Whispering limbs

Milledge, Russell, Campbell, Steven, and Youdell, Becki (2009) Whispering limbs. [Performance]

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Abstract

Whispering Limbs was a performance collaboration between Cairns-based duo Bonemap, Brisbane-based dance trio Polytoxic, Indigenous Cairns-based dancer Earl Rosas and Townsville-based sound artist Steven Campbell. The collaboration was facilitated by Bonemap's principal artists, Rebecca Youdell and Russell Milledge. Through the lens of cross-cultural collaboration, the work places the dancers in a sweep of surreal landscapes, exploring a range of contemporary cultural and cross-cultural themes within a highly integrated, immersive and improvised performance arena. Devised within two weeks and presented over three nights during the 2009 Cairns On Edge Contemporary Media and Performance Festival, Whispering Limbs presents a cultural mix of Indigenous, Polynesian and Caucasian performance. This paper details the development process, the performance environment, the main themes of the work and the manner in which these themes were realised through a focus on the choreography, video projections and sound design in four of the work's twelve scenes.

Research Statement

Research Background The collaborative work Whispering Limbs became a vehicle for the exploration of a wide range of themes, interconnected through the broad themes of Water, Excess and Human Environment Linkage. Encapsulated within these themes was an exploration of various foci including climate change, global warming, land reclamation and inundation, Indigenous Australians as maintainers/guardians of the environment, urbanisation, the animal within, femininity, fantasy and fairy tale, commodification of real estate, consumerism and greed.
Research Contribution The cross-cultural combination provided a platform in which the artists could express the work's themes within their own cultural context: Lisa Fa'alafi and Fez Fa'anana as Samoans exploring their own cultural dances, Leah Shelton as Water Woman, Rebecca Youdell as the bogan ballerina Puff Princess, and Earl Rosas, as an Indigenous Australian, emphasising the precarious balance of the environment and his people's guardianship over.
Research Significance The cross-cultural choreography within the work was supported through pre-recorded and live improvised image projections and sound. As noted by Gallasch (2009) 'the collective power of the work…is reinforced by Russell Milledges sweeping diorama projections that reveal the performers in an almost gothic natural world, and by Steven Campbell's percussive electronic score, mixed live.' Similarly, Carless (2009) comments '[Whispering Limbs] evokes issues and images of spirituality, ecological sustainability, transformation and doubling, generating a metaphysical whirlpool of ideas and images. The media components integrate with the physical performance perfectly to produce a work that is part dark ritual, part mad hatter’s tea party.' (Carless, 2009)
Item ID: 18865
Item Type: Performance
Keywords: Contemporary Art, dance, performance
Media of Output: Digitally augmented performance
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Funders: Arts Queensland
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2012 05:55
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190504 Performance and Installation Art @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950104 The Creative Arts (incl. Graphics and Craft) @ 40%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950105 The Performing Arts (incl. Theatre and Dance) @ 40%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950101 Music @ 20%
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