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De-invisibilise yourself: Three livestream events

25 - 26 November 2021
7.30pm – 9.00pm AEDT
Zoom
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JOIN NOW // 7.30PM, FRI 26 NOV

How do we trust each other when we can’t even touch each other? How do we make live performance in this half-space between us? Why do we have to share our world with corporate avatars and buffering glitches?

We want a performance that is clear. We want a performance that tells us how to care for our houseplants. We want a performance that explains “the meta”. We want a performance that makes us feel less worried about the future. We want a performance that doesn’t drag on too long. We might be on an adventure, and we want you to join us, live and alive wherever you are.

Register for three short live performances, delivered online, created by emerging artists in the final-year Collaborative Performance Making course at UNSW Sydney.

 

The Works

Acknowledgement // These projects were created on Gadigal, Bidjigal, Wangal, and Garigal/Caregal land and we extend our respect to elders past, present and emerging. These lands were never ceded and continue to be occupied through the use of violence. This is, was and always will be Aboriginal land.

1 //
Thinky Dinky Doo (am I overthinking this?) 

Althea Ho Yan Cheung, Anna McKey, Madeline Kalde 

Stop! You’re being too serious! Now start again, and reflect on the recurring thoughts of everyday life. Thinky Dinky Doo is a performance work which pairs together both the spontaneous and the rigorously contemplated, to explore the complexities of thought process and action. The performers have pushed their limits to craft a montage of moments that are obscure, personal and bold, leaving the audience to question “am I overthinking this?” 

Thank you // Theron Schmidt, Paul Matthews, Mark Mitchell, our classmates, and gravity. 

2 //
A Braided Continuum 

Jess Franke, Julie-Ann Mansour, Sonjana Dave

I bring a piece of me to the front. I send another to the back. I bring my creativity to the front. I send my courage to the back.  

Together we create a braid, tying together our lives, our spaces, our words, ourselves. Here we perform a continuum of motion, as our three sets of hands each take on the acts of braiding, pulling, and unravelling. 

The process of creating this work involved the weaving together of our individual and collaborative works and experiments from across the term with original pieces of text to create this collaged performance. 

We aim to produce a performance that evokes mindfulness, trust, tranquility and finally, a sense of togetherness. 

Music // The Abundant Life Soundtrack 2 by The Hooga Shop

3 //
Vulnerability Made My Computer Crash 

Ailsa Liu, Diego Rodrigo Garcia, Noah Cohen Stoddart

Everything has been cancelled and people have moved on 
We've spent hours to please you in new ways, with 
a noisy and alive collaboration. 

Laugh, without knowing where the humour lies. 
Listen, drinking from a firehose. 
Look, at worlds we chronically create together online. 

Patiently lose yourself 
Tracing the 'meta' and connectedness. 
Where? 
Be led onward, inward and 
Down the rabbit hole 
Feeling nostalgic without context 
Waiting for something significant to rise to the surface 
Worries, yet to be found. 
We fight for the ways in which we can free ourselves and express the hidden and overlooked. 

It's really cool to be seeing you. 

Thank you // Our families, Jordana Wegman 

 

Program Notes

Theron Schmidt
Senior Lecturer, Theatre & Performance

I can feel a bit old these days. I grew up when the internet was a different place, somewhere you went to, as in, “I’m going online”. I remember when John Perry Barlow, a white North American, issued his “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace“ in Davos, Switzerland, in 1996, dreaming, as white folks often do, of a ‘new world’, free of the perceived oppressions of governments, “a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.”

Today that sounds hopelessly naïve. The online world is a world that seems only to exaggerate and amplify privileges and prejudices, to be controlled not by governments but by monolithic corporations that span the globe and by trillions of algorithmic calculations per second, all trying to predict, even to shape, our behaviour. For people like the artists sharing work in this class, online is not somewhere you go, but part of the air we breathe and the culture we inhabit. It permeates all our actions.

But somehow the kind of idealist technofuturism of Barlow persists in the new millennium, with more-or-less charismatic (but still all white) billionaires proclaiming that technology will solve humanity’s problems, bring us closer together, eradicate the threats that we ourselves have made. It’s hard to take them seriously when, say, the creator of Tesla can sell a vision of clean electric transport, and at the same time advocate cryptocurrencies—digital assets that are figuratively mined by massive consumption of computational power, which in turn is powered by resources that are literally mined, mostly by coal-powered plants, previously in China, and now moving to Kazakhstan and elsewhere.

Universities, too, used to embrace a vision of technofuturism: online teaching will bring learning to all! (Not to mention new profits to universities.) The past two years have been a reality check, and many universities have done an about-face and are embracing the value of face-to-face learning.

But this year, in this class, we have been working in this online ‘space’. As we gather and make and share work with each other, it is true in part that we have explored another kind of space: a world of glitches and buffering, echoes and feedback loops, partial presences and digital ghosts, virtual backgrounds and ironically chosen avatars. As you’ll see in these collaboratively-created performance works, the emerging artists are working with these features as generative constraints, as material with which to generate new kinds of art.

And yet, what we have found is that we don’t so much move into a new space as we bring all of our spaces along with us: our bedrooms, our friendships, our restlessness and exhaustion, our hope and our love for each other. And it is clear to me, as I have had the privilege of sharing this experience with these brilliant young artists, that any solutions to our self-made crises will not come from the technological dreams of the uberwealthy, but from tenderness and attention, from vulnerability and trust, from un-muting and de-invisibilising ourselves and learning to collaborate, together and alive, wherever and however we can. These young artists are showing us the way.