Oct - Dec Series

Various neighborhood locations, Auckland

19/10/2011 - 15/12/2011

Production Details

Brent Harris partners with ST PAUL St Gallery in Oct Dec Series occurring between 19 October and 15 December. Oct Dec Series explores inviting, serializing, lapsing, voice, and gesture, with live art episodes in selected locales around Auckland; outdoor and indoor, urban and suburban, at different times of day.

We are happy to announce that Brent starts up again this week with Bundle O. Responding to the five episodes of Oct Dec Series Bundle 1 from 19 October to 5 November, and the current hiatus, Bundle O will involve:

Loosening: 6pm Thursday 17 November, Point Chevalier;  Icing: 6pm Monday 21 November, Ponsonby and Ripples10am Saturday 26 November, Otahuhu

The third and final bundle of Brent Harris’ Oct Dec Series, Bundle A, starts soon:

Poring: starting at 7.15pm Monday 12 December, Newmarket; Rinses: finishing at 7.25pm Tuesday 13 December, Auckland CBD; 
Prickles: finishing at 8.50am Thursday 15 December, Newmarket

Please note that the finishing time, rather than the starting time, is given for Rinses and for Prickles.

To book a place for one or more of these episodes, please email Brent at octdecseries@gmail.com

You will receive a reply to inform you of the outcome of your booking request, and one further email the day before the episode informing you of its exact starting location. Keep up to date with his blogspot here.

Brent Harris’ recent projects include: Better Door than a Window, in Forever Tuesday, Film Archive Auckland 2011; Project Saturday, Alt-Mariendorf, Berlin 2011; Version 2, split/fountain, Auckland 2010; and Common Series, Blue Oyster Performance Art Series, Dunedin 2008.

Brent is one of the most intriguing and memorable live performers you’re likely to encounter so book and turn up to one, two or all of these three shows.

You won’t be disappointed.


Understanding Brent's Bundles

Review by val smith 12th Dec 2011

I am engaging with trying to understand Brent Harris’s ‘Bundles’ in his current project October and December series, but Brent is a clever man and his performance work cleverly evades recognitions. After almost two months of writing notes in a dribbling fashion, as well as a couple of conversations with Brent, I am resigning myself to face my own illusions about comprehension as a performance spectator. I am coming to terms with my expectations, hopes, disappointments, and regrets around the way I want to experience performance work, Brent’s work included. I want to be resolved in my belief that my loss of knowing or of certainty about what is October and December series, reflects part of Brent’s working material, but perhaps I am confused? October and December series is a context of a play about spectator and performer engagement, a performance about performance, but again, perhaps I am confused.

One thing I love about October and December series is the engagement with inviting and publicity of the events. One email invitation includes an mp3 audio attachment of a short capture of voice; “ok just to aaaaaa, just to come back”. In order to catch what the audio file says I replay it back several times; laughing, as in doing so, I am creating, recreating, an idea of Brent glitching in repetitive loop styles, perhaps dealing with ways of compulsion, self questioning, inadequacy? Perhaps of glitching between spaces of time passing between repetitions. >>?<< A current email invitation lists the end times of episodes as opposed to the start times, introducing ambiguity to beginnings and endings, a common aspect of this work (we wonder are we done yet?) I look forward to seeing how his following of regulars, newcomers, and passers by, deal with this end times invitation.

Brent has presented three ‘Bundles’ of ‘episodes’ for October and December series; Bundle 1, Bundle O, and Bundle A which starts tonight, Monday 12 December. Each of Brent’s Bundles contains 2 or 3 ‘live art’ episodes at various locations across a week or so, notably all of the episodes take place in public urban, mostly suburban, locales. Tonight’s first episode of Bundle A is entitled Poring and will take place in Newmarket – to find out where exactly ‘to arrive’ for the episode we are asked to email Brent on octdecseries@gmail.com. Poring is followed by Rinses on Tuesday 13 December, somewhere in Auckland CBD, and his final episode for the entire series, Prickles, is on Thursday 15 December, again in Newmarket.

It might be useful to mention here that this performance series is informing and informed by Brent’s PhD work through Spatial Design at AUT. The titles of episodes point somewhat obliquely to performance content, or are they elusive metaphors? I might outline my own personal interpretations here, but I would be merely surmising. I note the titles are all verbs, indicating a sense of activity or doing, and I notice most of them reference water or watering actions in some way (in performance Brent always carries a plastic water bottle that he pulls from his backpack and drinks from, we can see the water rippling through the plastic)… The episodes take place predominantly on street sidewalks, where street life and passers by are drawn into or signaled as part of the performative scenes. What stands out to me in October and December series is the performative prowess of the performer himself. Brent is captivating to witness in his performative complexes (emphasis on complexes), he is alluring, yet bewildering. October and December series is witty and highlights Brent’s knowledgeable approach to the art of performing and performance making.

Icebreaking, the initial episode of Bundle 1, took place on the corner of Norfolk St and Mira St in Ponsonby. I had never walked through that part of Ponsonby before, so meeting there felt somewhat like a fun adventure. I wanted to look around and actively see the urban surroundings as well as look at the other attendees and at Brent, who, as I arrived, gestured to me to advance towards the group, then quickly followed that with gesturing me to stop whilst speaking incongruous verbal instructions or ‘invitations’ (as Brent would put it). I am amused, and sense a kind of playfulness about the performance material. There seems to be indicated here, an openness to how we, as attendees, might engage with Brent’s suggestions, invitations, proposals. He seems to be inviting our response.

Brent’s voiced invitations which include “gather in, gather in…”, “perhaps one, perhaps some”, “aaaaaaah”. Two key methods he works with are repetition and disruption. Every movement or statement is repeated many times, pointing to a serialisation of beginnings across time, nothing ever seems to end or be completed, so in a sense we are left hanging, in anticipation, unfulfilled, which builds a loose sort of tension or confusion amongst us. Brent sets up beginnings of active engagements with spectators, including passers by, then disrupts these engagements as they begin to play out. He disrupts the possibility of climax or culmination of activity by a tearing of development of meaning, story or connection. One way that he disrupts is by simply walking away, it initiates a disconcerted response. Nervous laughter is commonplace, as spectators are often reserved and compliant, most are perplexed, some are bored and frustrated, or just not paying attention, engaged in conversations with other attendees. It’s a fascinating performative dialogue, I really don’t understand it though, which is perhaps part of the fascination that keeps bringing me back to experience more Brent-isms play out.

October and December series activates time. One way time is activated is through the lengthening of time or how much time an episode occupies. Sometimes Brent continues to perform his episodes as if there is no end, sometimes he continues as long as someone else remains (die hard attendees staying on and on…to see what happens?). Other times he indicates a sense of our collectively being done (“I think we’re done”), other times drifting off, walking away, to attend to other life activities in other urban spaces, such as a supermarket or food court. We are left unsure about whether he will return, only to continue in repetition. How long should we wait?

Through absence, time is again activated by the delay which occurs between episodes, This acts to stimulate a memory of previous experiences which Brent is also referring to in his material. As the series progresses, he is sourcing new material from unexpected occurrences, responses to what he is doing seems to inform his strategies for future episodes (and our strategies too). The dissolving of memories through time refers to a progression that feeds through the span of time of the whole series, but I’m not sure where Brent is leading us. I’m quite sure though, that this un-sure-ness is the point he is pointing to. We are assuming that he is leading us somewhere, that some thing will occur some-where. And how might we know that some thing has taken place? Perhaps simply through our recognition of its inception, its life, and its resolution, but when it merely begins, only to begin, in all it potentiality does it lead us any-where? Or are we repetitively looping in our own expectation of something to come, in our anticipation (and hence frustration in its’ unfulfilled expectancy) of over there?

Take us to the bridge Brent.

In Ripples, in Otahuhu, he ‘takes’ us to the park, offering the space to us, but without instructing our movements in-to the park. A young girl attending with her Mum unreservedly takes it for herself, running into the spaciousness of the park. Whilst the rest of us (adults) stick close to Brent, I wonder, are we afraid we might miss something if we move away or take our own initiatives in this performance space? I want to rebel and break the polite protocols of performer/spectator space and timing, but I am also reserving myself, perhaps I too don’t want to stand out. Later I regret not playing with the disruption of Brent, of the performance, in some way. I am also experiencing guilt about the desire to disrupt, I judge myself for a projected disrespect in my disruptions. Could it be, though, that Brent might want to see how far we might go…?

With all of the psychological and intellectual terrain of October and December series, there is also Humour. Brent is innately funny as a performing persona, a very human and endearing quality that he seems to be consciously addressing. I am sniggering and smirking alot in this performance series, enjoying his compositional choices and personal complexes. But still I want to know more about how he is thinking about his work. . .  

Are we, as performance consumers somewhat addicted to knowing what is happening without questioning why we need to know? October and December series is perhaps preceding our assumptions about ‘dancer’, about ‘performance’ and about spectator enthusiasm by the disruption and highlighting of our expectations, but again, perhaps I am confused.

For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


Raewyn Whyte December 12th, 2011

I loved the experience I gained of a particular block in Pt Chevalier with Brent in Loosening back in November when the bottlebrush was rampantly blooming on this particular street.  So much of what Val has identified was richly present there too, and I wish I had been able to experience more of the instalments.

There were 7 of us gathered with him that night, then only 5, and for a while we turned madly social, chatty,  insouciant -  a heady kind of counterpoint to his intently scattered attentiveness and beguilingly vagrant directives.  

At one point, the bottle was emptied and left standing in the middle of the sidewalk, recipient of many backward glances, and then it vanished.

sam trubridge December 12th, 2011

It's really great to have this work reviewed on Theatreview, and with such thoughtful and generous writing. Thanks Val!

Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council