Activators is Chunky Move’s commissioning program for small to mid-scale new works. We commission multiple works annually and the program is curated by invitation only. Activators is grounded in choreographic approaches to site, space, time and material with the body at the centre of investigation. The program acknowledges expanded practice in art making as an aspect informing contemporary dance. The Activators program is experimental and interdisciplinary by nature, and commissioned artists play a role in shaping and influencing contemporary and future dance practice.
Imagine seeing images frozen in time of your ancestors in museums, taken by people documenting an ‘exotic’ sighting. Who has the power over their image?
Co-commissioned by Chunky Move and Next Wave, Ngioka Bunda-Heath’s (Wakka Wakka, Ngugi, Birrpai) new dance work and photographic exhibition explores the idea of shifting the gaze and refocusing the colonial lens that has publicly framed her ancestors.
Extending on her 2019 YIRRAMBOI Festival work, Blood Quantum, about her mother’s story, Birrpai turns to Ngioka’s father’s heritage; to her great-grandmother captured by the camera of a ‘culturalist’. She puts a First Nation perspective on colonial photography alongside contemporary dance that has taken her to stages around the world.
“Ngioka Bunda-Heath’s solo Blood Quantum, beginning with the dancer’s strongly weighted plunging to the earth over and over, was poignant and challenging. Video and voice told the tragedy of children being taken from their mother as Bunda-Heath’s movement gradually intensified to thrashing despair. ” – Kim Dunphy
Birrpai by Ngioka Bunda-Heath is co-commissioned by Chunky and Next Wave.
Choreographer and Performer: Ngioka Bunda-Heath
Cultural Consultant and Performer: John Heath
Dramaturge/Movement Director: Joel Bray
Mentor: Theodore Cassady
Sound Engineer: Daniel Nixon
Lighting Designer: Siobhain Geaney
Stage Manager: Steph Cox
Producer: Erica McCalman
Birrpai is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, City of Moreland, YIRRAMBOI Festival Resilience in Isolation Fund, Brunswick Mechanics Institute, Besen Family Foundation and Lucy Guerin Inc via a studio residency at WXYZ Studio.
Venue: Blak Dot Gallery
8-14 May 2021
29 April – 27 May
Conversation Series and First Chapter of a Novel
Curated by independent dancer and choreographer, Leah Landau for Chunky Move, Activators 4 comprises Conversation Series and First Chapter of a Novel. The project is entirely online at www.activators4.com.
Conversation Series invites six Australian-based artists to discuss absence, text and performance, with a conversation partner of their choosing. The artists (Amaara Raheem, Amrita Hepi, Daniel Jenatsch, Megan Payne, Tim Darbyshire and Rhiannon Newton) can speak to someone who is relatively unknown to them; someone they may have met in passing, at a residency or a festival; perhaps someone they have never met but are curious about; someone that may not come from the quote unquote art background. Leah has collated the many texts and other references referred to in (or evoked by) the conversations into a Reading List, for those who’d like to dive deeper.
And as kind of sister project, artist Brian Fuata has created AN EMAIL PERFORMANCE OF A FIRST CHAPTER OF A FICTIONAL NOVEL AS PROPOSITION (or a minor text in six parts), using the six artist conversations as material to create ‘the first chapter of a novel’. Brian’s Email Performance is a lesson in performative velocity, the ‘when-hits-what-hits-how-hits-who’.
Activators 4: Conversation Series and First Chapter of a Novel is curated by Leah Landau, presented by Chunky Move
Harrison Hall, Sam Mcgilp, and Justin Kane
BONANZA! is a playful blend of dance/ film/ digital animation/ artist dialogue, filmed in Alpha60’s Chapter House. Created by Harrison Hall, Sam Mcgilp and Justin Kane, BONANZA! is ArtxDialogue with guests NAXS Corp (Taiwan) and Lu Yang (China). An uneasy meeting of nostalgic-futurism, BONANZA! is a lament for our physical bodies and an exaltation of digital reincarnation.
Watch trailer here
Activators 3: Harrison Hall, Sam Mcgilp, and Justin Kane is curated by Leah Landau as part of Chunky Move’s Activators Program and presented in association with Alpha60
Created by: Harrison Hall and Sam Mcgilp
Director/DOP: Justin Kane
Interviewed artists: Naxs Corp and Lu Yang
Sound: Meuko Meuko!, Software2050, Odaeri and Caly Jandro
Director of Photography: Justin Kane
Drone Pilots/Operators: Radar Kane, Josh Labita, Trevor Kane (HARPY)
Animation: Luca Dante
Technical Operator/Streaming: Siobhain Geaney
3D Scanning: Ben Waters (Siii Projects)
Hair: Dominique Spiteri
First Assistant: Lotus Hall
Dressed by: Alpha60
Styling: Andrew Treloar
Digital Livestream, Tuesday, 15 December 2020
Body / Insect / Machine
Prue Lang & Mathieu Briand
Movement experiments – human, insect and mechanical bodies. This video artwork is a movement experiment between Prue Lang’s choreography, artist Mathieu Briand’s androids and a Phasmid (stick insect). The work explores the body/androids/artificial movement/intelligence on the one side and the body/human instinct/natural movement/nature on the other. Through the creative process, Lang and Briand have observed, responded to and manipulated the complex relationships between these concepts, approaching the distinctions between physical presence vs. artificial presence with curiosity.
Activators 2: Prue Lang & Mathieu Briand is presented by Chunky Move in association with Science Gallery Melbourne and University of Melbourne
With thanks to Professor Mark Elgar, Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Animal Behaviour at University of Melbourne
15 August –
23 August 2020,
as part of National Science Week
9 September –
13 September 2020,
as part of Ars Electronica
Helen Grogan & Mark Friedlander
Activators 1 unfolds as an offering of art discourse in the format of art event. Developed as a dialogue and presented in three parts, Friedlander and Grogan craft pragmatic tasks that attend to a sharing of curiosity and potentiality, rather than the staging or display of a ‘complete outcome’. Each of the three parts acknowledges and reveals how the artists’ actions/thoughts are imbued with embodied knowledge – choreography, material fabrication, spatial comprehension – as are all actions/thoughts already happening within the site.
Activators 1: Helen Grogan & Mark Friedlander is presented by Chunky Move in association with MPavilion
Friday 14 February,
MPavilion, Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne