Alexandra Tálamo – The War at Home: Choreographies of Transfer Across an Ocean

Performance-Lecture

Alexandra Tálamo

University of New South Wales

Remote Dramaturg – Richard Pettifer

The War at Home: Choreographies of Transfer Across an Ocean

In this film-as-performance, I explore the aesthetics of postmemory by inviting my family to re-enact the Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands war. The Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands war is the distant instigating event of my father, brother and sister’s migration to Australia, but it is also an ongoing negotiation of memory that is played out within the family unit. This presentation integrates durational performance-to-camera, video interviews, media materials and family mythologies, with each family member recalling different facets of the war. The performance of ‘family’ as shaped by the war and the family’s ‘performance’ of the war through remembering, acts to expose and disturb the imagined boundaries that define a familial identity. Within postmemorial aesthetics, this troubling of family memory enables a critique of how the memories we inherit can be shaped by nationalist narratives and propaganda. This research attends to the imaginative work of migrant families, and demonstrates how intergenerational memory can be further opened out to experiences of conflicting multi-positionalities. The development of this work has been shaped by its translation from stage to screen, with an attention to the ways that the medium acts both as a documentation of performance and, concurrently, a site of remembrance. 

Exhibition 

Alexandra Tálamo

University of New South Wales

30,000 Shots: Gestures from the Argentinian Dictatorship

When my father emigrated from Argentina he left a country that ‘disappeared’ 30,000 of its citizens during a brutal military dictatorship. In this exhibition, I explore the inherited memories, gestures and mythologies of this period as they appear and erupt within a contemporary Australian body. Drawing on family testimony, cultural references and the media images that the second-generation inherits, the work reflects the experience and labour of intergenerational memory from the perspective of an artist working within aesthetic lineages, and a daughter, living within a border-anxious state. 

The collection presents photography and video works that were created through residencies undertaken in Mexico and Sydney. It also includes the live performance of 30,000 Shots, in which I posed 30,000 times for a camera over eight hours on the opening night of the exhibition, and the multi-channel video work that was subsequently made from the documentation of this performance. The varied media used in the exhibition extends the exploration of re-enactment into form, as one of the ways that memories can be transferred and also reworked.

Alexandra Tálamo is a performance artist whose work uses choreographically-based strategies to explore autobiographical and mythological frameworks of postmemory. She is a graduate of VCA (Postgraduate Diploma in Performance Creation 2012) and a current PhD Candidate in Creative Practice at UNSW Sydney, where she was also awarded the 2017 University Medal for her BA (Hons) in Theatre and Performance Studies. In 2018 she was awarded the Philip Parsons Prize from ADSA. Her work has been presented at Kaffee Kuchen-Action Art III (Weimar, 2018), MCA ARTBAR (2018), Venice International Performance Art Week (2017), Performance Studies international (2016), and Art+Activism month at FCAC (2016).

Bryan Levina Viray – The Bati as movement of sacred gathering in Salubong

Presentation

Bryan Levina Viray

University of the Philippines Diliman

The Bati as movement of sacred gathering in Salubong

This presentation inquires how the narratives of devotion to the Virgin Mary heavily influence the choreographies and compositions of the bati (greeting) dance in salubong (encuentro) in Marinduque and Angono, Philippines. The salubong is a re-enactment of the first meeting of Jesus Christ and his sorrowful mother popularly known as Mater Dolorosa after his death on the cross. As the devotees gather, the dancers greet and wave flags for the Virgin Mary to signify the transformation of her sorrow to joy as the angels sing alleluia. The presentation explores how dancerly attitude in salubong could be an act of gathering for the devotees, and also a source of grounded movement analysis, focusing on the intertwined attitudes – the bodily attitudes, affective, spatial, and the physical dimensions of dance and dancing. The bati as dance movement, conditioned and presupposed by the religious Marian devotion and conceived as contradictory in the everyday flow, is experienced by the dancers themselves as unnatural or dancerly. 

Key words: dancerly attitude, salubong, Marian devotion, sacred gathering

Bryan Levina Viray is assistant professor of theatre and dance studies at the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts (DSCTA), College of Arts and Letters, University of the Philippines Diliman. A recipient of the 2019-2021 One UP Faculty Grant Award in Theatre (Performance Studies) for Outstanding Teaching and Creative Work, his essays on ritual, dance and performance appeared in and published by Routledge, Springer, 2018 CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Journal of English Studies and Comparative Literature, Philippine Humanities Review and Journal of Ugnayang Pang-Agham Tao.

Format of Presentation: The presentation can be an essay reading with showing of video performances, or performative where I can sing the Ave Maria (Regina Coeli) song and demonstrate some of the movement motifs or dance patterns.

Link to the full essay: Bryan Levina Viray, ‘Greeting the Virgin Mary: The Dancerly Attitudes of the Bati in Salubong’, Journal of English Studies and Comparative Literature, 18/1, 2019.

Bryan Levina Viray – Bati as Movement of Sacred Gathering – ADSA Conference 2020 – Video, styling, and video editing by Paolo Guillermo
Viray, B. (2012, April 27). holy week 2011 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1F6zT4wuQU
.
Robni2007. (2010, May 16). Angono Salubong 2010 part4 [Video file]. Retrieved
from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5qa08X4xL8&t=12s.

Gillian Arrighi – ‘A simulacrum of the cultural and historical process itself’: Newcastle’s vibrant, then abandoned, heritage-listed Victoria Theatre

Presentation

Gillian Arrighi

University of Newcastle

‘A simulacrum of the cultural and historical process itself’: Newcastle’s vibrant, then abandoned, heritage-listed Victoria Theatre  

Built with the intention of eclipsing elite late-19th century theatre buildings in other Australian colonial cities in respect of its usability, comfort, and interior decoration, Newcastle’s heritage-listed Victoria Theatre (1891) is the oldest theatre in New South Wales and the third oldest theatre in Australia. When opened, it was a symbol and location of civic pride and a marker of Newcastle’s significance as a destination for international and national touring theatre companies and entertainers. Maintained as a commercial enterprise for seventy-five years, the Victoria’s historical layers are “a simulacrum of the cultural and historical process itself,” expressing Theatre’s function as a “repository of cultural meaning” (Carlson 2011, 2). Modernising renovations that equipped the theatre as a hybrid venue for both live shows and motion pictures responded to shifting production demands, cultural taste, and commercial imperatives. 1906 alterations removed redundant stage boxes and enlarged the proscenium to meet popular demand for musical comedies; 1921 renovations removed the cramped upper gallery, installing the infrastructure for moving picture projection and enabling the Victoria’s operation as a hybrid variety theatre and movie house. Subsequent alterations accommodated mid-20thC developments in cinema (cinemascope) whilst maintaining production of live performance. Deployment of the Victoria as a retail outlet in 1967 followed the impact of free-to-air broadcast television and the rising importance of government subsidy to the Australian arts sector. 

Using the detailed database of shows produced at the Victoria Theatre developed through the AusStage project (www.ausstage.edu.au), this paper critically examines the Victoria’s popular repertoire across an extended period of time within the context of the city’s unique demographic and Newcastle’s cultural and industrial development.  The virtual reality (VR) experience of the Victoria Theatre (circa 1891), developed by researchers and IT specialists at the University of Newcastle, will also be available to conference attendees in conjunction with this presentation.

Assoc. Prof. Gillian Arrighi is head of Creative and Performing Arts in the School of Creative Industries, University of Newcastle, Australia. Her primary research interests are popular entertainments from the late-nineteenth century to the current day, acting theory and practice, and child actors. Her many refereed journal articles and book chapters appear in scholarly publications such as Theatre Journal, Australasian Drama Studies, New Theatre Quarterly, Early Visual Popular Culture, Theatre Research International, Theatre Dance and Performance Training, and in edited collections. She is co-editor of the scholarly e-journal, Popular Entertainment Studies (now in its eleventh year of publication), co-editor of the books Entertaining Children: The Participation of Youth in the Entertainment Industry (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), and A World of Popular Entertainments (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars: 2012); editor of a focus issue on circus for the journal of Early Popular Visual Culture (2017); and author of the monograph The FitzGerald Brothers’ Circus: spectacle, identity and nationhood at the Australian circus (Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2015). Her current book project, due for completion in 2020, concerns child actors performing on trans-national popular stages, 1880-1910. Her most recent publishing project is the Cambridge Companion to the Circus, co-edited with Prof. Jim Davis (University of Warwick), due for publication in 2020.

Jonathan Bollen – ‘Glittering in the dark’: audience appeal and the design of attraction at the Stardust, Las Vegas, 1959

Presentation

Jonathan Bollen

UNSW Sydney

‘Glittering in the dark’: audience appeal and the design of attraction at the Stardust, Las Vegas, 1959

This paper reports from the Visualizing Lost Theatres project on the design of mid-twentieth century revue. It focuses on the second revue presented by the Lido de Paris at the Stardust Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Ca C’est L’Amour opened in June 1959, playing 15 shows a week, in the Stardust’s Cafe Continental, a showroom which seated 750 people at tables in a tiered cabaret formation. Over a 15 month run, the revue attracted an estimated audience of 800,000 men and women, drawn from the mobile, middle-class of predominantly white America. This study uses digital reconstruction in virtual reality to interrogate relations between venue architecture, production design, performance practice and audience appeal. Combining an architectural account of ‘attraction’ from Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour’s Learning from Las Vegas (1972), with an economic understanding of ‘appeal’ from Susan Bennett’s essay on audience mobility in ‘Theatre/Tourism’ (2005), this paper analyses the design of the Stardust’s ‘glittering in the dark’ attraction as a body-venue articulation in which the Lido revue, shot through with the vectors of international entertainment, momentarily arrests the attention of the tourist-audience passing through. When the Lido closed at the Stardust after 32 years, the revue had attracted 19 million spectators to 22,000 performances. How did the Stardust succeed in attracting an audience for international revue? And how did the Lido revue sustain its audience appeal? Since the casino was demolished in 2007, digital reconstruction using virtual reality extends the horizon for addressing these questions.

Stardust Hotel, Las Vegas, 1959 – Ca Ces’t L’Amour, Lido de Paris – 16mm Film, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g70RBZAlD6w.

Jonathan Bollen is Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at UNSW Sydney. His recent research traces the development of international touring, entrepreneurial diplomacy and commercial entertainment in the Asia Pacific region. He also has experience in the digital humanities, developing collaborative methods for theatre research and data visualisations of networks and tours. He is the author of Touring Variety in the Asia Pacific Region, 1946–1975 (2020) and co-author of A Global Doll’s House: Ibsen and Distant Visions (2016) and Men at Play: Masculinities in Australian Theatre since the 1950s (2008). He has published on data models for theatre research in Theatre Journal (2016), coordinated research for the AusStage database (2006–13), and co-edited recent issues of Popular Entertainment Studies.

Olivia Kristine D. Nieto and Layeta P. Bucoy – MonoVlog, an Emergen(t)cy Digital Performance

Performance-lecture

Olivia Kristine D. Nieto and Layeta P. Bucoy

University of the Philippines Diliman and University of the Philippines Los Banos

MonoVlog, an Emergen(t)cy Digital Performance

In this performance lecture, we intend to explore the MonoVlog (monologue and vlog) as an emergent mode of performance during the Metro Manila lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Presented in Facebook Live, the MonoVlog became a series of original digital performances probing lockdown experiences in response to national affairs. Its form is bundled as a proof of life, a COVID 19 health advisory, a private Zoom conversation, a tribute to frontliners, a testimony, a death folder, a shoutout video of advocacy groups, a set of community-led responses to the pandemic, and a #ProtestFromHome movement. The form is being adopted by the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Pilipino, the Bikol community theatre Sining Banwa, and the performance group Icebag Online. The presentation explores the MonoVlog’s aesthetics and sociality based on the reason as to why it emerged as a form and on how it is shaped in the age of COVID-19. In the end, the process of creating a MonoVlog is a testament on how quarantined performance-makers in the Philippines reimagine the future of performance by innovating efforts to make an emergency shift to digital platforms, and by creating virtual communities in the time of the “viral” and the virus.

Olivia Kristine D. Nieto is an assistant professor at the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts (DSCTA), College of Arts and Letters, University of the Philippines Diliman. She is also an actor in theatre, television, and film. 

Layeta P. Bucoy is an associate professor at the University of the Philippines Los Banos. She is a playwright, a screenplay writer, a fictionist, and an erotic column writer.

Keywords: digital performance, protest

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Tessa Rixon, Anthony Brumpton, Carly O’Neill – Creating Virtual Space for Undergraduate Production Artists: Reimagining theatre production pedagogy online in response to COVID-19

Presentation

Tessa Rixon, Anthony Brumpton, Carly O’Neill

Queensland University of Technology

Creating Virtual Space for Undergraduate Production Artists: Reimagining theatre production pedagogy online in response to COVID-19 

This presentation will demonstrate how virtual theatre productions act as spaces of transformation within Production Arts pedagogy while strengthening students’ agency over creative processes. In face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, with the shutdown of the Australian entertainment industries and the wholesale shift to online modes of delivery within tertiary institutions, the training of undergraduate Production Artists is uniquely situated to adapt through experimentation with online processes. This presentation will explore the pedagogical approach adopted by Queensland University of Technology academics within the Technical Production degree to create virtual spaces for the training of Production Artists. The Production Arts refers to the industry of practitioners who apply specialised design, technical and management skills in the collaborative process of realising live performance, encompassing managers, technologists, designers, operators, and others working behind or beside the scenes to create theatre. 

This presentation will analyse the pedagogical model developed for QUT’s Technical Production degree to shift highly practical, studio-based pedagogy into the online space. Focusing specifically on the newly-created Virtual Theatre Production (VTP) Project – a collaborative project which transfers productions online and involves second and final-year students, seasoned industry professionals, directors and production managers – we will case-study a new approach to training Production Artists in this time of global transformation. The VTP Projects shift normal production processes into the virtual space using 3D modelling software, lighting visualization, vision content presentation, 3D costume render techniques, videoconferencing and live streaming. 

This study will demonstrate how our approach to Production Arts pedagogy grants greater agency to undergraduate students to reimagine their own creative, technical and management processes and products. We establish how these virtual spaces of transformation facilitate social engagement amongst the student cohort, supporting creative encounters in the face of this recent global pandemic.

Tessa Rixon (née Smallhorn) is a practitioner-researcher with a focus in digital scenography and interactive systems in live performance. As a Lecturer in Scenography in the School of Creative Practice with the Queensland University of Technology, Tessa lectures in performance design, computer-aided design and performance technologies. Tessa’s research promotes new modes of integrating established and emergent technologies such as motion capture, Augmented and Virtual Reality systems into live performance; exploring the symbiosis of interactive technology and embodied performance practice; and showcasing Australian performance design practice and histories.

Anthony Brumpton is a Lecturer in the School of Creative Practice at Queensland University of Technology. His professional practice and research investigates augmented aural realities (AAR) through the lens of Aural Scenography as an approach for inclusion, placemaking and environmental awareness. His teaching fields include technical production, sound design and intermedial theatre. Anthony has over 20 years professional experience in the fields of music, sound and technical production, having created hundreds of creative works across Australia and internationally. Anthony currently resides in Queensland, Australia on the land of the traditional owners the Gubbi Gubbi.

Carly O’Neill is the Lecturer in Stage Management within the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Technical Production) at QUT. She has 20 years’ experience as a professional freelance stage manager working across most live performance genres, with particular specialisations in classical and contemporary music, and ballet and contemporary dance. Carly was the Senior Stage Manager at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre from 2004 – 2013 and has extensive regional, national and international touring experience. Carly has been the lecturer in stage management at QUT since 2009 and is currently the Study Area Coordinator for the BFA (Technical Production) and continues to freelance as a stage manager and show-caller. Her research explores the career transition experiences of female stage managers in Australia.

Welcome

Welcome to Country – Aunty Lola Ryan, La Perouse Land Council, introduced by Dr Liza-Mare Syron, Scientia Fellow, UNSW Sydney

Conference opening – Professor Michael Balfour, Head of School of the Arts and Media, UNSW Sydney

House-keeping and advice – Dr Jonathan Bollen, Theatre and Performance Studies, UNSW Sydney