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online e-dition may 22

in the loop: left of centre, beyond the margins

tiny stadiums, pact centre for emerging artists, sydney

Jim and Linda Batten, Sweet Child of Mine, Bron Batten Jim and Linda Batten, Sweet Child of Mine, Bron Batten
courtesy the artists
The Tiny Stadiums festival, produced by PACT Centre for Emerging Artists, began its life in 2009 under the guidance of the artist collective Quarterbred. The festival aims to infiltrate the streets of the most village-like of all Sydney suburbs, Erskineville, with gentle live art provocations and curious performance experiences. Now in its fourth year the reins of the festival have been handed over to a new artist curatorium—Amelia Walin, Christopher Hodge and Maria White, operating under the name Groundwork—who are focussing this year’s event around the idea of Centre/Margins and the traversal of such territories.

If you prefer your performances in a theatre there is a double bill at the PACT venue, but the works are far from traditional. Those of us who work at the pointier end of the arts are often faced with the dilemma of explaining what it is we actually do to non-arts types, not least of all our parents. In Sweet Child of Mine, Bron Batten exploits this awkward conversation by inviting her 60-year old parents on stage to discuss with her what might be the point of Bron’s own work, but also art as a whole. The show won Best Experimental Performance Award at the 2011 Melbourne Fringe Festival, and in the YouTube clip looks to be both heartwarming and a little bit heartbreaking.

Well matched with Sweet Child of Mine is Alice William’s Impossible Plays, coming to PACT straight from its Melbourne premier at Next Wave. Williams has interviewed four people about their imaginary lives: “Megan is a quietly spoken vet in Alice Springs. Andy is a poet whose writing treads an uncanny line between fantasy and reality. Douggie is an Arente watercolour artist. Mushi is a tarot card reader who navigates the realms of possibility in search of a sanctuary” (website). These interviews form verbatim texts for performers Amity Yore, Katherine Beckett, Megan Garrett-Jones and Jane Grimley to embody, creating a work that apparently walks a fine line between documentary and dream-like fantasy.

Ngoc Nguyen, Cultural Triangle Ngoc Nguyen, Cultural Triangle
courtesy the artists
Over the weekend of June 2-3, the action will take to the streets (well mainly Erskineville Road) with a series of interactions, incursions and installations. Occupying one of the mini-parks on the strip will be Tom Hogan’s Monolith, a large metallic object which responds to the viewer, making sweet and, apparently, strangely familiar sounds. Meanwhile, Ngoc Nguyen whose installation [Xuan] Spring was a quiet highlight of Underbelly 2012 (see RT105), will be placing small Vietnamese style street coffee/food stalls around the neighbourhood, exploring ideas of cultural displacement.

If you’re genuinely hungry you can head down to PACT where Penelope Benton and Alexandra Clapham will construct the Tiny Diner, a three-sided stage set of a kitchen, with all elements made of cardboard, except the $2 toastie which is the real deal. And while at PACT you’ll also be able to experience Shamanic Organic, the video work of Robin Hungerford that melds food, plastic and technology into works that “kaleidoscopically implode” (website).

David Capra, New Intercessions David Capra, New Intercessions
If the psychedelia is making you feel slightly freaky, then maybe it’s best to avoid Fitts & Holderness’ The Speaker, which will be peddling conspiracy theories, attempting to convince passers-by of the evil Project SKIN-EV that is taking place behind closed doors in Erskineville. And while David Capra’s New Intercessions—a dance around streets featuring the laying on of hands and speaking-in-tongues—is aimed at healing the spirit, it sounds potentially more terrifying than whatever The Speaker is promising.

Also aiming for the spiritual dimension is Gibberish and Let Go by Jodie Whalen, extending the one-hour meditation of spiritual Guru Osho to a five-hour durational performance in which the audience is invited to participate or simply watch. But if really all you want to do is have a quiet beverage, over at the Rose Hotel you will be able to experience some of the festival through YOU.DANCE. a video work by Rafaela Pandolfini who will be photographing locals and turning the small grooves of everyday actions into a celebration of our need to boogie.

Tiny Stadiums, PACT Centre for Emerging Artists, and the streets of Erskineville, May 31-June 9;

RealTime issue #108 April-May 2012 pg. web

© RealTime ; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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