ArtsLab Shopfront's artists in residence

Distance.

This is a photo of myself at The Last Prom, an apocalyptic prom event held as part of new Canberra festival You Are Here, which I have been told is now accepting expressions of interest and proposals for a second run next year. I worked as one of many Festival Coordinators for the first You Are Here and it was amazing. If you’re a Canberra artist or just want to be involved, check them out here.

I went looking for this picture because I’ve been reflecting on the past year (i know, there’s still two and a half months to go) because it has felt like such an intensly full, bursting-at-the-seams year in which I’ve had to make compromises and have often made bad or misinformed decisions due to time constraints or not managing myself well. You Are Here was the first event of 2011 (in my calendar), and I honestly thought it would be the busiest fortnight of 2011. So wrong.

I’m in the middle of Adelaide at the moment, working on Sexy New Urban Design Team…Adelaide with Applespiel, as part of the Festival of Unpopular Culture. We were also involved in the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (Sydney Opera House) over the October long weekend presenting Snail Piece (Originally developed at the Underbelly Arts Lab).

Busy times. I’ve also just finished uni/prac, been travelling to Melbourne for the National Youth Performing Arts Summit, been back-and-forth about a broken shower and leaking taps, and scrambling desperately to complete grant applications and secure mentoring for 2012. Applespiel are luck enough to be heading to the Adelaide Fringe next year to present Executive Stress/Corporate Retreat. I thought about putting forward my artslab show, Eater, for the fringe, but backed out at the last minute. I just don’t know yet what my show is. I can tell you what it’s about – but I don’t know what’s in it.

I spend so much time planning my time. There are reasons for this – arranging schedules, budgets, planning for new opportunities…but I’ve completely lost touch with the creation of my Artslab11 piece in trying to schedule myself for it.

Once I get back from Adelaide on Monday 17th, there’s basically 2 weeks before our bump-in week. During those two weeks I have a very important interview, an important meeting, JUMP mentoring application is due, and Applespiel are performing Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You at Late Night Libraries.

I completely understand that time is tight. Aside from occasional forgetfulness, I’m pretty good at knowing what is in my schedule. When it comes down to actually achieving my scheduled goals, I more often than not will fall short. I’m trying now to cut back on my commitments for the next month (until the Artslab11 season is over) and find the space and time to get to the heart of my piece and find the point where generating content becomes a flow.

I recently finished Jonothan Safran Foer’s non-fiction work Eating Animals and attending his talk What We Are and What We Eat at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. In my mind I was making a lot of connections with my piece, Eater, even though my starting point is the ancient Greek story of Pasiphae and the White Bull (not factory farming). But Safran Foer’s words (written and spoken) continue to strike chords in me and if that’s where the spark is, I will follow the spark. What if I set the tale of Pasiphae in the middle of a factory farm? I wanted to make a work about consuming things, and being consumed – desire, lust, fear, shame. I didn’t want to make any comments on the market or consuming goods. But if factory farming is what’s tugging at my gut now, then it seems silly to not find the connections on stage. So I take the story and change the setting – the prize white bull is in a cramped, anti-biotic pumping stall. Pasiphae is made to fall completely in lust with it, and consumates that lust. She falls pregnant and gives birth to the Minotaur. What happens physically? Can I built the interior or a stable – not the walls, not the hay, just the fence its inbetween and some flattened earth. On a raised platform, so it can be moved for other performances. Play chase between the old wood in the cramped stable. Digest rank meat. The white bull dies (it was raised to die – that bit hasn’t changed). What happens then?

I have 20 minutes to tell a story. I have 20 minutes to put myself out there on a stage and weave a story around and through myself. I have to make this happen, so I just will.

I would also like the ability to freeze time.

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