Performing Object I
Centre of Contemporary Art: CoCA, Christchurch
30/11/2019 - 30/11/2019
Ōtautahi Tiny Performance Festival
Performing Object I, is an exhibition of a new work by dancer/choreographer David Huggins, conceived for the Ōtautahi Tiny Performance Festival.
It is a moving durational sculpture, throughout which the audience is welcome to come and go.
David Huggins began dancing while completing his psychology degree in New Zealand.
After graduating from a Bachelor of Dance at the Victorian College of the Arts, he has been working consistently with Russell Dumas’ Dance Exchange in Melbourne performing nationally and internationally.
David has also worked for choreographers Douglas Wright (NZ), Xavier Le Roy (FR) and Rhiannon Newton (AUS). He recently presented his first full length work, Once More, with Feeling at the Dunedin Fringe Festival.
Performance installation , Dance , Contemporary dance ,
Poignant acoustic movement
Review by Emily Mowbray-Marks 01st Dec 2019
I’m here witnessing 12 hours of dance | poetry | music | theatre | performance art within Julia Harvie’s curated Tiny Performance Festival in Otautahi | Christchurch (2019).
I’ve walked out of a small white-box performance space on Level 2 of CoCA (Centre of Contemporary Art) from Alice Canton’s work, into the ‘main stage’ which is fresh, vulnerable and morning.
No proscenium arch.
No dark heavy curtains to retreat into.
No backstage to ready oneself.
No red velvet curtain to drop or rise eeking that first image to the naive audience.
No darkened auditorium for the voyeur to remain anonymous.
I walk out to a nude body lying in a metaphoric puddle, upstage, surrounded by and somewhat wearing antique faded canvas little folding chairs, the sort a someone may take to Christmas in the Park in the 70s.
I haven’t seen art with nudes for a long while, infact have I ever? Perhaps within a Michael Parmenter or Douglas Wright show in the 90s?
My friend and I find our seats and I look for comfort.
There is no pre-recorded soundtrack.
The sound of silence sits.
I hear the discomfort (only | mostly in myself).
Later the sound of metal clattering and skin squeezing against the black dance floor break the absence of noise.
The light is natural and bright from the skylights.
Was nude ever everyday I wonder?
I watch performance for 12 hours.
Later there are more nudes.
Upon completion of this festival I muse I have become more at ease with these nipples, genitals, curves, bumps, hues, hair and muscles.
The keynote speaker Cat Ruka (Artistic Director of Tempo Dance Festival) talks of performance as medicine.
Virginia and Marika later talk about sex positivity as an antidote to rape culture.
I reflect that sitting with many naked forms over this November day has been medicinal.
It’s re-inforced the non-sexual-ness of the human nude body, the beauty, the allure of difference.
But back in this first moment with David Huggins (a VCA graduate who began dancing whilst completing his Psychology degree) this is my experience as I watch the poignant acoustic movement.
Mystery. Anticipation. Are we going to get a full-frontal? How will I feel about that? I should be more sophisticated in my response. Breathe out. Absence. Silence. I’m not breathing. He’s not breathing. Can I leave? Come. And. Go. “It is a moving durational sculpture, throughout which the audience is welcome to come and go.” Now that I’m seated in the front row, leaving feels difficult. Trapped. He is. Butoh. Slow sustained. Will he make eye contact with us? How will I feel about that? The choice to look. The choice to see. Is he blind? Are those contacts? Do they hurt? If he can’t see me looking am I not looking? Was he not seen?
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