Call me your experiment 0.1 – Alison Currie

Posted on September 30, 2009 by

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On the eve of TINA (This Is Not Art festival), that exploding mega-festival lala chatted to Alison Currie about her work call me your experiment 0.1.

So if I call your mobile phone over the period of TINA what will happen?

I will perform a dance I have choreographed to my ring tone and then answer the phone. I will also conduct a workshop on Friday to teach the solo to participants (anyone can come along) and give them the ring tone so you can call any of us. I am hoping that there will be a team taking to the streets of Newcastle.

Alison Currie

How did you choreograph this piece?

I knew I wanted the performance to be driven by the sound so I listened to the ringtone many many times and created movements that fitted to the each part of the track. I am intrigued by people who play music on the bus on their phones as it is a kind of performance. I figured that this fairly accepted behaviour so thought I’d create a work that just added in an extra performance element that would hopefully appeal to the masses and the small groups.

What is the ringtone?

The ring tone is composed by Alisdair (Teb) Macindoe. This is the first stage in the development of this work. We have worked together in the past and wanted to dance together on this project as well as Alisdair creating the sound. Circumstances meant that he was unable to dance on this stage of the work, but I think it will have another life with future development so we will work on it together further.

Where did you test the idea?

I Performed the work over the course of the South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival during August. Over this time I had two scheduled events, an exhibition opening and the other at a group screening.

Did you stick to it completely? As in when you were in the supermarket, on the street, at a bar etc did you dance?

I didn’t want “Call me your experiment 0.1” to effect other works that were presented during SALA so made a rule that I wouldn’t perform if my phone rang in an gallery or performance etc, and had my phone off while I was rehearsing another show. Otherwise yes, though it proved to be quite difficult having to carry bags and lead regular life, and because the period was a month in Adelaide it became a nuisance mainly. I am looking forward to experimenting with more of this constant stream of performance during TINA and am confident that the shorter time frame will be more effective.

The other rule I created is that if there isn’t a possible audience present I wont perform the work, ie I’m not going to get up in the middle of the night and perform in the dark of my bedroom so please don’t call then.

What has been the engagement from people who knew what was happening and people who don’t?

I found that the level of engagement was more related to the amount of people present and the space in which the performance was occurring. It seemed to work best if there were three or more people within an area that is enclosed in some way.

Generally I noticed that people love understanding what’s going on. If they watched a few times and realized that I did the same thing each time, that I was actually dancing to my phone ring not just moving round in a strange way close to them, and when I gave them my number to join in. I also wanted to be as open as possible when answering any questions, “Call me your experiment 0.1” is a very simple idea, I don’t want to imagine or give off the idea that its anything more than that. I am also very interested in engaging audience who are less likely to go to see performance. In this project there is part guerilla ‘dance attack’ unexpected performance element and then an invitation to join in and the offer to explain the ideas. That’s the aim anyway.

Your work especially in 42A and also in a solo I saw at TINA last year is pushing the edge of dance and space/architecture and also duration, what is it that interests you in dance as a medium for live art that is not conforming to the theatre context?

I am genuinely interested in how performance can connect to audiences outside of those already attending theatres. I have a huge passion for dance and have trained, and create dance work and I still often struggle to sit through two hours of it in a dark theatre. This leads me to believe that there are other people who find the thought of going to the theatre a completely daunting if not boring one. So one reason I make performance for alternate spaces is to attract alternate audiences, this also applies to my durational work; it leaves many of the choices in the viewers hands. I am passionate that work can be creatively satisfying as well as ‘accessible’.

I am excited by creating work where you learn as much if not more from the performance than you do from creating the work, and I find this is the case in work that has few boundaries placed on the audience.

I do also enjoy making work for stage. Architecture always plays a role in my work as I feel I come about creating work from a very visual perspective and dance for me is closely linked to architecture and sculpture. With all of my work I aim to engage audiences on an emotional, tactile and intellectual level.

Where will you be at TINA?

Call me your experiment – introductory workshop

1pm -2:30pm Civic Park

Come and learn the show, get the ring tone, join me in the performance.

“Call me your experiment 0.1”

Performance various locations Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Call me your experiment – Conclusion Artist Presentation

11am – 12pm Renew Newcastle Church

And what number should people call?

0431 236 108

so you can call me and I encourage people to come to learn the dance and telling their friends to call.

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