Bundanon Sound Machines

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jerome lead a vocal exercise on the morning of November 23, the last lab day at Bundanon, which began with a vocal warm up and then contrapuntal exercises that reminded me a lot of improv exercises but using the voice instead of the body. At a certain point, they were asked to choose one sound and were arranged in a circle. Jerome proceeded to conduct the choreographers: when he pointed at each one, they had to make that sound they chose, stopping only when Jerome pointed at someone else.

Cat decided she wanted to do the conducting also, integrating dynamics and piling on the textures. This is a video of her orchestral experiment:

Jerome then asked everyone to try out movement with their sound of choice, or whatever sound they fancied, just to get a feel for how the sound they make shares their physical impetus. That is captured here. And no that sound is not an angry wombat, it’s just Vicki.

Soon, Jerome started to play electronic dance music, urging everyone to keep experimenting with movement and sound, and adding other sounds if they wished. As the others took their time warming up to the idea, you could see Simon and Rhiannon start to really get into it. What I found interesting was how they didn’t easily take to the “dance music.” They would also regularly forget to use sound with their movements as you might notice:

Disco time. With some violent animal possession care of Vicki Van Hout.

And, that’s all she wrote. Thanks, kids, I had a marvelous time. xoxo – Joelle


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Still in Traffic

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Inserted a few more photos from the Traffic experiment in the previous post, and uploading the rest to a separate blog entry just so we’re not clogging bandwidth. Enjoy 🙂


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What comes out of Traffic

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ly Ly set up her Traffic experiment in the studio adjacent to the main living quarters in Bundanon Artists Center (for those familiar with the place, it’s the studio with the drawing of the wombat on the wall. This space is the kind of studio that’s long enough to be divided into two, a trait that turned into a qualifier over the course of the exercise. Doris spent most of Monday assembling obstacles in the room, laying out a tiny avenue within the four walls.

On the morning of Tuesday, Ly Ly laid down the ground rules: they are to go through the paths any which way they liked but if Doris put in front of them the Stop sign (a red dust shovel tied to what I think was a microphone stand), they need to go another way.

For a very long time, the choreographers stayed in only one side of the room, and followed the rules accordingly. They all walked single file around the various structures that Doris put up. Ly Ly pretty much dictated a lot of what else could be done – other movements, like sudden turns and touching the others, slapping the obstacles – were mostly initiated by her, as if signaling what was and was not acceptable.

It was Cat who eventually rebelled against the single file and dropped to the ground to lie stretched out on the floor. They would fall into that single file now and then, but very seldomly and each did their own thing, moving around, and in Vicki’s case usually, through the obstacles.

All throughout this exercise, Vicki was holding her camera, documenting the experiment on video from start to end.

Rhiannon interacted with the furniture-as-highway more than she did with other people: the choreographers often addressed  whoever they pass while walking, from simple physical acknowledgements to joining in what the other was doing. In contrast to Rhiannon, Cat would try to violently move the objects out of their original assigned places, as if trying to really disrupt the space. Simon interacted with the others also, but often broke away from everyone to stand still – in the corner, on top of a chair, by the window.

At some point, Jerome ended his ambient music and seemed to signal for everyone to wrap up the exercise. But Ly Ly went to the other half of the room, prompting the others to spill out after her. And the traffic continued.

The interesting thing about the other half of the room was here, the rules were seemingly abandoned. Instead of a flow of traffic, the choreographers started to pick things up, move them around, turn them on and off, create sculpture with them, wrap themselves in them, use them to attack other inanimate objects with, and so on. I used to have a more complete list but I lost my iPad before Christmas and, relying only on my memory, must acknowledge that there was just too many things going on to remember who did what exactly.

Many of us opined that it’s possible more things happened in the other room because there were more objects to manipulate there, as opposed to the seemingly immovable structures in the first room. There was only so much you could do with couches and chairs, and they were indeed done. But in Room # 2 you had rolls of tarpaulin, a vacuum cleaner you could plug into a socket, a plastic bag hanging from the ceiling, a wastebasket, a sink full of sand, just to name a few. There was so much possibility. The movements that were then created looked more like prop improvisation than the structured walking done previously and the concept of traffic had now liquefied into something else entirely.

Later on, after the exercise and the discussion, Vicki commented that it was great that they were able to do some physical movement as the whole lab was primarily visually-motivated. It was a good reminder to dance as well.

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Happy new year and Happy birthday to Rhiannon!

Hello everyone! Sorry that I have been amiss in the last remaining updates (well, just Ly Ly’s Traffic documentation and Jerome’s music session); it’s been a crazy ending of 2011. Which brings me to why I blogged today: HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! May 2012 be a wonderful year of productivity and fulfillment for all of us, and hope that some collaborations resulting from the Bundanon lab will be underway this year.

Would also like to greet Rhiannon a happy birthday! (A little birdy named Facebook told me). In her honor, posting up a slideshow of the warm up class she taught on November 22, 2011. Lots of love and good luck, Rhiannon!

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Movement / Architecture drawing Bundanon

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Too late for Tea

This is officially my last post here in Bundanon. I believe I’ll still be blogging over the weekend as I have a list of blog entries on activities here that I haven’t posted up yet. But tonight was my last dinner here and this is my last entry, and when I shut down here I’ll be bringing this laptop (and all remaining personal belongings) to take the last wombat spotting trip with Helen and Doris on the way to Wisteria cottage, where we will sleep for one last time. Well, for this lab.

In the kitchen, Margie is supervising the emptying of the kitchen and Rhiannon is scrounging around the cupboards. “Too late for tea?” she asks, smiling.

Fu Kuen is moving around, asking people to “Finish the wines. Finish the nuts.” It is now a nice polite exchange between him and Margie to finish the wine: “Can lah.” “No can.” “Can not must can, lah.”

The day started out with music exercises headed by Jerome and attempting to use those exercises to create movement. I took a bunch of videos and will post them soon. It was also a day of file swapping, and sharing and just trying to get out of the cold. I’m pretty sure I will miss Bundanon. I don’t feel it yet, but hey look at the urgency to finish this blog entry.

See you all again when I get internet access.

My work area in Margie’s living room in Bundanon. I sit on the couch while Fu Kuen sits on the polka dot chair. I miss it already.

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Cat, the Lady of the Manor

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Lady of the Manor first manifested on Sunday, while Cat, Latai and Vicki were playing around in the Bundanon homestead. Cat had come from getting her portrait taken by Doris for her portraiture project, with her face painted in white, and it became fun to shoot against the fireplace in the Bundanon museum. Helen asked if the people from the Bundanon Trust know that they were were there, taking photos, and Cat said they did and were very amused.

Aside from there being photos of Cat in front of thr fireplace in the homestead, there were also photos of Cat in the studio, in front of the Arthur Boyd painting that was on display. Helen points out that the painted face makes it appear to be part of the painting, “but also it looks like there’s an ownership role.”

“There were no preconceived ideas, it was just my face was painted,” Cat shares during the regroup. “(The painted face) deconstructs the body, it’s a reference to Western theater and this character kind of emerged. The river experience today is the next step and hopefully something will come of that.”

The “river experience” involved some shots taken of Cat with her face paint on, but in a bikini and sarong, with a bowl of fruit in the river, and Latai as her manservant. You can refer to this page for pictures.

Helen comments that Cat is “Sort of bringing an artifice to the natural landscape,” and at some point, she transforms from the Lady of the Manor to the Island girl serving the man. Cat agrees, laughing “Yeah, the gender roles keep shifting.”

Other comments from the group were how into the character Latai was and how it helped transform the character of the Lady of the manor (and how dedicated: even when the chair in the river was falling backwards, Latai stayed true to her character and didn’t let go of the sweet potatoes she was holding. Doris also pointed out that the presence of the fruit bowl is like a classic still life, still tying the idea of the Lady of the Manor to painting. In some some of the shots, though it also looks like she’s also wearing too much sunscreen.

Cat says she’s still playing with the idea of the exoticized image and the flatness of it. She’ll see where it goes.

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