Stephen Bain, Sally Barnett, Chris Braddock, Carol Brown, Craig Cooper, David Cross, Sean Curham, Alison East, Murray Edmond, Brent Harris, Mark Harvey, Mark Jackson, Alys Longley, Rose Martin, Sally J Morgan, Moana Nepia, Tru Paraha, Val Smith, Louise Tu’u, Kalisolaite ‘Uhila, Alexa Wilson, Becca Wood, Interviewer and editor: Melissa Laing
Stephen Bain is a New Zealand-based performance maker who produces installations and theatrical performances in unconventional spaces as well as theatres and galleries. An imaginative use of space is often at the heart of his performances. His outdoor and public works commonly deal with intimate settings within a public place where the spectator is invited into the theatrical environment. Over the past five years his work has achieved widespread success in festivals throughout New Zealand, Belgium, Holland, France, Australia and Canada.
His intimate installation-performance ‘Baby, where are the fine things you promised me?’ caught the imagination of a wide audience for its portrayal of home as a miniature in the urban landscape with the crouching artist living inside. This enjoyed four summer tours throughout Europe. In 2011 his dance-theatre production ‘When Animals Dream of Sheep’ was commissioned for site-specific festivals in The Netherlands and France (Oerol festival & Chalon dans la rue). In 2012 Stephen was the artistic director and curator for a festival of cross-discipline live-art, the New Performance Festival in collaboration with The EDGE in Auckland.
Sally Barnett is a Theatre Producer who has worked in the arts industry for more than 15 years. During this time she has worked across festivals both in New Zealand and internationally including the Edinburgh Fringe, the Hong Kong Fringe, Big in Falkirk (outdoor arts festival in Glasgow), the New Zealand International Arts Festival and more recently as Director of the inaugural and subsequent Auckland Fringe Festivals.
In addition to working with a number of different arts events including the Cuba Street Carnival, The World of Wearable Arts and the NZ Human Rights Film Festival, Sally spent 5 years working at THE EDGE in Auckland as their development producer working with New Zealand artists across all performing arts genres to support them to present their work. Sally is currently the Executive Producer for pacific theatre company, The Conch.
Chris Braddock is an artist and academic. He is Associate Professor of visual arts in the School of Art & Design, AUT University, New Zealand, and on the committee of the AUT ST Paul St Gallery. His art practice involves performance, video and sculpture. His theoretical research stems from the disciplines of art history, anthropology, and performance studies. Key terms that underscore Braddock’s art and writing: performative sculpture, part-object/ part-sculpture, moulds and casts, material trace, absence and presence of the body, labour of making, modes of participation, performance and its documentation, animism, contagion, art and spirituality, blasphemy.
Braddock’s 2013 book Performing Contagious Bodies: Ritual Participation in Contemporary Art published by Palgrave Macmillan explores the problematic of the ‘objects’ of live/ performance art: either those activated within performances and then acting as traces, and/ or those produced to activate viewer relations in a performative way.
Carol Brown is a choreographer, performer and Associate Professor in Dance Studies at the University of Auckland. Renowned for her trans-disciplinary collaborations, Carol’s work evolves through dialogue and experimentation with other artists in particular from the fields of architecture, music, visual arts and design. After completing a Phd in practice-led research at the University of Surrey, Carol went on to become Choreographer in Residence at the Place Theatre London. Carol’s choreography has toured internationally and been presented at major festivals. Her writings on dance, space, technology and sexuality are published widely. Her teaching and supervision is focused on contemporary choreography, site-responsive dance and critical spatial practices. www.carolbrowndances.com
Craig Cooper has worked in the arts sector for 15 years in Australia and New Zealand as a producer, performer, writer, director and funding advisor. He has worked as a producer at both Christchurch’s Court Theatre and The Studio at Sydney Opera House and was recently Senior Programme Advisor at Creative New Zealand with national portfolio responsibility for theatre.
Over the last six years he has worked at Auckland’s THE EDGE Centre for Performing Arts, containing five performance venues in the centre of the city. The centre delivers a comprehensive range of programmes across all genres of performance and is the home for many national and local companies and festivals.
Most recently Craig was Manager Programme Development for THE EDGE and held executive producer responsibility for a variety of programme strands including Families and Young people and Arts and Audience Development and is a board member for the biennial Auckland Fringe. In 2014 he was appointed Festival Director for the bi-ennial Christchurch Arts Festival.
David Cross is an artist based in Wellington, New Zealand. He has exhibited extensively in New Zealand, Australia, Eastern Europe and the United Kingdom. His practice extends across performance, installation, sculpture public art and video and has examined ideas of risk, pleasure and participation often utilizing inflatable structures. His performance/installation work Viscous was included in Perspecta 99 in Sydney and subsequently shown at ACCA in Melbourne in 2000. He has performed in international live art festivals in Poland, Croatia and was selected as a New Zealand representative at Prague Quadrennial in 2011. His work Bounce was included in the New Zealand survey of performance Mostly Harmless at Govett Brewster Art Gallery in 2006. A single channel video work Tear was included in the The Mantel of Water curated by Ian Wedde at Rotorua Museum of Art and History in 2008.
More recently Cross was commissioned by National Institute of Experimental Art/City of Sydney to develop Drift, a large-scale public art commission for Taylors Square in Sydney (2011) and his installation Lean was included in The Aberrant Object at Wellington City Art Gallery (2012). His work Hold was selected for inclusion in Liveworks at Performance Space, Sydney in 2010 and featured as part of the Arts House season in the Melbourne International Festival in October 2012. Forthcoming projects in 2013 include commissions for Scape Public Art in Christchurch, Arte Magra at AEAF in Adelaide and Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Melbourne. He is Associate Professor in Fine Arts at Massey University. In March 2014 he will take up the position of Professor of Art at Deakin University, Melbourne.
Sean Curham is a choreographer whose performances occur inside and outside the artworld. He received his PhD in 2010 from AUT University. Recent performances have taken place at Glitch (ST PAUL St Gallery, 2009), the Old Folks Ass. (20011, 2013), the New Performance Festival (2012), Freedom Farmers (Auckland Art Gallery, 2014), the Spectres of Evaluation Conference (2014) and the Festival of Uncertainty (2014). Curham is a member of Feasting House, a collective of independent artists who co-ordinated the Festival of Uncertainty.
Alison East (M.Phed Otago) is a Senior Teaching fellow in Dance Studies at the University of Otago, and a dancer, choreographer and educator of more than thirty nine years experience. Her performance work reflects her interest in cross-disciplinary collaborative process and eco-political themes. Current research interests lie in the development of an ecologically based pedagogy for the teaching of dance, assessment of creative process, dance ethnography and, more recently, in dance’s role in inter and trans disciplinary research within the university. Her teaching areas include: somatic education, choreography, dance history and dance and community. She regularly presents and teaches internationally, is a member of several major national and international dance organisations and is a published dance reviewer.
Murray Edmond is known variously for his work as a poet, playwright, and as an editor and critic. His first collection of poems, Entering the Eye, was published in 1973, and several other collections have followed. Many of his poems have been featured in journals and in anthologies. His extensive theatre work has led to a distinguished career writing for the stage, and Edmond is known for his involvement with local theatre, contributing as a writer, performer and producer. He has been involved with alternative theatre in Wellington as writer, performer and producer for groups such as Theatre Action and the Town and Country Players and has been the Dramaturg for all of Indian Ink’s productions since it was established in 1997. In 1996 he completed his doctoral thesis on the history of alternative theatre in New Zealand between the 1960s and 1980s, entitled ‘Old Comrades of the Future’. He is an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland
Brent Harris is an artist, writer and teacher working between visual arts and dance, living in Wellington, New Zealand. Recent projects include Posteering, The Physics Room, Christchurch (2013); Wednesday, Auckland (2013); Oct Dec Series, ST PAUL Street Gallery (2011); and Project Saturday, Berlin (2011). He recently completed a PhD in performance practice at The School of Art & Design, Auckland University of Technology–Figuring Diachrony: Ethics before the voice. This engaged the fields of contemporary art, performance studies and performance philosophy. It explored performance in relation to ethics philosopher Emmanuel Levinas’s proposition of a passive participation in ‘the image’ that suspends conceptuality–no longer the participation of a subject. The project explored selected passages of David Wills’s Dorsality; performance works of Ant Hampton and Glen Neath, and Martin Nachbar; and writings on performance of André Lepecki, Alan Read, and Liza Kharoubi.
Dr Mark Harvey is a performance artist and live artist working with choreography. His practices are conceptually driven and often dialogue and test out notions of minimal endurance with constructions of idiocy, seriousness and deadpan humour, drawing from his visual arts and contemporary dance influences. Some of the galleries and live art events he has presented in include: Enjoy Public Art Gallery (Wellington, NZ, 2003), Govett Brewster Art Gallery (Taranaki, NZ, 2006), Physicsroom Contemporary Artspace (Christchurch, NZ, 2002 and 2006), Parnu International Video and Film Festival Pain in the Class (Estonia, 2006), PSi 15 (Croatia, 2009), Livingroom in collaboration with Isobel Dryburgh (Auckland, NZ, 2010), Letting Space at the new Zealand International Festival of the Arts (2012) and the 55th Venice Bienalle for visual arts (2013). He has curated a range of performance art events such as Lazy Susan and Smelly John (St Paul St Gallery, Auckland, 2005 and 2006). Harvey has been published internationally in a range of topics related to performance, art and choreography such as The Live Art Almanac (2013), The South Project (2013), Performance Research Journal (2006, 2010 and 2013), and The Swedish Dance History (2012). He holds a PhD in performance practice from the AUT School of Art and Design.
Mark Jackson is currently Associate Professor of Design in the School of Art & Design, Faculty of Design & Creative Technologies, AUT University. He received his PhD from the University of Sydney in the discipline of architecture in the early 1990s and has taught at the University of Sydney (1988-1996), the University of Adelaide (1996-1999) and then at AUT (2000-2013). He has also held visiting posts at the University of Technology, Sydney, the University of New South Wales, and the University of South Australia, as well as appointments as Visiting Scholar at M.I.T. (Boston) and Visiting Professor at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany. His research has a focus on ethics philosophy in the broad field of design cultures, with particular emphasis on spatial design. His research engages particularly the tradition of Continental Philosophy, especially the works of Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida and Agamben. He has published in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, design cultures, film-philosophy, and the visual arts. Jackson has produced a number of film and video works, screened internationally. He is currently developing a monograph publication on aspects of the work of Heidegger, as well as a series of digital films on capital and empire.
Alys Longley is a researcher and teacher with a primary focus on writing and experimental documentation in performance making. Her research foci include practice-led research, interdisciplinary projects, ethnography, narrative research, somatic education methods and inclusive dance education. In 2012 Alys led two key research projects; Fluid City, an arts-science-education project on water sustainability in Auckland, and Corporeal Translations, a choreographic research project exploring interdisciplinary practices in generating and refining dance, using the discipline of translation to explore the travel of meaning between forms. Alys has recently published in the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices (U.K), Symbolic Interactionism (U.S), and Writings on Dance (Australia). In 2013 she published an exploration in essay form of her choreographic collaboration Corporeal Translations in Dance Research Aotearoa.
Dr Rose Martin gained her formative dance training at the New Zealand School of Dance, Wellington, while also receiving dance learning and performing experiences in Australia, London, Canada and Japan. She subsequently worked with the Royal New Zealand Ballet as a dancer for a number of years. Rose has extensive dance research and teaching experience in the southern Mediterranean region, and during 2010 she was based in Amman, Jordan, where she taught a contemporary dance workshop programme at Al-Balad Theatre. Rose’s research interests are currently focused on international education in dance; cross-cultural conceptualisations of the dancing body; dance and post-colonialism; dance and identity; and issues related to dance in transnational contexts and cultural transference. Rose’s teaching practice encompass the topics of dance techniques, dancers’ health and wellbeing, dance and culture, and dance ethnography.
SALLY J. MORGAN
Sally J Morgan is a conceptual artist and cultural historian whose research spans creative works and text-based inquiry. She is currently Professor of Fine Arts and Director of Doctoral Research at Toi Rauwharangi College of Creative Arts at Massey University. Her writing on visual artefacts as ‘historical texts’ informs her performance, installation and publically located contextual artworks. She has presented work in France, Switzerland, Germany, the USA, Japan, Brazil, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as in the UK and New Zealand.
Career highlights have included work being presented at the ICA in London, the Arnolfini in Bristol, and Belluard Bollwerk, International Live Art Festival, Fribourg Switzerland. Morgan has also published in international journals and has chapters in a number of scholarly collections.
Moana Nepia (Ngati Porou) is Assistant Professor at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. He recently completed a PhD at AUT University, Auckland. His PhD thesis, supervised by Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul, Welby Ings and Wiremu Kaa, explores Te Kore (nothingness, void and potentiality). His exegesis articulates the first creative practice-led PhD methodology rooted in mātauranga and tikanga Māori. The research generated national and international video screenings; an hour-long performance (ten performers, one Harley Davidson and one dog); a duet nominated as the most memorable dance event in New Zealand in 2012; and poetry published in a journal of contemporary Māori writing.
Tru Paraha is an Auckland based artist working in the interstices of dance, performance art, choreography, and poetry. She is a graduate of the NZ School of Dance and recently completed her Masters thesis at The University of Auckland, which involved a practice-led investigation of Minor cho[reo]graphy. Her engagement with critical theory includes an interest in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and the nascent field of performative writing. She is a former longtime member of MAU and the founder of new performance forum HINE-.
Through various meanderings and blunderings in the fields of feminism, anarchism, contemporary dance training, queer theory, contact improvisation communities and somatic movement research Val Smith landed herself deep into an artistic practice focused on the body – as a site of political inference.
She has been operating as an independent choreographic artist since 2000 when she graduated from Unitec’s contemporary dance programme. Her choreographic practice involves experimentation with altered perception, intimate experience and interrelational encounters where she attempts to create immersive and conceptually provoking environments for audiences. Her approach to choreography seeks to unsettle a dominant conception of what dance is, where responses to her work are varied including expressions of fascination, intrigue or frustration, and feelings of confusion and/or warmth and care. Her work has been presented in New Zealand, Australia and the US as part of dance and fringe festivals, curated events and as independent productions.
Her current research is a choreographic practice-led project towards a Masters degree at Auckland University. The project challenges the spectatorial culture common to dance and explores alternative methods for engaging with performance. Microperceptual and micropolitical strategies are employed in the development of a choreographic event Circle in Box . She draws on somatic, improvisation and site-specific methods in this work to create ways of inviting audience into a kinesthetically immersive performance environment. Deleuze-inspired perceptual modes are activated, proposing an ecology of participation in choreography.
Louise Tu’u is a playwright, director and curator, whose interdisciplinary work spans visual arts, dance, film and live performance for over a decade. Tu’u has initiated and contributed over twenty shows in diverse venues such as Limbus Europae in Berlin; s/f, Whammy Bar, the Auckland Art Gallery, Galatos and Metro Theatre in Auckland, Physics Room in Christchurch, Martin e. Segal theatre in New York. She also curated the initial Top 16 show at St Paul St gallery, which has since travelled to Taiwan, New Plymouth and Rarotonga, as well as curating Dead Mileage, a twelve-hour performance with Jeremy Leatinu’u. Tu’u has also contributed work inupcoming show Affection at Papakura Arts Gallery. Her work in film production includes many TVCs, short films such as The Trophy and assistant directed on critically acclaimed features such as The Orator and Night Shift. Residencies and fellowships include the Royal Court Theatre in London, Arcola Theatre in London and Hebbel am Ufer Theatre in Berlin.
Tu’u leads We Should Practice, which she started in 2009. Recently, she was invited in August 2013 as one of five international jury members and the first from New Zealand, to decide on and award two prizes for the Zürcher Theater Spekatel, the biggest festival in Switzerland. Currently, she works as Creative Producer and Director at Toi Whakaari: National Drama School in Wellington.
Born in Tonga and raised in New Zealand, award winning performance artist Kalisolaite ‘Uhila draws inspiration from daily routines and everyday objects. Since graduating from AUT with a Bachelor in Visual Arts in 2010, there has been great public and media interest in his perfomances. TV3 featured Pigs in the Yard in Aotea Square where ‘Uhila was seen living in a shipping container with a pig named ‘Colonist’ for eight days. ‘Uhila believes that “If you push boundaries you have to go extreme” demonstrated when he spent four days and nights on the Wellington waterfront re-enacting his Uncle’s journey to New Zealand in the 2012 performance Stowaway. These works were part of The Performance Arcade, curated by Sam Trubridge, and received praise for their “subtlety and sophistication” by reviewer Mark Amery. In March 2012, Kalisolaite Uhila lived homeless for a two-week period in the vicinity of Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in Pakuranga as part of the exhibition What do you mean we? In 2014 this work, Mo’ui tukuhausia, was nominated for the Walters Prize at the Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tamaki
Alexa Wilson is an artist from New Zealand based in Berlin for 3 years and has created experimental performance, choreography, video and written for 15 years. She has presented over 20 interdisciplinary live and video works in New Zealand, Europe, Australia and New York. Wilson has a BA in Film/Women’s studies, BPSA in Contemporary Dance and an MA in Film Production. Recently she completed a PG Dip Fine Art with Transart in Berlin/NYC.
She has won several awards for her works in New Zealand, including interactive solo “Weg: A-Way” (4 Auckland Fringe Awards/Auckland Arts Festival Award), “Toxic White Elephant Shock” (Creative NZ, Tup Lang Award), Magic Box (Best Emerging NZ choreographer/NZ Listener). In 2014 she is attending a Red Gate Residency in Beijing, to complete the film version of “Extraordinary Aliens” as well as choreographing on Footnote Dance Company touring NZ and is about to publish a book “Theatre of Ocean” in Berlin. She has performed Star/Oracle worldwide in NYC, Berlin, Frankfurt, Belgrade and will perform the work in Brussels, Poland and NZ this year.
Becca works in performance practices that slip between the intersections of the body, space and digital environments. Her interest in this interdisciplinary area comes from years of working between the disciplines of design and dance practices.
Becca is currently completing a PhD at The Auckland University where she also lectures in Dance Studies. Her practice-led research examines the potential for attunement within the somatics of social choreographies for the ears, through digitally and prosthetically augmented listening. Through her research and practice she continues to work across the arts in performance, somatic research and education, and digital-based art and design.
Melissa Laing is an artist, theorist and curator based in New Zealand. She received her PhD from the Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney in 2008. Her current research projects include the Performance Ethics Working Group, an initiative of the University Without Conditions and a history of public art and museums at airports for which she was awarded a 2012 – 13 Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship to undertake research into the archives of the Public Art Development Trust. She is also a member of Dissenting Histories, a collective whose priority is preserving the history and practice of protest in Aotearoa New Zealand .
In 2012 she curated an selection of new commissions that screened on Air New Zealand’s Inflight Entertainment system. The same year she also co-curated Assembly, an exploration of fearless speech with Charlotte Huddleston and Vera Mey for the ST PAUL St Gallery, Auckland. She has also curated two seasons of exhibitions for ST PAUL St Gallery, Print Season 2011, and Sculpture Season 2010 as well as In My Empty House : Ruark Lewis with Loma Bridge, 2010, ST PAUL St Gallery One, Bricolage Disco : Wade Marynowsky, 2010, ST PAUL St Gallery Two.