Activators is Chunky Move’s commissioning program for small scale experimental new work with an open ended approach to the format and platform for presentation. 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 and Activators commissioned artists play a role in shaping and influencing contemporary and future dance practice. Previous works in the program have explored digital screen based practice and animation, hybrid performance lecture contexts, gallery formats and live streamed events.

Activators 7

Harrison Hall and Luca Dante

Created by digital choreographer Harrison Hall and motion graphics artist Luca Dante, Maelstrom is a sombre meditation on the unseen, hidden and destabilising forces that transform us.  A mutable site for trauma and catharsis, the body exists in this work as a liminal site between the real and imagined.

Combining the motion capture of dancing bodies, 3D animation and physics engines with sound by experimental techno/ambient sound artist Pavel Milyakov (Russia), the work is experienced as an immersive multi-channel projection and soundscape.

In Maelstrom, the vastness of time and space sets the scene for an unsettling dance of nameless skins. The uncanny movements of these digital embodiments forewarn us of the fragility of reality, as bodies fly and swirl in an absurd dance that warps earthly limits.  Neither here nor there, this dance exists in the volume between worlds, through pressures and forces to no particular place.  Maelstrom drags us like rag dolls from the present, flinging our flailing limbs onto the threshold of tomorrow. Into the vortex, we go down, further and deeper, we go down…



Activators 7

Maelstrom by Harrison Hall and Luca Dante

Presented by MARS Gallery and Metro Arts

Lead Artists: Harrison Hall and Luca Dante

Sound: Pavel Milyakov

Featuring digitised movement from: Yumi Umuimare, Anis Aziz, Parissah Ibrahimi Rerakis, Vivian Schmeider, Robert Tinning, Ren, Imanuel Dado, Yuiko Masukawa and Aoife Carli Hannan

Producer: Kristina Arnott

Technical Team: Blair Hart and Siobhain Geaney

Maelstrom is commissioned as part of Chunky Move’s Activators program and was first developed through Solitude 1, a funded research opportunity from Chunky Move in partnership with the Tanja Liedtke Foundation.

Activators 6

Amber McCartney

SOFTTRAP is a single-channel screen work by dancer and choreographer Amber McCartney that uses body horror tropes to redefine the flesh as a site for harbouring instability.  The work questions the potential of the body as it is extended and expanded through physical and artificial manipulation.

Using replicas of her own arms, created by McCartney and special effects makeup artist, Kiana Jones, the artist inhabits a transformed body that fluctuates between eerily familiar and disturbingly foreign.  Over the course of the film, McCartney attempts complete embodiment in an experimental purging of the internal in an attempt to experience human form as both the subject and object of terror.

An accompanying sound design by Morgan Hickinbotham intensifies the viewer’s discomfort and unease made manifest in the work, where the body exists as a mutable site for trauma and catharsis, between the real and imagined.

Activators 6

SOFTTRAP by Amber McCartney

Created by: Amber McCartney

Sound: Morgan Hickinbotham

Prosthetics: Kiana Jones

SOFTTRAP is commissioned as part of Chunky Move’s Activators program and was first developed through funded research opportunity, SOLITUDE 1 from Chunky Move in partnership with the Tanja Liedtke Foundation.

Presentation dates:

Digital Livestream and Artist Talk: Thursday, 21 October 2021

Watch SOFTTRAP here until Feb 2022

Activators 5

Ngioka Bunda-Heath

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

Activators 5

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.

Presentation dates:

Venue: Blak Dot Gallery

8-14 May 2021

Photography Exhibition
29 April – 27 May

Photo by James Henry

Activators 4

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 

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

Activators 3

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

Presentation date:
Digital Livestream, Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Video still by Justin Kane

Video still by Justin Kane

Video by Justin Kane


Video still by Justin Kane

Activators 2

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

Presentation dates:
15 August –
23 August 2020,
as part of National Science Week

9 September –
13 September 2020,
as part of Ars Electronica


Activators 1

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

Presentation date:
Friday 14 February,
MPavilion, Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne

Image by Lucy Foster

Image by Lucy Foster

Image by Lucy Foster

Activators 5, 6 & 7 presented in partnership with the following:

Activators 1, 2, 3 & 4 was supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program and presented in partnership with the following: