This was the most recent in a long succession of projects I’ve worked on with choreographer Caley O’Neill. The show was commissioned by St Michael’s Grammar School, a selection of whose students formed the dance ensemble, and staged at Gasworks theatre in September 2010. The underlying narrative of the piece is an interpretation of the story the Island of Dr Moreau (or Frankenstein, or the Golem etc. take your pick) set in a lab in which hybrid animal/people are brought to life and eventually revolt against their creators. The aesthetic of the show borrowed from early horror films of the 1930s mashed up with modern fashion and entomological illustrations, and the sound tries to draw together similar threads. The music composed is a series of intense but pared back electronic works whose underlying materials are sampled from early percussion recordings and sounds produced by insects, treading the territory between straight music and sound design I seem to keep coming back to with my electronic music.
This show was my second collaboration with Caley O’Neill, and the first of two inspired by the writing of Norwegian novelist and poet Tarjei Vesaas. This piece takes hold of the unique landscapes described in Vesaas’ poetry and abstracts them into vast imaginary spaces. This piece was performed by Alex O’Neill-King and Susan van den Ham in the middle of 2008. The sound drifts between textural sound design and Scandinavian pop inspired electronica.
“…and there where the bottom is clear to the traveller
And shimmers with yellow sand and shoals,
Where the tiny, jewel-like islands
Number thousands, this little lake is almost lost among them –
May all you are be in this,
feel, while still there’s time:
The swelling flow, the current
Lying in the water like waving hair,
and washing out to sea.”
I worked on this dance piece with choreographer Caley O’Neill in late 2007 while I was still in the first year of my undergraduate degree and Caley was completing her postgraduate diploma. It explores the ideas of imprint and memory. The music is dense and beat heavy, an explosion of sampled body sounds abstracted into glitchy drum loops.
This was a dance project I worked on in 2008 with choreographer Caley O’Neill as part of the completion of her Masters Degree at VCA. The music explores space and a kind of lyrical minimalism, using computer editing to tease a short excerpt of piano improvisation into a 25 minute theme and variations. Both the dance and the sound were very much inspired by the words of Norwegian writer Tarjei Vesaas, in this instance largely by his book The House in the Dark which describes Norway’s involvement in World War II, in particular depicting the goings on in a country house during wartime using it as a metaphor for the country as a whole.
Caley’s words about the piece are below…
This is Where They Are is an installation piece that explores the writing of Tarjei Vesaas. A Norwegian writer with a gift for detail, his novel The House in the Dark has been the stimulant for this work. Written during the war, its controversial words saw it buried in a zinc box for 5 years until it publishing in 1947. Filled with deranged yet fascinating characters this work explores the many physical traits they posses and their inhabiting of the house.
This year has taken me on an amazing journey, on which I have been lucky enough to discover the essence of my own art making. Here I search to find a deeper more embodied performative state in which thick physical environments are created. Through a deeply investigated exploration of improvisation I have tried to create an immersive and intricate physical style that is both interesting and immersive.
Derrida talks of our societies obsession with sense making. However it is here that I ask you to do no such thing. Sit and watch, listen and feel, I ask that you let your imagination do the rest.
I know only how this work is structured…..not what it is about.
Created By: Caley O’Neill
Choreographer – Caley O’Neill in collaboration with the performers
Performers – Alex O’Neill-King, Susan Van Den Ham and Jessica Devereux
Costume and Set Design – Emily Collett and Caley O’Neill
Composer – Camille Robinson
Lighting Design – Alexandre Malta and Caley O’Neill
…the serious lady and the queen bee bump heads in the night…
This was a dance work by Nikki Fay Baxter which I scored in early 2008. The sound included tunes as well as soundscapes evocative of a hive derived from samples of sounds of Nikki and I manipulating an antique book on beekeeping.
Staged at Kick Gallery Northcote.