Touching base....

It has been a long time since I’ve written… well, since March anyway.

I always find myself somehow transforming, and the last few months has been no different.

SPARK Residency - Proxima

In March, Ben, Dean and I spent time in the studio with a Legs On The Wall SPARK residency. It’s a 5-day equivalent (though we spread it over 12 nights over 3 weeks) space residency culminating in a showing. We were concentrating on our work, Proxima, which has had a lot of interest from small festivals, locally and internationally. We were building the choreographic language and the overall arc of it…

We were joined in the studio at one point by Chris Bennett on cello and Mark Oliveiro on synths… We’ll be working more with live musicians as part of the gig because this experiment went well!

One thing I found interesting working with Mark, Dean and Ben all at once was the way that ‘scoring’ took place - albeit loosely, and the non-verbal conversation between composers who’d all had some classical training but in an improvisation and movement context. We all know theories of building form (micro to macro) and having a negotiation of this in a multi-artform context in real time was challenging and interesting.

Ben and I have since been further developing a full script for Proxima. We would have been performing in Bondi Feast but I got a bit too enthusiastic in a training session recently and fractured my wrist - so I’m out of the studio for another 6 weeks whilst it heals properly. When it’s all good, we’ll figure out a performance/showing to invite mates and colleagues to.

Image from SPARK#5, photo by Darinka Maja (Mark Oliveiro, Ben Hinchley and myself pictured debriefing on our showing)

Image from SPARK#5, photo by Darinka Maja (Mark Oliveiro, Ben Hinchley and myself pictured debriefing on our showing)

Water’s Edge

In March I did my first bit of work ever for Legs On The Wall as a creative… I was called in at the last minute (literally the day before a gig) to figure out QLab and do some sound design. Of course I hadn’t much going on so I said YES!!!

This gig, with the Inner West City Council’s festival “EDGE”, involved suspending a very large yet quite light steel cube skeleton over a body of water, pontoons going over the water, aerial physical performers, ground (water/pontoon) based performers, scripted text, costume, lighting and of course a huge outdoor sound set up.

After going through the gauntlet of Remote Control’s tech requirements (Dean’s last gig last year) I felt ready for anything - so I did it - smacking together some audio and finessing crossfading and fading between scenes, making the audio cues match up to the performers’ expectations…

Image of “Water’s Edge” by Legs on The Wall March 2019

Image of “Water’s Edge” by Legs on The Wall March 2019

A Repeated Text

Dean and I had just got back from Orange where we’re starting a new ensemble made up of people living with Down Sydrome (called the “Jam and Bread Ensemble”). We’re making a new work called “Second Nature”… there’s heaps to think about/do/organise there….

But… after we got back from a particularly exhilarating (albeit draining) workshop, I bumped into a couple of mates of mine at a party - Georgia Cranko and Steve Alexander-Wilson, who happened to be curating a performance evening at PACT - a “salon” - called “Dark and Lite”.

Fish to water, I offered a rendition of a nude ave maria (jokingly). 5 days later (2 days before the gig) they took me up on the offer. There was no way I was going to perform a nude ave maria (without context) so I got thinking on what I could do. I came up with 4 options which I circulated to them and a whole bunch of performing arts professionals I know and admire and whittled the choice down to “A Repeated Text”.

For something put together in a day it’s not horrendous - https://vimeo.com/338485373 - but more time preparing would have been great… it was a good experience for me to make and perform a solo with such little time though, and looking at the video now I know how I’ll approach the next last-minute-put-together work….

photo by Dean Walsh, “A Repeated Text” March 2019

photo by Dean Walsh, “A Repeated Text” March 2019

Other Works And Projects I’m Working On

Other than “Proxima” and “Second Nature” I’m working (still) on a solo cello work for Chris Bennett… I’m finding it exceedingly difficult to reconcile my desires to transcend the classical composer bits of me with the contemporary performance parts of me when it comes to writing solo acoustic instrument work… which is silly, because I’m really good at solo instrument writing (I think)… I’ve made so many ‘false starts’ - some quite serious, some just a couple of lines…. but that’s the point of this commission; this commission’s brief is to make work that’s significant to the development of my practice.

Last weekend I had my first life modelling gig in a while, this time with Gareth Earnst. He was an absolute pleasure to ‘sit’ for, though the poses were all dance-inspired. It’s for a work he’s intending for quite a large exhibition that pays homage to a friend of his who died from AIDS.

Stuff That’s Coming Up

Given my wrist being fractured, I’ve pulled out of all performances that were coming up, and I’ve nothing specifically planned from August onwards!!! We’ll see how long that lasts…..

An extract of Gareth Earnst’s drawing he made when I posed for him last week….

An extract of Gareth Earnst’s drawing he made when I posed for him last week….

Andrew Batt-Rawden

Performance artist and composer. I have a background in music composition, festival direction, media publishing, some uni teaching here and there as well as performance art. I make websites for various projects that I'm involved with.