Running 23 to 25 February 2023 at CAC, The Other Side is a multi-disciplinary work that responds to the stagnant state of our world in recent years. Choreographer and Dancer Brianna Kell explains, “This work depicts our innate conditioning and desire to find resilience and sustain in times of great upheaval – a multi-sensory experience exploring our need to rebuild and re-emerge from significant challenge and change.”
The performance follows a lone dancer (Brianna Kell) facing the aftermath of an unknown event. She is joined on stage by Party Dozen musicians, drummer Jonathan Boulet and saxophonist Kirsty Tickle, who create an intense aural environment. The soundscape pitches, vibrates and echoes in haunting ferocity as the dancer weaves between musical instruments, beckoning the musicians to join the movement patterns. Jodie Whalen’s immersive light installation is the final piece to this surrealist puzzle, designed to test the audience’s perceptions of time.
The Other Side subverts reality in a mind meld of genre-blending action. An antidote to our recent past, this new work poses the question, “what are we doing now?”
Kell adds, “I see this work as a kind of exorcism of stagnant energy after the pause in creative development and performance opportunities in recent years. This has been a vital place to explore and release all those creative desires. Audiences should expect a lot of moments of repetition to the point of extreme, leaving you to question the after-effects on the body. Add to this an immersive aural environment, which also permeates the body as the work reaches high points of music sound, noise, action. We want audiences to experience something and feel a moment in time that shifts perspective. You can’t ignore that the world around us has changed. It is not a time to be safe. The time to create and take risks is now.
Tickle explains, “The Party Dozen project has so many hats, and this work is another limb of the tree that we’re exploring and growing. Working in a visual nature is something we have always been interested in. It makes sense to do that in a live setting, and now with a contemporary dancer pushing us creatively in a new direction which is a really exciting next step.”
Boulet adds, “We are known for playing at a ten all of the time, and going big and loud. We’re always pushing the extremes of this group, but this time we’re exploring subtler and quieter areas. People will be surprised to hear a soundscape that is organic, textured and tactile. Expect lots of highly processed sounds, drones and density. But experimentation is always the common theme in all our work, as we constantly look for new ways to push the envelope. Add Brianna to the mix, and it’s a wild ride.”
Party Dozen have had a wild ride themselves the last 12 months, having completed several European tours, recorded a song with Nick Cave and released their third album The Real Work, once again to critical acclaim. They won’t be slowing down in 2023, starting their year with a performance at Sydney Festival, and then performing together for the first time at South by Southwest in March 2023.
Gadigal/Darug-based multidisciplinary artist Jodie Whalen has also celebrated a successful few years of practice. Working across video, sound, light and installation, Whalen has had new digital and site-specific work commissioned for Cement Fondu (2020), Prototype Art TV (2021) Carriageworks (2021), and recently BLEED which included a large-scale installation at Campbelltown Arts Center. The lighting/visual installation in The Other Side is her first collaboration of this kind, marking a new expanded direction in her practice that she will continue to explore.
Kell has also had a hugely successful 12 months, having joined Australian Dance Theater in 2022, and performed three major shows and a tour as a company member. She is set to do the same in 2023, and will also be collaborating with The Australian Ballet for the first time on a new work which will tour Melbourne and Sydney. Kell has established a notable career as a dancer for the past decade, but The Other Side is her first work as a lead artist and choreographer. The Sydney-born artist is delighted to have returned home to unveil this milestone work at the Campbelltown Art Centre.
Michael Dagostino, director of Campbelltown Arts Centre, adds, “It is now the time to create challenging works that push the physicality of the body to the point of a highlighted state. Contemporary works that can be interpreted through the history of dance, music and visual arts, whereas The Other Side, places you in the present and is felt throughout the body. It is the right time for this work to be commissioned by Campbelltown Arts Center where the bodies, both the performer and audience, connect through visceral sensations.”
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