Paper Presentations # 4 – Session 4B

NZ – 1.30pm | VIC/NSW/TAS – 11.30am | SA – 11am | QLD – 10.30am | NT – 10am
WA – 8.30am

Chaired by Katy Maudlin

Links to join all conference sessions can be accessed via the program page of the ADSA conference website

Ashlee Barton – Continuously beginning: the re-creation and translation of choreographic works

In her book, Poetics of Contemporary Dance, Laurence Louppe asks, ‘what is there at the beginning of a choreographic work?’ to which she answers ‘nothing’ (2010, p. 177). For me, in beginning with nothing, there is also inevitably everything—where everything is the body, its habits and its history—all at once.

Drawing on the work of Louppe, this paper will present a facet of my practice-led PhD research which aims to examine the development of choreographic works as a continuous cycle of beginning again, through the re-creation and translation of my encounters with existing works. These encounters enable a kind of focus somewhere in the middle of nothing and everything, in order to begin. Through this process, I am creating a series of short dance films that sit between conventional understandings of screen dance and film for documentation or archival purposes. These films will provide a case study through which I will share experiential understandings of this approach to making work. An approach that, as I will demonstrate, decentres traditional linguistic ways of knowing by enabling the possibility for the unknown to have primacy in its presence in the work.

My (current) methodology sits between Western approaches to choreography—noting the influence of Post-Modern dance methods—and contemporary applications of translation, that moves beyond the field of linguistics into a broader creative and artistic practice. This paper will include the screening of one of my dance films, Moments captured in time (2021), through which the embodied ways of knowing I have discussed above will be foregrounded.

Louppe, Laurence. 2010. Poetics of Contemporary Dance. Translated by Sally Gardner. Alton, Hampshire [England]: Dance Books.

Ashlee Barton is a dancer, dance maker and researcher with a significant interest in improvisation as a mode of enquiry. Her recent works include: ‘Into the Maze’ (2015), ‘To go out of time’ (2016), ‘In and out of time’ (2018) and in 2017, she performed in ‘Treatment 2’, a public art program at the Werribee Water Treatment Plant. Since 2016, Ashlee has been teaching at Deakin University as a sessional staff member within the Art and Performance program and is currently undertaking her PhD.

Görkem Acaroğlu – SHADOWS of the Australian Performing Arts Ecology

As Patricia Collins and Sirma Bilge (2016) state, intersectionality investigates how intersecting power relations influence social relations across diverse societies as well as individual experiences in everyday life (14). Taking the above into account, this paper seeks to present my embodied story of being a non-Anglo Australian cis-female artist. Through my case study, intersecting power relations will be examined, that influence the individual experiences of non-Anglo Australian theatre artists generally.

The paper will examine several works created over my twenty-year career, much of which has focused on de-centring and decolonising narratives of Australian identity, culminating in my most recent work, Museum UNDONE (2021). I have spent significant time undertaking research through practice, creating numerous documentary performance works such as Love, Madness and Poetry (2003), Yet to Ascertain the Nature of the Crime (2010), The 24 Hour Experience (2014), 10Cs (2015) and Milk Bars (2016). All of these works critique singular ideas and understandings, tipping these on their head by presenting diverse and lesser heard perspectives and privileging non-Anglo artists from diverse disciplines. In this way, my work reveals stories and disrupts conventions through practice.

My presentation is auto-ethnographic and puts forward a view of the Australian performing arts ecology from the margins, as a means to re-establish the limits of that ecology from that perspective rather than from the centre. It also draws on my experience working as a diversity mentor and trainer with multiple arts organisations in Victoria over the past two years, as well as my twenty-year artistic career and work as an academic, venue manager, programmer and producer in the performing arts in Australia.

Although there is recognition that the Australian performing arts is largely White, middle class and male, scholarly discussion of this occurs almost exclusively amongst White people. What has not been undertaken enough is centring the perspective of non-Anglo artists and scholars, which this paper hopes to contribute to rectifying.

Collins, Patricia Hill and Sirma Bilge (2016) Intersectionality. Polity Press, Cambridge.

Görkem Acaroğlu is an interdisciplinary performance maker, theatre director and Associate Lecturer in Art and Performance at Deakin University, with over 20 years’ experience in documentary and digital performance, live art, text-based theatre, immersive and site-specific performance and community engaged practice. She completed her PhD on The Status and Function of Inanimate ‘Object-Actors’ in Cyborg Theatre at Deakin University in 2015. In 2013 Görkem conducted The Mixed Reality Performance Lab working with a robotics lab to create a custom-made robot that could perform live on stage with human actors. Görkem has a Masters in Creative Media, a Masters in Media Arts and is a Graduating Director from the Victorian College of the Arts. She has presented on Cyborg Theatre at conferences in Australia and internationally, lectured at a number of Universities in theatre and digital arts and co-edited the 2014 edition of Australasian Drama Studies on Digital Performance. Görkem’s theatre company, Metanoia Theatre programmed and transformed the Brunswick Mechanics Institute from 2013 to 2017. Since 2019, Görkem has been a key mentor and trainer with Diversity Arts Australia working with Victorian and NSW based arts companies to become more equitable.

Darcy McGaw – De-centring silence: Physical Theatre, representation, and the female body

Theatre and performance invites exploration of contemporary concerns. It has the potential to shift and to decentre conserved attitudes and creates a space for the artist and audience to interrogate an individual experience in a collective environment. This paper examines how physical theatre (that is movement, gesture and the body) can be employed to aid and challenge representation of the female body, through an embodied female form in act to de-center the conventions that silence. The presentation reports on the practice lead research project “Drawing the line”. Conducted over the course of my honours year at Deakin University, this performance outcome is underpinned by feminist theory and is a personal reflection and is a direct response to the current social and political climate.

Darcy McGaw is a contemporary theatre maker based in Melbourne. She creates experimental, feminist physical theatre that is both autobiographical and embodied. She completed her Bachelor of Creative Arts (Hons) in Drama at Deakin University in 2018. Her current research is stimulated by the relationships between dialogue and the moving body in performance. Darcy is a core member of Rough Conduct Theatre Company, which was founded during her studies at Deakin University. She has trained with the SITI company and has presented original works both locally and abroad.