Monday, March 9, 2009

Smello-Vision Double Bill: Holiday and Aisthesis


QUARTERBRED is a 3 year old artist run initiative supporting and presenting hybrid arts projects. The TINY STADIUMS FESTIVAL 2009 has been presenting work from a wide selection of artists from the 24th February to the 7th March. “QUARTERBRED involves Blue Ribbon Artists cramming big experiences into small spaces.” The PACT Theatre has been the host building.

HOLIDAY, created by Spat+Loogie (Lara Thoms and Kat Barron) is interactive art “exploring the impersonal nature of conventional tourism.” Arriving at the theatre, and on collecting your tickets you are asked to fill out your Boarding Pass (the fanciful fun of doing so, the first of one’s own creative delight). When your flight is called you go through all the rigmarole of an actual boarding. Questions asked, detection for metal objects, the removal of shoes etc. You are then ushered to real Qantas seating, as if on an airplane. The only odd thing is that you put your bare feet into a plastic container. You are then given written and aural flight instructions and shown by the “crew” the exit procedure: It turns into a dance routine. One is given a food tray and then Video Goggles are place over your eyes and take off commences. The combination of video and live action is transmitted to you in your seat. One travels to exotic places: deserts, beaches, casinos, restaurants etc. Accompanied by a sound track the “crew” also give you sensual experiences, taste, touch, smell to compliment the visual and aural goggled video. All in all it is a very tantalising and exotic experience and is much fun. The live artists and the technical preparation is immaculate and much like the SYDNEY FESTIVAL presentation of the Belgium OTROEREND GOED company of THE SMILE OFF YOUR FACE it is a truly interactive experience that can be fairly exhilarating. This work does not begin to go into any deeper “philosophical” contemplation that the Belgium company may have taken some of us, it is fairly content to stay on a superficial ironic observation. Amusing and maybe forgettable, unlike the questions about yourself that THE SMILE OFF YOUR FACE may have provoked. Other artists assisting this creation were Teik-Kim Pok, Naomi Derrick and sound by Fred Rodrigues. Well worth catching. (Approximately 30 minutes.)

AISTHESIS is the second part of the night. In another space, James Brown (a Sound Artist) takes one on an exploration of music and sound as experienced by the body through expanded highlighting of other senses: sight and smell as well as our hearing. We sit on cushions and mats on the floor, a screen is alert above us, constructed smells are wafted to us, sometimes by the mixing of perfumes on an oil burner or pumped out over us in the exploding whoosh of a scented haze machine. Mr Brown began by playing notes and a simple melody on a piano, that reverberated gently to us, accompanied by visual colour “blobs “on the screen (a kind of synaesthesia experience), gradually with samples and a prepared soundscape with an inter mixing of live instruments (piano, timpani) we begin a very powerful soundscape journey, wrapped around us, (occasionally it vibrated my whole body) whilst visually we are entranced by images that have a "new age" glimmer of what I recalled of past psychedelic times. (On Sydney Mardi Gras night it may have been a very appropriate timing for some of us.) The technical feats are “awesome” but the experience was not as transportive as it could have been. Maybe the repetition of some of the imagery became just a little tiresome. It was also odd for me to watch the artist in the throes of his performance, casually take a glass of red wine sip or two - it jarred my belief system, but then was it meant to be a visual piece? If so, all of what you present to me has meaning. The glass of wine took me to my conscious cushion seat at the Pact Theatre.

HOLIDAY has been seen in Melbourne and I am sure will pop up again. Keep an eye out. The QUARTERBRED blog may keep you alerted.

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