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LIVEWORKS FESTIVAL OF EXPERIMENTAL ART


Primal myth magic

Jodie McNeilly: Victoria Hunt, Tangi Wai - The Cry Of Water


Tangi Wai, Victoria Hunt, Liveworks Festival, Performance Space Tangi Wai, Victoria Hunt, Liveworks Festival, Performance Space
photo Alex Davies
A piercing single light source, an eye which surveils. Cracking, rumbling materiality of Earth’s movements sonified. Visual and auditory marks of something transcendent above and below. It exists; we are born. These, the originating gestures of Victoria Hunt’s latest work Tangi Wai—The Cry of Water, herald new formations in discrete episodes which roll out like waves, first lapping at our attention, then amplifying in their motion and affect through a finely crafted composition of light, sound, movement, object and, indeed, water.

Creation. A hunched form is fed life through a tube of pulsing light, vacillating somewhere between Frankensteinian construction and a story from the Book of Job. The noise of geo-thermal pressure gives over to zapping scapes that spark more life (sound design James Brown). Figures appear, naked from the waist; they float, encircled by light, gently rocking hips and snaking vertebrae, headless and faceless, the female form enshrined. A tension is assumed between bones fossilised, pre-civilised and their careful ‘plinth presentation’ on long crimson skirts (costume design Annemaree Dalziel, Victoria Hunt).

A duet emerges between Victoria Hunt and Kristina Chan within a river of light. Moving separately, but through similar pathways, a quality, rather than form or shape, emanates, birthing a new element—simultaneously solid, liquid, gas. Time and space are transformed. Something is stirred.

Hunt emerges alone from the darkness. We first feel and hear the wetness of the space. Passing light glints from the vertical descent of a cloudy mist of water droplets that stream steadily from sky to earth. The figure exposes flesh and bone through a wrap of fabric, escaping modesty and flirting on the edge of light in thrusting motions with widened hips in deep open second position: ducking, diving, drilling. Amphibious female morphologies slither wet in powerful strokes. Bands of white light roll in, thin metered lines, smooth and hypnotic. They expand, hitting the falling water at a perpendicular angle with the beat from Brown’s now trancey score. Body, light, water and sound are a tempest, a cry; it’s a liquid dramaturgy (video and light design Boris Bagattini; light and mist design Fausto Brusamolino).

Tangi Wai, Victoria Hunt, Liveworks Festival, Performance Space Tangi Wai, Victoria Hunt, Liveworks Festival, Performance Space
photo Alex Davies
Ten other cast members assemble in various formations on the margins. We rarely see their faces, but hear their pants and cries. They move in pairs or small groups to elongate body parts with curious appendages (object design Claire Britton, Victoria Hunt); flick hand-wrist gestures above their heads like scribes to the gods; incubate restlessly, but with subtlety in a womb of light, to lay out the spine of a moth (or butterfly) in a final scene. Winged projection ripples on the wall of water still dripping. Sounds of lightning crash with violent strobe flashes, the line of supine bodies is now headed by Hunt who slowly rotates to a monstrous reveal. There’s an overall Geiger-like appeal to the aesthetic, where sharp white and red light explodes and shines off oily black surfaces, with multiple scenes of suspended vertebrae and this final insect-like assemblage.

Tangi Wai is an intensive and immersive sensorium of image and deeply layered affect with its elements captivatingly sculpted by a rich collaboration of artists.


Performance Space, Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art, Tangi Wai—The Cry of Water, concept, choreographer, director, performer Victoria Hunt, dancer, choreographer Kristina Chan; Carriageworks, 28 Oct-1 Nov

RealTime issue #130 Dec-Jan 2016 pg. 15

© Jodie McNeilly; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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