space  and  time  very  specifically.  It  is  an  internal  process,  based  on  our   own  sense  of  scale.  Every  step  and  every  turn  is  a  measuring  process  and   remains  in  the  history  of  the  body.    


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James Batchelor  suspends  himself  using  parts  of  the  ship  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Charles  Tambiah  

Fellow  voyage  artist  Annalise  Rees,  was  using  this  same  bodily  sense  of  scale  to   translate  what  she  saw  to  pencil  and  paper.  The  physical  act  of  drawing  was  also   a  real  time  process  of  measuring  taking  place  in  her  body.       But  why  measure?  Measurements  are  crucial  to  knowledge;  they  are  evidence,   the  basis  from  which  we  understand  phenomena.  There  is  no  meaning  in  the   measurements  themselves.  Knowledge  is  in  the  synthesis,  links  and  connections  


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between them.  There  is  a  process  of  filtering,  selecting  and  discarding  that   inevitably  needs  to  take  place.       How  do  we  know  what  we  are  looking  for?  This  appeared  to  be  one  of  the  major   differences  between  the  arts  and  science  teams;  the  scientists  seemed  to  have  a   pretty  good  idea  of  what  they  were  hoping  to  find  whereas  the  artists  had  less   expectation.  The  scientists  sought  to  confirm,  while  the  artists  sought  to   challenge.  Yet  we  could  not  have  launched  the  expedition  at  all  without  a  strong   scientific  hypothesis.  Perhaps  the  artists  had  more  of  a  luxury  for  openness.       For  me  of  course,  the  interesting  part  is  not  the  conclusions  or  answers  that   could  potentially  be  formed,  but  the  search  itself.  What  does  it  mean  to  practice   science?  For  me  on  this  expedition,  I  felt  for  the  first  time  I  could  participate  in   science.  To  critically  sense  and  measure  space  through  the  body  was  already   scientific,  albeit  in  an  unconventional  way.  We  were  at  least  all  committed  to  a   process  of  inquiry  and  ready  to  question  the  practices  through  which  we  do  it.       This  became  an  interesting  discovery  on  the  expedition,  that  in  the  simultaneous   practice  of  science  and  art,  all  systems  can  be  questioned.  The  known  can  again   be  unknown.       Thoughts  on  the  Unknown:     What  drives  us  as  humans  to  explore  the  unknown  from  the  deep  ocean,  to  deep   space?  What  is  the  physical  encounter  with  the  unknown?  How  do  we  recognise   it?  How  do  we  capture  it?   The  expedition  was  for  me  an  encounter  with  the  unknown,  immersing  myself   within  an  environment  of  complete  unfamiliarity.  This  proved  to  be  extremely   inspiring.       A  quote  from  one  of  my  favourite  philosophers  Thomas  Hulme  reminds  me  that   to  be  human  is  to  accept  that  ultimately  we  must  deal  with  uncertainty.  ‘There  is   a  difficulty  in  finding  a  comprehensive  scheme  of  the  cosmos,  because  there  is  none.   -­  [The]  [w]orld  is  indescribable.’[2]       Accepting  this  thought  has  guided  me  towards  an  emphasis  on  process  rather   than  outcome,  of  practice  rather  than  theory.  Research  for  me  is  in  the  doing.   With  our  limited  capacity  as  humans  to  understand  and  describe  the  complexity   of  the  universe,  there  is  yet  something  beautiful  in  the  attempt  and  ultimately   our  failure.  Perhaps  it  is  the  search  itself  that  is  inherently  human.  •       References     [1]  Barbara  Hepworth,  ‘Studio  International  171’  -­‐  June  1966;  as  quoted  in   “Voicing  our  visions,  -­‐  Writings  by  women  artists”,  ed.  by  Mara  R.  Witzling,   Universe  New  York  1991,  p.  280   Barbara  Hepworth,  “A  Pictorial  autobiography”,  Praeger  Publishers,  New  York,   1970,p.  280    


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[2] Thomas  Hulme.  “Speculations  Essays  On  Humanism  and  the  Philosophy  of   Art  ed  by  Herbert  Read,  London,  Kegan  Paul,  Trench,  Trubner  &  Co  LTD,  1936,   p220            

James Batchelor  bent  over  with  arms  in  an  ‘L’  shape  on  deck  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Charles  Tambiah  

 

James Batchelor  Bio:  

James  Batchelor  is  a  multi-­‐disciplinary  artist  from  Canberra  working   internationally.  His  work  has  been  presented  by  major  festivals  and  venues   around  the  world  in  theatres,  galleries,  museums  and  public  contexts.  He  is  most   known  for  his  prolific  work  ‘Metasystems’,  which  has  toured  extensively  in   Australia,  France,  Italy,  China  and  Thailand.  In  2016,  James  was  an  artist  in   residence  on  the  RV  Investigator  with  the  Institute  for  Marine  and  Antarctic   Studies.  He  has  been  commissioned  on  two  occasions  by  the  Keir  Choreographic   Award  biennial.  In  2017,  he  was  presented  by  Dance  Massive  and  has  been   commissioned  to  make  a  new  full-­‐length  creation  for  Chunky  Move.                                        


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Embodied Environmentalism   Dean  Walsh    

Dean Walsh  kneels,  wearing  a  blue  body-­‐suit,  washing  a  blue  head  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  David  Brazil  

1.  Contempt  or  Commitment:  the  expanding  and  compressing  space:       ‘Houston,  we  have  a  problem...’     This  timeless  refrain  was  originally  used  to  announce  a  life-­‐threatening  event   during  a  space  mission  in  1970  that  had  much  of  the  human  world  tuning  in.   Transfixed,  we  held  our  collective  breath  hoping  the  Apollo  13  mission  and  the   lives  of  those  on  board  were  not  lost,  and  with  them,  our  hope  that  we  could   securely  reach  outer  spatial  worlds.  We  ached  for  transcendence  from  our  war-­‐ ridden  home  and  NASA  was  offering  us  the  balm  of  actuality.       Whilst  we  were  looking  skyward,  another  immense  and  largely  unexplored  inner   space  lay  all  around  and  beneath  us  here  on  Earth.  At  its  deepest  the  open  ocean   descends  eleven  kilometers.  If  outer  space  could  entice  us  towards  infinite   expansion,  then  all  that  scientists  were  learning  about  inner  space  had  the   potential  to  entice  us  towards  knowing  more  about  our  prehistoric,  waterborne   selves;  our  infinite  genetic  compression.      


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Apollo 13  satiated  our  drive  towards  a  better  tomorrow  that  could  jettison  us   out  of  earth-­‐bound  misery.  The  survival  of  the  mission  signaled  a  renewed   possibility  that  we  might  reach  beyond  our  worst  and  achieve  our  best.  This  is   understandable,  however,  our  focus  outwards  distracted  us  from  the  growing   evidence  that  human-­‐generated  environmental  disruptions,  including  world   wars,  were  real  and  needed  much  urgent  attention.       ‘It  is  a  wholesome  and  necessary  thing  for  us  to  turn  again  to  the  earth  and  in  the   contemplation  of  her  beauties  to  know  the  sense  of  wonder  and  humility.’[1]     In  1951,  renowned  marine  biologist  and  conservationist,  Rachel  Carson,  wrote   her  first  international  bestseller,  ‘The  Sea  Around  Us’  that  was  followed  in  1962   by  her  seminal  work,  ‘The  Silent  Spring’.  Her  works  are  credited  with  advancing   the  environmental  movement.  But  were  the  people  of  Earth  listening?  Well,  yes,   it  seemed  they  were.  Her  book  brought  environmental  concerns  to  an   unprecedented  number  of  people.  However,  10  years  later,  post  Apollo  13,  many   seemed  to  have  become  complacent  around  talk  of  a  future  environmental   catastrophe.  War  had  exhausted  us  and  our  modern  household  goods  were   ushering  in  new  comforts  we  had  never  known  prior.  New  homes  and  new   worlds  all  seemed  something  tomorrow  had  on  offer.     Meanwhile,  hundreds  of  billions  of  dollars  were  being  hurled  at  other  Cold  War   programs.  By  comparison,  very  little  was  going  towards  environmental  science   research  agencies.  It  is  unfortunate  for  us  now  that  sufficient  environmental   funding  policies  weren’t  put  into  place  around  the  time  we  were  so   enthusiastically  future-­‐gazing.  Surely  this  alone  elucidates  why  we  can  ill-­‐afford   to  wait  any  longer  in  addressing  climate  change  urgency?  Even  if  it  means  we   must  hurl  a  few  hundred  billion  at  safe-­‐guarding  our  inner  space?  In  2010,  after   attending  the  3-­‐day  Tipping  Point  conference  at  Carriageworks,  I  began  to  ask   many  other  questions  like  this  and  felt  compelled  to  continue  my  research   interests.       2.  Atmospheres  of  Urgency:  the  oldest  dance  of  all  has  become  the  dance  of  our   lives:   In  2009  after  watching  the  documentary,  ‘The  End  of  the  Line’,  about  overfishing,   no-­‐one  in  the  cinema  moved.  Two  hundred  strangers  sharing  a  stunned  silence.  I   thought,  ‘Right,  if  a  film  can  do  this  to  a  couple  of  hundred  people  a  pop  then   there  must  be  something  I  can  also  do  with  my  art  as  a  creative  communicator.’   My  subsequent  dance  and  environmental  research  became  my  own  Apollo  13   mission.  Now,  with  so  much  advanced  evidence  at  hand,  many  of  the  world’s   most  accomplished  environmental  scientists  are  screaming,  ‘Hey  Houston!  Yup,   we  most  definitely  do  have  a  problem’!    


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Dean Walsh  in  a  blue  body-­‐suit,  sits  underneath  an  upside-­‐down  umbrella  -­‐  Photo  Credit:   Heidrun  Lohr  

  Their  data  warns  that  we  must  look  at  realigning  our  lives  with  the  balance  of   nature  and  look  beyond  our  anthropocentricity  when  proclaiming  our  rights  to  a   sustainable  existence.  This  doesn’t  mean  we  must  don  hiking  boots  or  scuba  gear   and  take  the  plunge  into  nature  -­‐  though  it  does  help  in  gaining  profound   embodied  insight.  For  me,  it  is  more  about  raising  awareness  in  any  way  we  can,   whether  we’re  nature  go-­‐getters  or  hard-­‐core  city  slickers.  All  cities  are  part  of   our  shared  biosphere,  here  on  the  only  habitable  planet  in  the  known  universe.     I  feel  one  of  the  more  potent  and  inclusive  methods  to  raising  awareness  around   environmental  concern  is  to  embody  the  information  marine  scientists  have   discovered.  We  have  been  creatively  embodying  the  natural  environment  since   our  earliest  nomadic  existence.  We  once  all  lived  within  an  intrinsic   interconnected  knowing:  ocean-­‐river-­‐animal-­‐human-­‐earth-­‐tree  and,  yes,  stars.   These  were  daily  experiences  for  our  ancestors  to  synergistically  contemplate,   absorb  and  form  complex  embodied  (and  disembodied)  relationships  with.  We   saw  ourselves  as  integral  to  the  whole  and  these  environmental  immersions   fueled  our  sense  of  identity,  right  alongside  other-­‐than-­‐human  beings.  We  


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transformed our  experiences  into  dance,  song,  music,  visual  art  and  storytelling.   Art  and  science  were  inextricably  linked  and  have  shared  an  ancient  genealogy,   so  why  on  earth  should  they  be  separate  now  at  a  time  where  the  need  to   express  environmental  reconnection  is  so  critical?      

Dean Walsh,  looking  up,  raises  an  upside-­‐down  umbrella  above  his  head  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Heidrun   Lohr  

I’ve  been  fascinated  with  marine  realms  my  whole  life.  Unfortunately,  as  a  child,   chronic  disruptions  at  home,  dramatically  affecting  my  schooling,  meant  I  was   forcibly  diverted  from  my  core  interests.  I  discovered  dance  quite  by  chance  at   the  age  of  20  and  it  satiated  needs  for  self-­‐expression  of  heinous  acts  committed   against  my  body  (and  mind).  I  now  realise  that  my  mature  dance  practice,  having   taken  a  seemingly  dramatic  turn  in  terms  of  where  I  now  draw  my  creativity   from,  is  an  organic  evolution  of  my  creative  and  innate  interests.     Throughout  the  1990’s  and  early  2000’s,  my  works  focused  on  expressing  abuses   inflicted  upon  my  personal  body,  which  expanded  to  express  the  abuse  of  my   cultural  LGBTIQ  ‘body’  (societal  and  familial  discrimination  and  countless  AIDS   related  deaths).  As  I  began  to  comprehend  the  wider  picture,  my  work  developed   to  express  the  abuse  of  familial  ‘bodies’  (war,  its  aftermath  and  ‘ex-­‐serviced   bodies’).  When  I  returned  to  Australia  after  working  for  three  years  in  the  UK   and  Europe,  I  felt  the  need  to  shift  focus  for  my  own  wellbeing.  Then,  in  2008,  I   got  my  first  scuba  diving  certification  and  this  was  the  next  game-­‐changer  I   wasn’t  expecting.  I  could  see  a  range  of  possible  methods  to  experiment  with,   embodying  marine  understandings  whilst  bringing  my  practice  a  renewed   investigation.  Scuba  became  an  experiential  conduit  to  expressing  abuses  facing   our  planet’s  massive  water  body.       In  2010,  I  found  the  disability-­‐inclusive  community  through  developing  a  work   ‘Second  Nature’,  with  Restless  Dance  Theatre.  Here  I  felt  right  at  home.  I  next   joined  Sydney-­‐based  disability-­‐led  performance  ensemble,  RUCKUS,  as  a  key   collaborator  where  I  could  explore  the  expression  of  yet  another  neglected  ‘body’  


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-­‐ the  disability  arts  community.  The  mistreatment  of  ‘body’,  in  some  form  or   other,  seems  to  underpin  my  creative  life’s  work.  Social  and  environmental   awareness  are  really  one  and  the  same  for  me.  The  promotion  of  health,   wellbeing  and  sustainability  of  the  natural  realm  is  the  promotion  of  our  own   intrinsic  wellness  and  longevity.  Environmental  science  is  now  the  lynchpin  to   my  teaching,  research  and  choreographic  practice  enabling  me  to  be  the   informed  advocate,  activist  and  artist  I  feel  I’ve  always  been,  regarding  the   content  I’ve  wrestled  in  all  my  works  since  1991.       For  me  ‘embodied  environmentalism’  is  the  most  apt  description  of  the  inclusive   methods  I  employ  in  my  current  practice.  I  want  to  exclude  no-­‐one,  to  leave   nobody  feeling  invisible,  patronized,  defenseless  or  dismissed.  Given  so  much   scientific  climate  change  information  is  already  out  there  in  written  form  and   often  way  too  abstract  for  most  people  to  make  relevant,  integrated  sense  of  in   their  day  to  day  lives,  sensory-­‐based  and  creative  embodiment  systems  can  offer   new  ways  of  understanding  complex  theories  about  our  physical,  natural  world.   If  I’m  to  continue  developing  a  methodology  aimed  at  reflecting  upon  and   educating  environmental  fascinations  and  concerns,  then  I  feel  I  must  engage  in  a   fully  inclusive  research  and  development  practice  that  brings  all  points  of  view   and  lived  experiences  into  consideration.       The  evolution  of  human  artistic  expression,  over  a  vast  time  frame,  has   facilitated  countless  methods  of  expression,  largely  informed  and  developed  by   our  ancestors’  relationship  to  the  physical  natural  world.  Even  when  we  make   work  that  is  focused  on  reflecting  our  contemporary  human  condition  we  are   communicating  animal  to  animal  realities.  It  is  not  such  a  big  leap  for  me  to  study   other  species  and  learn  all  I  can  about  them,  their  mannerisms,  behavior  and   relationship  to  habitat,  and  to  see  if  I  can  modulate  these  into  human  movement   tributes,  celebrations  and  embodied  awareness-­‐raising  methodologies.  For  me,   these  methods  need  to  be  formatted  in  a  way  that  scientists  feel  they  also  have   access  to  and  I  have  sought  out  numerous  strategies  to  do  this  allowing  them  to   recognize  their  research  in  what  I’m  physically  investigating.       My  interest  is  in  facilitating  research  processes  through  environmentally  direct   (scuba  and  free  diving)  and  indirect  (studio-­‐based  movement  research)   practices.  I  do  this  by  teaching  specific  modulations  and  compositional   improvisations  inspired  by  my  marine  interactions.  It  would  be  very  ‘unaware’  of   me  to  make  my  research  methodology,  PrimeOrderly,  exclusive  to  only  fully   trained  dancers.  My  ongoing  and  persistent  question  is,  who  are  we  in  the   greater  natural  environmental  context?  Through  embodying  marine   understandings,  we  learn  about  this  realm  in  ways  our  ancestors  once  did  -­‐   through  direct  lived  experience  and  our  muscle  memory.  ‘The  body  keeps  the   score’.  [2]     3.  What  is  PrimeOrderly?:     PrimeOrderly  is  a  movement  methodology  I  have  developed  over  8  years  that   needs  far  more  space  than  I  have  in  this  article  to  fully  explain  its  inner  workings.   I  finally  have  a  website  up  this  week  and  plan  to  keep  it  well-­‐stocked  with  details   of  how  I  incorporate  my  research  methods  in  various  contexts.  As  a  movement  


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reference taxonomy,  PrimeOrderly  helps  me  record,  codify  and  then  play   physically,  and  more  organically,  with  the  scientific  research  data  drawn  from   specific  marine  eco-­‐systems,  the  species  within  them  and  their  relationship  to   one  another.  Through  this  I  feel  I  can  then  start  to  impart  these  intricate  findings   to  participants  in  diverse  workshops,  classes  and  during  the  construction  of   performances.  It  is  a  methodology  in  development  -­‐  I  claim  no  finite  end  results   to  my  research.      

A dancer  stretches  out  a  string  dotted  with  balloons  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Heidrun  Lohr  

PrimeOrderly  is  also  part  training  methodology.  Its  written  structure  is  loosely   inspired  by  the  biological  taxonomy  used  by  biologists  to  classify  organic  life.   This  acts  as  a  type  of  user  manual,  which  provides  definitions  of  the  physical   language  uncovered  in  my  research.  The  system  can  be  referenced  during   general  practice  and  training,  educational  forums,  as  well  as  professional  and   non-­‐professional  dance  classes.  It  is  comprised  of  four  primary  domains:     Zoomorphic   Eco-­‐Logic   Sensory  (Inner  Spatial)   Architectural  (Outer  Spatial)    

Dean Walsh  balances  an  upside-­‐down  umbrella  on  his  face  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Heidrun  Lohr  

It  has  over  thirty-­‐five  subset  movement  modalities  and  countless  precepts  (rules  


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of specific  engagement).  PrimeOrderly  brings  together  two  decades  of   experience  in  choreographic  practice  with  now  eight  years  of  research  into   human  interactions  with  marine  environments.  My  research  was  first  developed   during  several  Critical  Path  residencies  and  then  my  (2011-­‐2012)  dance   fellowship  from  Australia  Council  for  the  Arts.         4.  Believe  art  matters:  what  to  do  with  hard-­‐core  facts  in  a  post-­‐truth  world:       ‘Houston,  are  you  still  there?’     In  writing  this  article,  I  wish  I  could  include  that  all  humans,  without  exception,   back  our  environmental  experts  up  with  another  timeless  refrain;  ‘…  and  so  say   all  of  us…  which  nobody  can  deny…’  This  is,  unfortunately,  far  from  true.  It  is   overwhelming  but  as  an  artist  wanting  to  play  my  part  in  the  problem  solving,   one  way  I  have  found  to  carve  through  feelings  of  helplessness  is  to  attend   information  sessions,  pick  up  plastic  debris  whilst  walking  my  dogs  and  on   volunteer  diving  days  and  attending  rallies.  Another  effective  way  of  expressing   concerns  is  through  facilitating  people’s  embodied  experiences  of  PrimeOrderly.   I  feel  as  artists  we  need  to  know  the  scientific  facts  and  learn  how  we  can  reflect   them  with  the  best  hope  the  world  has  -­‐  creativity.  There  is  a  long  list  of  human-­‐ generated  environmental  ills  currently  going  viral  across  our  world.  Rather  than   list  them  here,  I  will  soon  upload  them  on  my  website  with  descriptions  on  how   I,  and  other  artists  I  know,  are  attempting  to  research  and  develop   communication  methods.     Being  submerged  in  the  actual  water  environment,  from  which  I  draw  much  of   my  research,  is  also  entirely  reassuring.  As  someone  living  with  acquired  and   congenital  disability  -­‐  complex  trauma  disorder  (CTD),  autism  spectrum   condition  (ASC)  and  attention  deficit  hyperactive  disorder  (ADHD)  -­‐  I  am  also   personally  comforted  by  my  methods  of  investigation.  I  see  this  as  another   natural  progression  for  my  artistic  trajectory  and  I’m  reassured  by  its  greater   environmental  engagement.  My  methods  suit  my  neuro-­‐diverse  brain  and  calm   my  traumatized  core  belief  system.  Healing  self  means  facing  and  dissecting   hard-­‐core  facts  head-­‐on.  Knowing  self,  for  me,  means  learning  to  understand   how  my  family  and  greater  history  have  shaped  me.  I  find  many  parallels   between  individual  lives  and  the  greater  lived  experience.  The  micro  and  the   macro,  the  inner  and  the  outer.  Our  planet  and  the  greater  universe.  Humanity   and  the  immensity  of  the  animal  kingdom.  We  are  not  alone  and  never  really   have  been.       The  more  I  investigate  marine  environmentalism  and  disability-­‐inclusive   practice,  the  more  I  find  my  clan.  I’ve  discovered  that  aspects  of  PrimeOrderly   also  benefit  others  with  similar  neurological  diversities  to  myself,  whilst  nestling   this  integration  within  the  greater  environmental  context.  The  more  we  stick   with  our  core  interests  the  more  we  find  our  raison  d’être.  Just  like  scientists,   artists  are  explorers.  We  are  driven  to  find  ways  of  defining  specific  aspects  of   our  shared  lives  and  what  it  means  to  be  human  -­‐  or  animal.      


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At  the  World  Parks  Conference  in  2014,  Hawaii-­‐based  marine  biologist  and   Ocean  Resources  Specialist  for  Kaho‘olawe  Island  Reserve  Commission  (KIRC),   Jennifer  Vander  Veur,  reassured  me;  ‘Dean  individuals  do  count.  Individual   scientists  get  a  lot  of  very  important  work  done  that  they  report  to  a  larger  team   with,  who  in  turn  get  to  work  to  prove  the  individuals’  hypothesis  and  get  it  out   to  wider  communication  circles.  Individual  artists  count  too.  You  help  spurn   many  of  us  on  with  your  skill  for  taking  an  idea  and  finding  methods  to   communicate  it  in  ways  we  cannot.  Your  presentation  was  utterly  captivating   and  made  us  think  about  our  research  in  new  ways.  One  person  can  inspire  10,   who  can  inspire  100,  who  in  turn  can  inspire  1,000.  Just  keep  it  up.  Do  not  stop!   We  need  you.’  To  which  I  replied,  ‘We  need  one  another.’  •    

Two dancers  share  the  same  balloon  with  their  mouths  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Heidrun  Lohr  

References   [1]  Carson,  Rachel,  1907-­‐1964.  Silent  Spring.  Boston  :Houghton  Mifflin,  (2002)     [2]  Van  der  Kolk,  Bessel  A.  6th  ed.  The  Body  Keeps  the  Score:  brain,  mind,  and   body  in  the  healing  of  trauma.Viking  Press  (2014)      

Dean Walsh  Bio:  

Dean  Walsh  is  a  Sydney-­‐based  dance  practitioner  and  inclusive  arts  advocate.   Since  1991.  he  has  been  at  the  forefront  of  many  significant  shifts  within  the   Australian  arts  and  cultural  landscape.  Dean  has  make  over  30  solo  and  group   works,  wrestling  some  difficult  core  human  and  non-­‐human  themes.  His  works   have  toured  Australia  and  many  destinations  internationally.  Dean  has  worked   with  several  disability-­‐inclusive  companies  and  has  been  key  collaborator  with   Sydney  ensemble,  RUCKUS,  since  2011.  Additionally,  he  has  worked  with  DV8   Physical  Theatre  (London),  No  Apology  (Amsterdam),  ADT  (Adelaide)  and   Stalker  Theatre  (Sydney)  among  others.  With  his  Australia  Council  fellowship   (2011-­‐2012),  Dean  developed  an  embodied-­‐environmental  practice  he  calls  


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PrimeOrderly, influenced  by  his  marine  science  fascinations  and  environmental   concerns.     www.dean-­‐walsh.com                                                                                            


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Following the  Bodies’  Natural  Edge  to  the  Abyss  of  Space   Dr  Sarah  Jane  Pell    

Sarah Jane  Pell  underwater,  dressed  in  a  space-­‐suit  during  Project  Moonwalk     Sarah  Jane  Pell:  Simulation  Astronaut,  Project  Moonwalk,  Comex,  Marseille  FR.  -­‐  Photo  Credit:   Alexis  Rosenfeld,  2016  

To  help  us  to  move  confidently  toward  an  uncertain  future,  artists  must   prioritize  embodied  approaches  to  understanding  the  marriage  of  human   cognition,  perception,  affect  and  action  in  ever  increasingly  extreme  and   technologically  mediated  environments.  The  aim  of  my  body  of  work  is  to  map   changes  in  human  performance  and  expression  caused  and  inspired  by  extreme   environmental  interactions  from  sea,  to  summit,  to  space.  As  a  live  artist,  I’ve   gained  valuable  insights  by  working  as  a  commercial  diver,  at  high  altitude  and   in  astronautics.  [9]     Astronautics  is  defined  as  the  practice  of  navigation  beyond  Earth’s  atmosphere.   Astronautics  is  risky  and  costly  but  deeply  alluring.  The  art  of  astronautics   transforms  human  physical,  temporal  and  spatial  bodily  memory[17]  and   teaches  us  about  the  wonders  of  the  life  in  the  universe  and  beyond.  Astronautics   has  produced  all  kinds  of  art[10]  and  artists  are  encouraged  to  illustrate  science,   inspire  and  imagine  space.  Space  art  has  often  centred  on  the  often  intangible   qualities  of  microgravity  experience  into  an  Earthly  practice[3][11][18]  but   artists  are  not  prioritized  for  spaceflight  pre-­‐selection  like  pilots,  scientists  and   engineers.  The  commercial  spaceflight  era  is  about  to  disrupt  this.[1]  I  qualified   as  an  Artist-­‐Astronaut  Candidate  on  Yuri’s  Night  2016  and  follow  Astronauts  and   Cosmonauts  with  artistic  training:  Alan  Bean,  Alexi  Leonov,  Guy  Laliberté  and   Richard  Garriott  de  Cayeux.       Following  the  bodies’  natural  edge  to  the  abyss  of  space  has  inspired  a  new   direction  in  my  work:  from  Aquabatics[7]  to  Astronautics.  The  urgency  of  my   mission  is  to  create  a  movement  to  initiate  new  paradigms:  a  frontier  body  art  to   innovate  on  astronaut  bodily  memories  and  to  contribute  to  extreme  


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performance and  exploration.  I  also  hope  to  instil  the  value  of  arts-­‐led  research   as  a  fundamental  enabler  of  innovation,  adaptation  and  evolution  as  a  space-­‐ faring  species  through  parallel  research:  operational/performative  and   instrumental/speculative  action.     Artist-­‐Astronaut:  Operational/Performative:   My  formal  training  for  spaceflight  commenced  in  2016  with  Project  PoSSUM[23]:   an  US  civilian  astronautics  program  designed  to  qualify  mission  specialists  to   conduct  the  NASA-­‐supported  technology  experiment  S-­‐46  [Polar  Suborbital   Space  Upper  Mesosphere].  This  included  training  to  capture  polar  night  shining   cloud  tomography  and  dynamic  imagining  data,  conduct  astrobiology  research,   media  and  outreach,  and  technology  validation  high-­‐altitude  test  flights.   Continued  operational  training  is  vital  to  building  somatic  or  corporeal  literacy   of  the  environmental  impact  of  outer  space  on  climate  change  and  contemporary   performance.     ‘Performing  Astronautics  2016-­‐2018’  seeks  to  firstly  address  the  challenge  of   translating  first-­‐person  tactic  knowledge  embedded  in  the  astronautic  body.  [4]   By  literally  becoming  the  Astronaut,  I  connect  or  differentiate  this  knowledge   with  existing  theoretical  understandings  of  space-­‐based  embodiment  from  an   Earth-­‐based  logic[10]  (grounded,  pedestrian,  linear)  and  sea-­‐based  sensitivity   (buoyant,  hydrous,  flowing)  [12].  By  then  connecting  performing  arts  practice   with  astronautics,  I  also  externalise  how  space  impacts  the  human  body/mind   cadence  to  alter  motion,  rhythm,  and  perception  of  time/place  spatiality  in  new   ways.  New  strategies  for  space  adaptation,  personal  expression  and  degrees  of   freedom,  and  interdisciplinary  knowledge  transfer  for  future  missions  may  arise   too.     In  2016,  I  also  joined  Project  MOONWALK[22]:  a  3-­‐year  research  project   conducting  Astronaut-­‐Robotic  cooperation  EVA  Simulation  trials  in  Europe’s   Moon/Mars  Analogue  sites.  [6]  Earth-­‐analogue  simulations  are  typically   simplified  and  abstracted  representations  of  a  more  intricate  real-­‐world  system.   I  was  a  Simulation  Astronaut  testing  the  Comex  Gandolfi  II  EVA  SIM  Spacesuit   Underwater  with  integrated  gesture-­‐control  sensors  to  operate  the  YEMO  robot.   I  also  used  hand  tools  for  performing  typical  lunar  surface  activities  in  multiple   underwater  pool  and  sea  experiments.  It  was  particularly  important  that  I   demonstrated  that  with  detailed  adherence  to  disciplinary  protocols,  creative   practice  could  occur  in  high-­‐risk  operational  training  and  research  environments   and  achieve  all  mission  objectives.     I  knew  better  than  to  ‘swim’.  I  walked,  climbed  and  jumped,  as  an  Astronaut  in  the   1/6th  Lunar  gravity  before  multiple  cameras  and  security  divers.  With  limited  line   of  sight,  I  did  not  bend  but  pivoted  the  waist  to  twist  down  without  generating   torque  or  overbalancing  to  deploy  payloads,  collect  and  carry  items.  When  all  the   telemetry  failed,  and  I  was  ‘standing  by’,  and  there  were  no  media  film  crews   present,  I  could  experiment  with  Aquabatics.      


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Sarah  Jane  Pell  underwater,  dressed  in  a  space-­‐suit  during  Project  Moonwalk    

Sarah Jane  Pell:  EVA  Lunar  Simulation,  Project  Moonwalk,  Comex,  Marseille  FR.  -­‐  Photo  Credit:   Alexis  Rosenfeld,  2016  

Performing  astronautics  underwater  in  a  spacesuit  was  like  finding  the  sweet-­spot   between  two  bodies;  two  centres  of  balances  and  two  communication  and  control   systems:  the  time  delays  between  were  like  encountering  two  worlds   simultaneously.  I  defied  the  biometric  ‘falling’  alerts,  by  breathing  out  upon   extension  and  moving  quickly  between  fall  of  my  body  and  the  suspended  delay  of   the  suit:  buoyed  slightly  by  the  exhaled  air  cavitation  in  the  helmet  to  support   balance  at  all  extreme  tests  of  my  movement  range.  It  was  the  most  beautify   merging  of  every  reality  and  dream  I  knew.  [19]     Never  underestimate  the  embodied  knowledge  of  small  performance  gestures   and  playful  experiments.  [10]  Sixteen  years  ago  I  performed  Second  Nature  


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Second Skin,  2001  in  the  open  ocean  wearing  custom-­‐made  wings  designed  by   Leonardo  da  Vinci  to  explore  the  poetics  and  mechanics  of  the  ‘body  in  flight’   underwater.  [7]  Once  I  forgot  about  my  self-­‐imposed  instruction  to  fly  and  let   myself  flounder  and  fall,  I  surrendered  to  the  sea  and  explored  the  real   movement  possibilities.  Not  surprisingly,  the  design  was  perfectly  efficient  for   diving  and  not  flapping.  It  taught  me  how  to  move  the  body  of  water  rather  than   force  myself  on  it.  Captured  by  underwater  cinematographer  Paul  Wolstenholm,   the  piece  became  the  first  significant  creative  output  of  Aquabatics  Research   Team  initiative  [ARTi]  2002-­‐2012  that  I  initiated  at  WAAPA.  Revolution,  2005   (or  The  Vitruvian  Woman)  again  referenced  da  Vinci.  Underwater  cameraman   Adam  Burke  filmed  me  at  Bathers  Bay,  Fremantle  strapped  to  an  Ayro  Wheel,   rolling  over  and  over  repeatedly  along  the  sand  towards  -­‐  and  then  into  -­‐  and   under  the  Indian  Ocean…  dunking…  dunking…  until  the  water  resisted  me.     Logging  thousands  of  hours  working  in  zero  visibility,  and  performing  all   number  of  experimental  Aquabatics,  has  ‘informed’  my  body  of  a  corpus  of   knowledge  about  the  ocean[9]  and  many  physical  aspects  of  Astronautics   training.  I  had  practiced  ditching  and  dunking,  and  wearing  all  kinds  of  water-­‐ filled  suits  and  helmets.  [7]  With  training,  it  wasn’t  a  huge  stretch  to  perform   pressurized  spacesuit  trials  or  an  underwater  egress  from  a  ditched  aircraft  with   and  without  the  use  of  an  Emergency  Breathing  Device  (EBD)  in  Spaceflight   Survival  and  Egress  Training,  2017.  My  vestibular  response  affecting  perceptual   orientation,  spatial  awareness,  movement  control,  posture,  breathing  and   adaptation  to  visual  disturbances,  and  auditory  localization  has  conditioned  well   to  hypoxic,  disorienting  and  aquatic  spaces.  The  challenge  of  communicating   these  embodied  experiences  remains  the  most  rewarding  part  of  my  creative   journey.     Artist-­‐Astronaut:  Instrumental/Speculative:   Many  Astronauts  have  reported  the  lack  of  a  documentation  format  that  can   convey  the  microgravity  embodiment  that  frames  the  environmental  impact  of   space  [5].  I  had  previously  related  this  conundrum  to  the  parallel  performance   challenges  of  documenting  the  embodied  aquatic  experience  to  a  dry  land-­‐based   audience  but  it  goes  deeper.      

Sarah Jane  Pell  stands,  facing  away,  ready  to  dive  into     Bathers  Bay  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  David  Hocking,  2006  

In  2014,  I  sent  an  invitation  to  7  astronauts   including  (Nicole  Stott  (US),  Paolo  Nespoli  (IT),   Ron  Garan  (US),  Jeff  Hoffman  (US),  Soyeon  Yi   (KOR))  asking  them  to  collaborate  for  a   Weightless  Artists  Association  exhibition   entitled  Mission  014.  I  included  250g  blocks  of   clay  and  a  USB  with  audio  and  video  from  their   missions.  The  invitation  was  to  spend  time   moulding  the  clay  as  they  ‘membered  embodied   microgravity  experience  prompted  by  Neuro   Linguistic  Programing  triggers  and  then  find  it   within.  It  was  my  wish  that  bodily  memory  


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would somehow  transmute  into  unconscious  interactions  with  the  material.  I   wanted  to  cast  the  hand-­moulded  form  in  aerogel  (an  ethereal  spacerated  material   lighter  than  air)  and  implant  the  elusive  bodily  memory  artefact  into  a  life-­size   hanging  sculpture  and  projection  of  their  bodies  in  space.  The  task  proved  very   challenging.  Not  one  astronaut  returned  their  clay;  instead  I  gleaned  insight  into   performance  anxieties,  trial  runs  and  astronaut  mindsets,  and  practical  concerns  of   making  art  that  immortalized  something  so  sacred  and  personal,  cloaking  dutiful   consideration  to  the  legal  property  rights,  copyright,  self/state  representation,   open-­source  access  and  public  engagement  branding  issues.  Secondly,  I  learned   that  aerogel  was  so  brittle  that  I  could  not  ‘sculpt’  it  with  precision.  Machine  made   would  be  most  unsatisfactory.     To  me  it  was  clear  that  I  must  go  to  space:  the  public  dimensions  of  personal   expression  by  an  artist  astronaut  would  be  unique  and  unencumbered,  and  by   that  virtue,  bodily  performance  would  be  the  subject  of  art,  not  the  object  of  a   representational  remanent.  I  chose  Mt  Everest  as  a  high  altitude  space  analogue   for  an  arts-­‐led  simulation  test  mission  Bending  Horizons,  2015.  [20]   Sagarmatha’s  glacier  was  a  cold  but  welcoming  body  of  water  close  to  outer   space,  or  so  I  thought.  I  set  out  to  summit,  capture  HD  360-­‐degree  video  and   record  artistic  expressions  made  on  site,  paired  with  GPS  location,  altitude  and   body  sensor  data.  Over  17-­‐days,  I  trekked  from  Lukla  2840m  to  Everest  Base   Camp  (EBC)  at  5364m,  acclimatising  to  the  altitude  while  investigating   interactions  with  a  range  of  technologies  and  the  environment.  [8]  Unexpected   events,  including  the  Nepal  Earthquakes,  ultimately  prohibited  me  from  reaching   the  summit  and  completing  the  project.  My  technology  failed  as  often  as  the   environment  ruptured,  and  I  faced  enormous  stressors.  Nonetheless,  the   experience  confirmed  that  my  training  and  willingness  to  experiment  and   imagine  was  essential  to  meaningful  interactions  with  the  environment,  and   indeed  my  survival.  By  imagining  the  expedition  as  a  dynamic  space  of   performance  once  I  was  safe,  I  began  to  frame  an  analytical  phenomenology  of   extreme  bodily  experience.    

Diagrams of  bodies  are  labelled  with  red  and  yellow  stickers  -­‐  Image  courtesy  the  artist,  2014  


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As a  way  of  processing  my  experiences  of  isolated  training,  a  complex  Everest   summit  attempt  to  make  art  at  high  altitude,  and  the  rupturing  of  all  reality   during  the  Nepal  earthquakes  in  2015,  I  completed  We  are  all  Explorer  Fish,   2016[21]  the  short  film  sequel  based  on  my  ‘Bodies  in  Extremis’  essay  published   in  Star  Arc:  a  self-­‐sustaining  star  ship,  Springer/Praxis  2017.  [16]  I  played   Amulet  the  first  human  born  in  low  Earth  orbit,  and  her  holographic  flight  crew,   on  a  mission  to  set  up  a  new  outpost  on  Mars.  ‘If  she  survives,  others  will  follow   and  alone  no  longer  is  she...’     Amulet  draws  breath  through  a  filtered  snorkel  plugged  into  drill  holes  in  an   ancient  riverbed.  An  instantaneous  rush  of  pure  Oxygen  floods  her  body:  a   temporary  ‘high’,  before  heavier  toxic  Carbon  Dioxide  floods  her  lungs.  As  the  risk   of  ingesting  indigenous  Martian  organisms  becomes  higher,  and  the  cloud  of  hot   rain  within  the  impact  crater  starts  to  fall  like  a  sky  descending  into  a  sea,  she  sees   the  ancient  explorer  fish  come  to  life  before  her  very  eyes.  Threatening  her   existence  and  the  entire  mission,  she  calls  on  her  alter  ego  for  help…     Filmed  at  the  VSSEC  Mars  Simulation  by  Shaun  Wilson  in  2013,  the  Martian   landscape  had  an  eerie  absence  of  life,  and  by  contrast,  my  neo-­‐human  onscreen   performance  of  being  possessed  by  fish  spirits  was  rather  disturbing.  By   combining  scientific  ‘reality’  with  plausible  speculative  fiction,  the  live  artwork   also  explored  the  psycho-­‐cartographies  of  our  collective  fears  and  desires  for   liberation  and  exposure  to  out  of  this  world  experiences.      

Sarah Jane  Pell  crouches  and  examines  rocks  in  stills  from  We  Are  All  Explorer  Fish     Sarah  Jane  Pell,  Site  Reconnaissance  VSSEC  Mars  Simulation,  AU.  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Richard  Byrne,   2013   A  hand  holding  eight  sardines   Sardine  Reference  for  Storyboard  -­‐  Image  Credit:  Unknown  

To  begin  with  expressive  acts  such  as  live  events  and  testing  provocative   interactive  designs  in  space  analogue  environments  and  by  creating  poetic  post-­‐ performance  artifacts  for  exhibition  and  publication,  I  hope  to  invite  questions  of   the  bio-­‐political,  technical  and  societal  implications  for  a  spacefaring  humanity,   and  further  discovery.  It  is  a  humble  beginning,  but  as  an  artist,  I  recognise  that   the  value  of  embodied  knowledge  practices  (even  if  suits,  vehicles  and  sensory   technologies  augment  our  bodies)  remains  superior  to  robotic  envoys  and  digital   simulations,  so  mission  architects  must  engage  artists  in  future  flights  and   visions.  A  fully  supported  artist  astronaut  in  space  program  would  help  build  the   kind  of  somatic  or  corporeal  literacy  needed  for  mission  planning,  and  address   the  global  imperative  for  an  innovative,  interdisciplinary  and  culturally  robust   future.  Resulting  exhibitions,  performances,  publications,  and  media   engagements  from  Performing  Astronautics  will  ultimately  reflect  the  courage  of   Australian  art.  •  


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    Acknowledgements   The  ‘Performing  Astronautics’  project  is  assisted  by  the  Australian  Government   through  the  Australia  Council,  its  arts   funding  and  advisory  body.       We  are  All  Explorer  Fish,  2016  was  Co-­‐commissioned  by  Trondheim  Electronic   Arts  Centre  for  Meta.Morf  2016  -­‐  Nice  to  be  in  orbit!    

Sarah Jane  Pell  crouches  and  examines  rocks  in  a  still  from  We  Are  All  Explorer  Fish   We  are  All  Explorer  Fish,  2016.  Short  film  starring/Producer  Sarah  Jane  Pell.  Cinematographer   Shaun  Wilson  -­‐  Still  courtesy  the  artist,  2016  

References   [1]  Armstrong,  R.  (2014)  Space  is  an  ecology  for  living  in.  Architectural  Design,   84(6),  128-­‐133.     [2]  Bureaud,  A.  (2009)  Kitsou  Dubois  and  the  Weightless  Body.  IEEE  MultiMedia,   16(1),  4-­‐7.    


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[3] Bureaud,  A.,  Dubois,  K.  (2005)  The  Embodiment  of  (Micro)Gravity.  Kitsou   Dubois’s  Analogies:  An  Artistic  and  Aesthetic  Experience,  Proc.  Yverdon   Leonardo  Space  and  the  Arts  Workshop,  [online]  available   http://www.olats.org/space/13avril/2005-­‐2/te_kDuboisBureaud.php  accessed   1  May  2017.     [4]  Garan,  A.  R.  (2015)  The  Orbital  Perspective:  Lessons  in  Seeing  the  Big  Picture   from  a  Journey  of  71  Million  Miles.  Berrett-­‐Koehler  Publishers.     [5]  Garan,  R.  J.,  and  J.  A.  Hoffman  (2013)  The  Overview  Effect:   Freethink@Harvard,  filmed  22  November,  http://vimeo.com/55073825,   accessed  15  March  2014.     [6]  Imhof,  B.,  Hoheneder,  W.,  Ransom,  S.,  Waclavicek,  R.,  Davenport,  B.,  Weiss,  P.,   ...  &  Hoppenbrouwers,  T.  (2015).  Moonwalk-­‐Human  Robot  Collaboration  Mission   Scenarios  and  Simulations.  In  AIAA  SPACE  2015  Conference  and  Exposition  (p.   4531).     [7]  Marshall,  J.  (2005)  The  Art  of  Life  Support,  Real  Time  &  On  Screen,  Vol  68,   Aug/  Sep  2005,  pp.  48.     [8]  Mueller,  F.F  &  S.J.  Pell  (2016)  Technology  meets  adventure:  learnings  from  an   earthquake-­‐interrupted  Mt.  Everest  expedition,  In  Proceedings  of  the  2016  ACM   International  Joint  Conference  on  Pervasive  and  Ubiquitous  Computing   (UbiComp  ‘16).  ACM,  New  York,  NY,  USA,  817-­‐828.     [9]  Pell,  Sarah  J.  (2014)  Aquabatics:  a  post-­‐turbulent  performance  in  water,   Performance  Research,19(5),  98-­‐107,   http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2014.958365.     [10]  Pell,  Sarah  J.  &  Muller,  F.  (2016)  Homo  Ludens:  An  analysis  of  play  and   performance  during  spaceflight  to  inspire  the  cultural  sector  to  design  for  new   modes  of  space  and  spatiality.  In  67th  International  Astronautical  Congress  (IAC)   Proceedings  International  Astronautical  Federation  (IAF)  ID:  IAC-­‐16-­‐E1.9.1.     [11]  Pitts,  B.  (2006)  Against  space  utilization  (cultural  or  otherwise),  Art  and  the   Cultural  Utilization  of  Space  Track  of  the  2006  International  Space  Development   Conference  Los  Angeles,  May  5,  2006  [online]  available   http://bradleypitts.net/writing/against-­‐space-­‐utilization-­‐cultural-­‐or-­‐otherwise/   accessed  1  May  2017.     [12]  Pothier,  B.  (2014).  Towards  a  moister  media,  from  aquaponics  to  multi-­‐ scalar  navigation.  Technoetic  Arts,  12(1),  121-­‐129.     [13]  Seedhouse,  E.  (2016)  How  to  Fly.  In  XCOR,  Developing  the  Next  Generation   Spaceplane  (pp.  149-­‐169).  Springer  International  Publishing.     [14]  Streb,  Elizabeth  (2010)  STREB:  How  to  become  an  Extreme  Action  Hero,   The  Feminist  Press,  The  City  University,  New  York.  


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[15]  Yaden,  D.  B.,  Iwry,  J.,  Slack,  K.  J.,  Eiechstaedt,  J.  C.,  Zhao,  Y.,  Vaillant,  G.  E.,  &   Newberg,  A.  B.  (2016)  The  overview  effect:  Awe  and  self-­‐transcendent   experience  in  space  flight.  Psychology  of  Consciousness:  Theory,  Research,  and   Practice,  3(1),  1.     [16]  Warwick,  K.,  Hendriks,  A.,  Armstrong,  R.,  &  Pell,  S.  J.  (2017)  Space  bodies.  In   Star  Ark  (pp.  341-­‐382).  Springer  International  Publishing.     [17]  White,  F.  (1998)  The  overview  effect:  Space  exploration  and  human   evolution.  AIAA.     [18]  Woods,  A.  (2013)  Art  to  the  Stars:  an  historical  perspective  of  Space  Art,   May  26,  2013  [online]  available   http://www.arsastronautica.com/article.php?news_id=24  accessed  1  May  2017.     [19]  www.artistastronaut.com     [20]  www.bendinghorizons.com     [21]  www.explorerfishmovie.com     [22]  www.projectmoonwalk.net     [23]  www.projecpossum.org      

Dr Sarah  Jane  Pell  Bio:  

Sarah  Jane  Pell,  Ph.D.  is  an  Australia  Council  Fellow  (Emerging  &  Experimental   Arts),  TED  Fellow  (US),  Simulation  Astronaut  (EU)  and  Artist-­‐Astronaut   Candidate  (US)  Her  practice  marries  Aesthetics  with  Astronautics,  Occupational   Diving,  HCI  Design,  Biotechnology,  Body  Performance  and  Exploration.  She   engages  art  and  performance  practices  to  disrupt  thinking  on  the  kinds  of  high-­‐ risk  domains  that  can  be  innovated  on.  Project  Partners  have  included:  NASA,   European  Space  Agency  (ETTAS),  SymbioticA  (UWA),  Exertion  Games  Lab   (RMIT),  International  Space  University,  Singularity  University,  Atlantica   Expeditions,  Project  PoSSUM  and  Project  Moonwalk.  Novel  experiments,   prototypes,  live  art  events,  films,  publications,  exhibitions,  new  business,  policies   and  curiosities  result.       www.sarahjanepell.com              


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Moving with  My  Nature   Jade  Dewi  Tyas  Tunggal    

Painting of  Jade  Dewi  and  Jaia  Dewi  -­‐  Image  Credit:  Kyra  Henley  2015  

Opening:   Dancing  has  a  sense  of  searching;  for  belonging,  for  transcendence,  for  centring,   for  meaning  and  connection.To  touch  and  be  touched  through  an  encounter  with   the  world  of  land,  sea,  sky  and  cosmos.  Observing  the  precious  value  of  water  in   relation  to  environments,  bodies,  languages  and  gravity,  I  am  mindful  of  the  ebb   and  flow  of  my  respiration  and  reflect  on  the  powerful  paths  of  least  resistance.       Dance  as  an  art-­‐life  practice  occupies  my  moving  cultural  body.  Daily   explorations  of  embodied  and  self-­‐spirituality  brings  me  closeness,  participation  


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and relatedness.  Seeking  to  understand  balance  in  personal  and  communal  life,  I   use  the  living  measurements  of  my  breathing  body  to  calibrate  spaces  between   myself,  place  and  other.  Sensing  the  survival  of  my  spirit,  I  notice  qualities  of   mind  and  find  touching  connections  with  the  roots  and  roof  of  my  ancestry.  My   imagination  can  play  with  symbols,  myths  and  metaphors  of  my  felt  living  and   enliven  sensory  intuitive  experiences  as  foundations  for  authentic  storytelling.   Perceptions  of  energy,  water  and  gravity  in  Hindu  and  Buddhist  dharma  life   values,  Indigenous  Australian  Dreaming  beliefs,  esoteric  Javanese  spirituality   and  progressive  somatic  scientific  research  (including  neurology,  cognitive   psychiatry,  biochemistry,  genetics  and  quantum  physics  inform  my  creativity.   Universal  ideas  surrounding  immense  energetic  networks  of  inter-­‐connectivity   support  my  research  in  self  determination,  agency  and  presence.  Concentrating   on  the  interdependence  of  myself  with  others  and  place  inspires  a  freedom  to   listen,  respect  and  interact  across  different  cultural  beliefs  and  psychological   languages.       Head  Centre  Allows  Space:     Mind  knows  intellect  and  reason  emerge  from  movement,  then  become  conditioned   and  nurtured  by  movement.  Slow  time  intimacy  with  felt  senses  can  open   awareness  of  living  cellular  presence.  Imagination  in  movement  becomes  a  source   of  spiritual  transformation  and  development.     Dance  is  a  way  in  which  the  Javanese  contrive  to  lodge  powerful  feelings  to   identify  with  their  past  and  its  heroes.  From  my  experience  of  studying  Classical   Javanese  dance  in  Yogyakarta,  I  have  an  appreciation  for  the  role  that  dances  and   dancing  play  as  devices  for  educating  the  Javanese  in  the  proper  conduct  for  a   ceremonial  life.       My  father  is  a  direct  descendant  of  Kangjeng  Sultan  Hamengku  Buwana,  the  first   Javanese  Sultan  of  Yogyakarta,  and  I  feel  a  great  affinity  with  Javanese   spirituality  (Kejawen  Kebatinan).  I  am  fascinated  by,  and  draw  resonant   inspiration  from,  the  Gamelan  Karawetan  (gong  orchestras),  Wayang  Kulit   (puppet  shadow  theatre),  Jamu  (herbal  medicine),  Keris  offerings  (mystic   daggers),  Penchat  Silat  (martial  arts),  Seni  Tari  (art  dance)  and  Java  Candi   (sacred  stone  architecture).  I  have  greatest  respect  for  the  power  of  Gunung   Merapi  (fire  mountain),  one  of  the  youngest  and  most  active  volcanoes  in   Indonesia!  There  is  also  significant  energetic  power  at  Parangtrirtis  Pantai   (Beach)  where  the  queen  of  the  south  sea  lives  and  devours  lost  fishermen  and   sailors.     When  we  are  opened  to  the  energy  source  we  can  borrow  energy.  The  energy  is   borrowed  and  not  taken.  This  is  an  important  way  of  being,  because  taking   without  giving  creates  an  imbalance.  It  is  more  in  balance  with  nature  to  borrow,   because  borrowing  creates  a  natural  cycle.  The  process  of  giving  and  receiving,  is   applied  not  only  in  meditation  but  also  in  traditional  healing,  honouring  of   ancestors,  the  relationship  between  people  and  nature  and  importantly  in   artistic  expression.  It  is  a  way  of  relating  to  all  things,  to  the  entire  world,  both   seen  and  unseen,  both  felt  and  beyond  our  normal  senses.  


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The  Indonesian  art  critic  Atmadibrata  characterizes  the  function  of  Javanese   dance  as  a  way  of  learning  relations  with  the  cosmos,  ‘The  dance  developed  in   order  to  unite  oneself  with  the  hidden  forces  which  control  human  beings  and   their  environment.’[1]     In  my  dancing,  I  experiment  with  an  ancient  way  of  seeing;  where  everything  has   soul  and  valuable  interrelations.  Researching  the  possibility  of  microscopic   cellular  human  systems  having  interlocking  connections  with  the  ecosystems,   weather  systems  and  then  further  into  the  galactic  universe  intrigues  and  moves   my  cultural  body.     Perceiving  the  physical  boundaries  of  self  through  an  exploration  of  my  own  skin   as  a  meeting  place  with  the  world  through  touch,  I  focus  on  breathing  and  the   sensitivity  of  my  skin  whilst  dancing.  I  am  forever  learning  more  about  how  to   balance  openness  to  the  world  and  the  world’s  ability  to  consume  me  when  I  am   unconsciously  open  to  it.     A  Javanese  expression  for  the  mental  state  of  a  dancer  is,  ‘kothong  nanging   kebak’,  empty  yet  full.      

A dancer  performs  with  open  hands,  her  palms  faced  toward  her  -­‐  Photo  Credit:  Heidrun  Lohr   2013  

Heart  Yields  Personal  Essence:     Opening  the  heart  centre  to  the  world  and  finding  compassion,  we  can  sense  the   environment  through  grounding  awareness,  connecting  to  breathing  and  being   conscious  of  intimate  initiations  of  personal  movement.     Several  years  ago,  my  contribution  in  a  performance  project  with  Mirramu,   Kiryuho  and  Bangarra  dancers  opened  my  experience  of  space  as  consciousness   and  all  time  living.  We  camped  on  the  Yirrkala  Rangi,  a  sacred  beach  significant  


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to the  Yolgnu  Morning  Star  song-­‐line.  Listening  and  learning  from  the  landscape   and  custodians  of  that  heavenly  saltwater/freshwater  place,  I  observed  being  in   a  living  creation  story.  Its  shape-­‐shifting  characters  and  narratives  reflected  the   bright  constellations  dancing  across  the  dark  sky  in  the  symbolically  rich  waters.   Dancing  the  rhythmic  movements  of  seagull,  star,  spirit,  little  bat  and  brolga  on   the  soft  white  sand  was  like  floating  in  golden  stardust.  The  vivid  intensities  of   that  place  are  a  different  reality  from  living  in  regional  NSW.  The  strong  kinship   laws,  respect  for  elders  and  family/community  ethics  reminded  me  of  being  in   Java.     I  have  been  adopted  by  the  Marika  family  and  my  skin  group  is  Galikali  and  clan   Rirratjingu.  My  given  name  is  Murukun.  Meaning  morning  glory  flower,  I  initially   identified  with  this  plant  as  a  noxious  weed,  often  banished  during  local   Coastcare  gatherings.  Questions  revealed  the  purple  flower  to  be  significant  in   the  Morning  Star  ceremony  as  it  blossoms  with  the  morning  light  and  recalls   connections  with  Asian  ancestral  spirits.  Murukun  symbolizes  listening  to  the   land  as  the  plant’s  green  vines  hold  the  sand  dunes  together.       I  feel  the  heartache  of  the  Yirrijta  and  Dhuwa  custodians  as  their  land  and  waters   have  been  ravaged  and  poisoned  by  bauxite  mining.  Many  sicknesses  initiated  by   colonial  governance  continue  to  cause  untimely  death  and  destruction.  The   Yulngu  continue  with  great  heart  to  sing,  dance  and  paint  the  patterns  of   environmental  and  cultural  regeneration.  The  community  is  grieving  and   lamenting  for  the  health  and  security  of  their  sacred  land,  with  so  much  sorry   business  to  attend  to.     The  notion  of  Aboriginal  Dreamtime  is  a  time  out  of  time,  a  time  hidden  beyond   and  within  the  manifestation  of  the  land  and  its  flora  and  fauna,  the  earthly  sleep,   out  of  which  the  visible  landscape  continuously  comes  into  presence.  When   walking  and  dancing  in  familiar  and  new  places,  I  endeavor  to  tune  into  animate   energies  of  the  environment  and  become  attentive  to  the  elemental  influences  of   the  resting  spirit  ancestors.       The  experiential  circular  time  of  oral  culture  has  the  same  shape  as  perceivable   space.  Time  is  experienced  as  the  succession  of  seasons,  the  rotation  of  crops  and   migration  of  animals.  Space  too  is  known  through  circular  trajectories  that  travel   landscapes  with  wind  directions,  currents  and  tides,  or  in  ceremonies  as  the  sung   repetitions  of  place  names.  Dawn  and  dusk  frame  my  time  on  Earth  in  sure  cycles   -­‐  earth  orbiting  sun  and  moon  orbiting  earth  during  days,  nights  and  years.     I  draw  on  social  and  ceremonial  values  of  ‘dance  as  a  cultural  practice’  to  unearth   contemporary  relevance  for  the  traditional  beliefs  I  embrace,  to  nurture   experiencing  truth  and  knowledge  through  perception.       ‘Aboriginal  peoples  interpret  awareness,  or  ‘mind’,  not  as  a  power  that  resides   inside  their  heads,  but  rather  a  quality  that  they  themselves  are  inside  of,  along   with  the  other  animals  and  the  plants,  the  mountains  and  the  cloud.’  [2]   -­‐  David  Abram    


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These principles  guide  my  consideration,  embodied  exploration,  observation,   recollection  and  realisation  whilst  immersed  in  creative  processes  -­‐  being  in   nature,  in  the  dance  studio  and  performing.  Body  mind  spirit  techniques  give  me   the  permission  to  play  and  dance  a  healing  and  empowering  experience  of   ‘being’.    

A  photo-­‐collage  of  a  dancer  with  a  sheet  of  white  plastic,  performing  ‘Mermaid  Tears’,  indoors   and  outdoors  

Belly  Supports  Essential  Self:       Visceral  knowledge  and  wisdom  from  the  belly  centre.  The  body  thorough  dance  is   a  place  where  visible  and  invisible  entities  weave  physical  with  spiritual  expression.   Spiritual  qualities  of  joy,  wonder,  wisdom,  love  and  deep  contentedness  within   infinite  space.  


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As  Human  beings,  we  construct  our  moral  identity  by  unifying  our  past,  present   and  future.  I  am  conscious  of  the  journeys  of  my  ancestors  and  their  footprints   on  the  planet.  I  feel  the  deep  pain  of  loss  and  grieve  for  the  health  of  our  lands   and  oceans.  I  daily  lament  the  declining  quality  of  life  of  our  ocean,  rivers  and   other  watery  environments.  I  reflect  on  how  there  are  similar  conditions  of  the   life  of  one  persona  and  another  with  completely  different  cultural  backgrounds.   As  despite  these  obvious  differences  certain  aspects  of  emotions  and  spirit  are   the  same.  What  is  life?  What  is  death?  What  is  mourning  and  bereavement?     My  mother  is  seventh  generation  white  Australian  with  Scottish,  English  and   Viking  blood  lines.  I  was  born  in  Awabakal  country  and  now  I  live  in  Bundjalung   country.  I  am  most  happy  when  exploring  the  places  where  the  Australian  land   meets  the  South  Pacific  Ocean.  I  am  fed  by  the  elements  that  sustain  these   meeting  places  as  mother  with  father  connecting  spaces.  The  beach  is  charged   with  cleansing  energy  that  opens  my  heart  to  personal  presence  and  respect  for   ancient  air,  stone  and  ash.  The  vibrations  sweep  through  my  soul  spirit  and   awaken  every  cell  in  my  body  mind.  Water  supports  and  nourishes  me.  I  love   surfing  the  beach  and  point  breaks,  but  of  late  my  imagination  of  great  white   sharks  has  been  keeping  me  out  of  deep  water  and  instead  playing  in  the  shore   dumps  with  my  daughter.  The  environment  is  expansive  and  embracing  of  a   diversity  of  possibilities  and  perspectives.  There  is  a  quality  of  infinite  source   and  returning  to  the  essential  elements  of  being.       All  my  life  I  have  walked  along  the  tide  line  and  tide  pools,  of  seemingly  pristine   beaches,  searching  for  beautiful  sea  shells.  Listening  to  the  sound  of  the  sea   echoing  in  the  hollow  of  the  shells,  I  felt  their  value  and  returned  them  to  the   beach.  Over  the  years,  I  have  developed  the  practice  of  carrying  a  bucket  to   collect  rubbish  as  I  roam.  In  my  lifetime,  I  have  noticed  remarkable  increases  in   small  pieces  of  plastic  dotting  the  landscape,  especially  after  intense  storms  and   flooding.  Whilst  I  endeavor  to  reuse  and  recycle  when  possible,  I  have  immense   guilt  about  the  plastic  bags,  packaging  and  items  we  consume.       New  dance  work  floats  on  toxic  tides:   Previous  choreography  and  performance  works  always  include  a  considered   convergence  of  bodies,  space,  materials,  light,  sound  and  audience.  My  most   recent  solo  work,  ‘Mermaid  Tears’,  is  a  moving  lament  for  the  trillions  of  tonnes   of  plastic  rubbish  destroying  our  oceans  and  waterways.  The  work  premiered  at   the  2016  Artlands  regional  conference  in  Dubbo  NSW.  I  recently  performed  this   work  in  schools  and  cultural  museums  in  Bali  Indonesia.  As  an  ongoing   improvisation,  I  continue  to  challenge  the  personal  philosophy,  heart  yearning   and  draw  on  the  belly  utterances  I  am  writing  about  in  this  article.     Floating  on  toxic  tides,  plastics  quickly  break  apart  despite  taking  hundreds  of   years  to  decompose.  Large  plastic  pieces,  including  bags  and  bottles,  may   entangle  or  kill  wildlife  that  consume  them  but  micro-­‐plastics  are  insidious   pollutants  for  all  living  things.     ‘Mermaid  Tears’  integrates  solo  dancer  with  plastic  objects,  music,  audience  and   the  site  of  the  storytelling.  Whilst  searching  for  a  place  of  belonging  and  


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exploring the  possibility  of  existing  together,  the  dancer  becomes  aware  of  an   ever-­‐present  threat  from  the  plastic  objects  and  the  changing  circumstances  of   the  situation.  The  performance  is  a  cry  for  humanities  loss  of  empathy  for  nature   and  our  complex  attachment/addiction  to  consuming  plastics.     Closing:   Motivated  by  ecological  and  humanitarian  issues  my  performance  making   practice  situates  my  head,  heart  and  belly  centres  in  direct  relationship  with   nature.  Experiencing  a  flow  of  harmony  and  order  inside  my  dancing  (being),  I   also  sense  unknown  forces,  chaos  and  falling.  Highlighting  my  interdependence   with  fragile  ecosystems,  I  endeavor  to  appreciate  and  trust  inter-­‐subjective   experiences  as  consciousness.  Connection  happens  through  yielding   communication  and  sincere  compassion.  My  shifting  creative  experience  reflects   a  flexible  self-­‐concept  that  accepts  fluid  exchanges  within  a  diversity  of   environments.  Since  touch  unites  my  sensory  and  emotional  feeling  in  a  physical   way,  the  details  in  what  I  see  and  hear  resonate  with  my  internal  feelings.  My  felt   life  is  as  though  I  am  ‘in  touch’  with  the  energy  of  the  world.  When  I  dance,  I  feel   most  connected  to  everything  in  my  internal  and  external  life,  to  what  can  be   seen  and  what  is  hidden.  Movement  evokes  a  sense  of  mental,  physical,   emotional  and  creative  play  with  the  myths  and  metaphors  of  my  life.  Opening   out  towards  the  world  and  returning  into  myself,  I  dance  to  feel  my  aqueous   contact  and  connection  with  the  vast  human  narrative.  •       References:   [1]  Suryobrongto.  The  Classical  Yogyanese  Dance.  Yogyakarta:  Lembaga  Bahasa   Nasional  Tjabang,  1970.     [2]  Abram,  David.  The  Spell  of  the  Sensuous.  New  York:  Vintage  Books,  Random   House,  1996.      

Jade Dewi  Tyas  Tunggal  Bio  

Jade  Dewi  Tyas  Tunggal  is  a  Javanese  Australian  dancer,  choreographer  and   teacher.  Worldwide  dance  studies  led  to  freelancing  with  diverse  companies  and   unique  artists.  Inspired  by  travel,  architecture,  film,  music,  choreographic  and   somatic  practices  Jade  returned  to  Australia  to  achieve  a  Master  of  Choreography   (High  Distinction)  from  Victorian  College  of  the  Arts.  Jade  makes  solo  and   ensemble  performances  during  international  choreographic,residencies,  global   inter-­‐arts  projects,  dance  company  and  tertiary  dance  commissions,  and   intensive  cultural  exchanges  in  remote  communities.  Researching  resonance,   rhythm  and  tone  in  space,  movement,  sound,  touch  and  light,  she  endeavors  to   tell  stories  of  isolated  cultural  bodies  finding  transformations  with  seen  and   unseen  forces.        

ISSUE 8 | ENVIRONMENT | AUG 2017  

In volume #8, artists examine how environments shape experience and output in the creative realm.

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