02.08.2017 - 25.08.2017
Doing Dancing considers dance’s relationship to duration and its transformation into an archival object. Gertrude Stein’s written portrait of modern dance icon, Isadora Duncan, becomes a historical referent that supports a practice of eternal danced returns. Beginning from this written archive, a series of live performances are traced by a co-present digital archiving system developed by Benjamin Forster. Automatically positioning dance within a western canon, Stein’s text acknowledges and provides an active surface from which to resist a sanctioned narrative for dance and expand toward more speculative histories/futures for dancing in. The original text is transformed beyond the solo matriarchal body, so that the dancing subject becomes “he”, “I”, “it”, “this”, “you”, “we” and “they”. In a two-hour durational performance each translation is read aloud and respectively danced.
Over the course of the exhibition the Doing Dancing is performed by Newton as a durational solo practice. In a second version it is performed as a group practice. In this articulation each action of reading and dancing is performed by a different artist who brings with them their own history, practice, or approach to dancing.
Remaining in the space between each live event is a video and sound archive of the accumulating performances. The archive is programmed in such a way that each layer becomes an equal percentage of the whole. Progressively the image of the moving body begins to fade, ghost-like toward invisibility, whilst the space around it endures. Similarly, the recorded voice approaches obliteration through noise, as the many voices speak together in cacophonies of imperfect unison. The digital archive begins to mirror the ephemerality of the live event and the residual dance becomes an increasingly ghosted document of movement’s disappearance.
Rhiannon Newton is a Sydney based artist whose choreographic practice concentrates on the live-ness of dance and processes of repetition, problematising how a dancing spirit meets economies of production and authorship.
Her works have been presented at Brisbane Festival, Dancehouse, Dance Massive Festival, The Lock-Up Gallery, Judson Church (USA), Metro Arts, Nagib On Stage (SL), PACT Centre for Emerging Artists and Strut Dance. She has developed her practice in residencies throughout Australia and abroad with organisations such as Bundanon Trust, The Centre for Interdisciplinary Arts, Critical Path, UNSW Creative Practice Lab, Create NSW, Australia Council, Movement Research (USA), Nagib (SL), Performing Arts Forum (FR) and Tanzhaus Zurich (CH).
Rhiannon has been a part of international forums such as the Australian and Eastern European Choreographic Exchange, Avignon Festival Seminar and the Swiss / Australian Reciprocal Residency. She has worked as a performer with artists such as Rosalind Crisp, Mette Edvardsen, Martin Del Amo, Paea Leach and Brooke Stamp. Rhiannon co-facilitates First Run Sydney, is on the board of ReadyMade Works Studio and teaches at the Australian College of Physical Education.