EVEN! (2014)

a remount of kelley-gander-floyer

with Brennan Olver, Taiga Blake, Kokomi Blake, Ada Williams Kriegler, Henry Williams Kriegler, Matali Riley, Elise Smith, Charlie Thompson, Xuan Valmorbida, Ivan Cheng,

styled by Alin and Meta Huma using Ivan's clothing

Deakin Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne

The audience have programs, containing a text of correspondences with Dorian Šilec Petek

Performers divided into Group A, Brennan, Group B.

Group A contains Elise Smith, Xuan Valmorbida, Henry Williams Kriegler and his mother Sarah Kriegler. Taiga Blake is ill, and hence, absent.

Group B contains Kokomi Blake, Matali Riley, Charlie Thompson, Ada Williams Kriegler, and Ivan Cheng

Brennan refers to the artist Brennan Olver, invited to perform at the recommendation of George Egerton-Warburton.

The performers are at the top of the stairs, synchronising their in-ear headsets. This is done by the flicking of a small switch after a countdown. The audio file begins, and there is no way to move it forward or backward – it is suspended. Tt begins with three minutes of to a version of 'landslide'. Only Brennan is microphoned is using a headset, and the audience is far below and behind the amplification. The lighting technician has a time structure and permission to play. The photographer is encouraged to orbit. The children incant the text and follow directions, though the score and arrangement are always eroding the content. Much is inaudible. There is a large wind machine in the audience area, and the audience faces the seating bank. A large piece of mylar foil, with equal dimensions to a room in Sydney's Carriageworks, is uncrumpled and carried down by the performers.

The bushfires began yesterday and the car was parked outside the dentist. No sunset to buffet me home; there was a hint of smoke in the air and the sun still blazed. The drive was not long enough to mark time. The air conditioner was on an automatic setting so began very loudly. I brought the windows down so the sound changed and expanded. Though just a return trip from West to East. Breathing in, is that soot? and I thought I could almost see the polluted air move in currents with the staler air of the car, such speed.

On Sunday morning I mowed the lawn, which hadn’t been done since I left Sydney in May. Usually I would go around the lawn, from the edges to the centre, but that wasn’t necessary. Winter growth meant I was mainly dealing with flowering weeds. I cut them down and what remained was very vibrant and different types of green.

our emails out of context
IC - The drive was pleasant, sometimes I rolled down the windows to feel the wind.
TS - I love putting my hands through the wind whilst driving. So free and full of air.

Re-listening to the recordings I have of the composers involved in the project, and enjoyed them a lot. There can be such an interesting space between a person and the work they make. Some things barely change and only gently evolve. I washed the car I drove to Melbourne and back; I couldn’t get off all the dead insects on the bonnet and windscreen.

Violence. Seeing a fragment of the video documentation from EVEN! I became excited. Towards the end so much is indistinguishable because of the white noise generated by the mylar sheet and the wind machine. Is it that I’m attracted to the idea of a libretto, of having the text treated in a way that everything else obscures it?


Dear Alin,

The day has continued; I am in Coburg and comfortable with company.

I'll express my uncertainty with being able to share specifics with you about what will explicitly happen; the structure will probably be restrained. Everything that happens will probably be restrained. The performers will be asked to perform in a style that might be considered somewhat mechanical - there are unisons, there are departures. Within the idea that the word 'lacan' is associated with it, it's interested in the idea of asking the young performers to consider their and question the avenues of expressing this. The directions are probably going to be quite direct and specific, speaking without extensive metaphor. The performers will speak text and imitate pitch. What I ask of you is to 'take charge' of a look. As such, there are concurrent influences on the behaviour of the performers, attitudinal differences. I wonder if you think about obscuring faces/make-up and whether this is removed during process. It's interested in shifting their perception of themselves as well as perception of each other, but should not make them overtly uncomfortable. The clothing should be innocuous to an extent.

As mentioned in an earlier message, I am interested in at least suggesting the option of you being able to photograph the work at your leisure. You might also choose to watch and be very uninterested in photographing the work. The content of the photographs is then a byproduct of the work rather than documentation of it. As mentioned earlier today, I'm interested in the performers articulating what they see in real time with the real technical separation of having to draw in real time - images that they see, images of themselves.

Maybe the word I was looking for earlier today was 'fidelity'.

In terms of your name being attached, it's really your prerogative. The sensation of declaiming work that you're involved in is always interesting. As I kind of alluded to, I'm not certain what the work will be realised as. I don't know what the performers will make of the work in realising it, and in a way, that doesn't matter a huge amount, but of course, it is all that matters as well.

I'd be happy to discuss this with you on Friday, and will have more concrete thoughts by then.

A strong possibility is the presence of wind machines in the space, which will be operated in relation to the larger work structure.

Cheers Ivan

hey Ivan , sorry, was feeling totally sick today , and meta was equally sick at home ... the 2 main thoughts i had was 1. that the kids should basically dress only a slightly sharper, neater version of what they already are ( 2 girls in black and white dress , boys in shorts and tshirt . only slightly neater so it doesn't look like playschool or so ) , at some point thought that half the kids could be wearing (various) colorful socks ( like brennan) , though there might be something awkward about it ( that would stand out though ) . another thing that struck me was that there was some pasionate moment as some of the kids got one a banana , one a sandwich . there's obviously something very ambivalent (dubious, for sure) in that yet it comes across as 'authentic' , genuine (fidelity) . i reckon that (a table of snacks or so) could be incorporated in the setup (from the start or at a certain point) . can meet and chat more pretty much anytime tomorrow, or even tonight if you want

epoche-lacan-orbits purports to be a ‘multi-day gesamtkunstwerk on suspension, about gender, economy, genius, and potential and I only now realize that it acts as a container for my education, a bracket of time that delivers certain outcomes at a certain scale, and I’m fixing and suspending thoughts and development, ideas and dreams. EVEN! had an intensity of feeling underneath it, of Marcus sitting an giving me non-vegan cake that he couldn’t eat, both of us feeling paralysed in not belonging; what heritage had acted throughout the process, that this material wasn’t mine. Thinking about types of elevation, of freezing moments in time and space, I had been suspicious of processes of elevation. Indeed, with the escalating of ambition that the commissioning of epoche-lacan-orbits encouraged in me, I kept introducing strategies of scale, of exceeding, directly sacrificing the legibility of the work for the gesture, playing a verbose dumbness in speaking about something that is directly not understood, and placing that speech into mouths that have never spoken it.

Dear Rishi,

I think it was in 2010 that I began to do something like performance. In 2009 I rehearsed that trio you had written, disdainful of the person you had written it for, and later that year I premiered a work that I never knew the title of, but have a feeling you had titled it something like LOL. You know, the other day I was thinking of writing in our anecdote, the one of running through the park and saying to each other We should’ve brought a drumkit while I also shivered and laughed and looked at every marble-ish statue.

I’ve always harboured fear of face acting, I’m sewing again, coming in a circle (you know, I saw Lauren just a few months ago) and I have cut up that wedding dress that most visitors to my house from 2009-2010 tried on, that oversize bodice fitting on every frame. I removed so much beading from the textile I used, which was the train. I don’t really know how to deal with so much time passed. It’s nice that you hold on to the memory of being at my house with Mel. I rarely see her now. I really remembered you when I was in a Q&A after a show called EVEN! at Fed Square in 2014. This is directly due to your three year period at an ashram, three whole years, something I still don't think I can really grasp. I was in this Q&A with Tim Stitz, the current director of Chamber Made Opera (who was a producer when David Young was director). I don’t know that many people could understand what I was saying because I had wanted the speakers left so amplified voice would be really indistinct. It really was indistinct.

I think the last thing you might’ve seen was that Strindberg play I directed in the squash court in 2011, where the actors spoke so quickly and were moving constantly in that set made of lacquered artisanal bread. The text became so indistinct in that room it was thrilling, like, true ‘acting/virtuosic’ intent foiled by the space it’s done in, but also, so incredibly reliant on the space as well. Those performers (Stephen! Eleni! Harriet!) were so remarkable, so brilliant. Lachlan wrote me a nostalgic postcard, writing in the lead up to Easter and mentioning that he had been reading about Strindberg (‘passion stories – speaking of Easter’), but repeating an advocacy for that production. Is it silly that I want to substantiate its worth by another person’s fondness for it? and of course that triggered all these thoughts about the faith we placed in each other, in ourselves, in decisions.

You’re back from three years in an ashram, I’m at an ambiguous point of a ‘three year commission’. The work I’m doing is quite different, but still aligned with that earlier stuff. I remember you and Joseph in that performance with Travis, stoically setting up a semi-circle of chairs and putting them away as I stood in backstage as Medea, ready to be pulled onstage. So much seems to rely on good faith, or types of trust. I was invited to make EVEN! without any of the producers seeing my work, I don't know what's next.

Um, leaning on something is more gentle, a distributed, temporary weight. In a ‘performance cycle on ideas of suspension’, a lean becomes invisible, more like a gesture and thread than the ‘entire pattern’. Things sit on each other, with the more severe affectation of a drape, of a hang, of standing on, or balancing on. There’s dependent contact in this support, a hope of substantiation by bonds, as though indicating a loose cosmos of thought can amount to meaning or be an invitation to conclusion or speculation. This project never bothered masquerading as discursive, or tethered itself to ideas of artistic or performance research. Moving through a wardrobe, wearing each garment in front of a mirror to find a…

Interpreted by untrained, unrehearsed performers who were stylistically at odds with the new-minimalist aesthetic, the myriad of texts they heard were recorded repeatedly on-site in full takes, with previous takes deleted. The word count fluctuated, as texts were added and subtracted, treated as time increments as well as meaning makers. A publication which presents documentation and commissioned depictions of documentation, selected (and legally reproduceable) texts total 80,000 words.
While in development at Carriageworks, the new director of Chamber Made Opera, Tim Stitz, paid a studio visit. Nine months later, I was in Melbourne at Federation Square, preparing to remount this score with a group of unknown performers under the title EVEN!. Performing for a seated audience in Deakin Edge, an imposing, architecturally jagged room, the site-specific work had to change. Having relied on size, proportion and scale, as well as natural and artificial lights, moving curtains and a vacuum effect at Carriageworks, I also had concerns about the labour requested from the performers, placing lightly charged texts in their mouths and asking them to perform alien movements at constructed speeds. Discarding much of the text from kelley-gander-floyer and forming a monologue while in Melbourne, I had cast visual artist/musician Brennan Olver via the recommendation of George Egerton-Warburton, and with the supervision of CMO Artistic Associate Sarah Kriegler, was to work with a group of untrained performers aged between 3 and 9. Brennan was the only performer to be amplified, though the amplifiers faced away from the audience into a cavernous space, and hearing was further impeded by an industrial wind machine and a large mylar sheet, with the same dimensions as the Carriageworks space, crumpling and being manipulated in the space.