Program Notes

This is about secrets

This is messy and new

This is an experiment

I have always been invested in the notion of ‘the collective’ as a way to share skills and support art making practices beyond mainstream or traditional bricks and mortar models. In April, with these bricks and mortar buildings closed, I brought together a group of graduating practitioners and recent alumni in a digital space to ask: how can young artists develop individual practice at this time, and build a collective of makers which offers a framework of support and skills sharing?

The between here and when i tell you project has been an opportunity to ask critical young voices what art-making structures they need. What continues to surface is the desire for time, for reflection, for championing alternative structures to make work and support one another as creatives and community.

UHT has nurtured the group by offering an invitation to get started, creative development intensives, formal mentorship, workshops with industry professionals in digital art making, and aiding the development of a web-based platform to host their output. They have become known as the Dirty Laundry Collective and have grown to be a self-sufficient entity. The future is uncertain for young artists, but now they have one another.

The platform (or web-stage) design has been artfully led by the genius of Harriet Wallace-Mead with contributions from the collective. We were joined in a rich collaboration by the fiercely intelligent Zoe Scoglio, whose influence across the many facets of this project has been invaluable.

With thanks to the artist of the Dirty Laundry collective for their commitment and generosity. Thanks to the staff at Union House Theatre – Khat, Erin, Allen and Clynton, who have adapted and supported so well.

– Xanthe Beesley, Project Facilitator and

Union House Theatre Artistic Director

The works

The Receiver // Freya McGrath 

Speaking to someone over the phone is an intimate experience: we create private spaces with our voices, sending the residue of our lives and relationships along the phone lines, radio waves, and copper cables that weave around the world. What is the burden of storing, sharing, and sending all these secrets? This work imagines a mythical figure, The Receiver, a woman whose responsibility it is to receive, process, and archive every phone conversation. 

In a triptych of videos, Freya McGrath tracks the ripples and consequences created each time a signal is sent. The work draws on McGrath’s own memories and experiences to explore the emotional burden and labour that has been carried by women throughout history. As we observe The Receiver at a distance, going about her Sisyphean task, we begin to unearth a rich hidden stream created by the conversations we leave behind.

With special thanks to the following people who contributed to this work. 
Filming assistance by Shrives Murphy
Music by Flora Carbo and Merinda Dias-Jayasinha
Sound Design by Merinda Dias-Jayasinha  
Cinematography & General housemate support by Merinda Dias-Jayasinha 

Vocal contributions by: Merinda Dias-Jayasinha, Frances Dark (Mum), John McGrath (Dad), Harriet Wallace-Mead, Charlie Zhang, Alice Wheaton, Anny Biagioni, Luke Metcalfe, Xanthe Beesley, Allen Laverty, Amy Spurgeon and Betty McGrath (Nana)

 

(in)tangible // Anny Biagioni 

Where do secrets live in the body? What allows them to survive there? How might we go about setting them free? (in)tangible is an experimental multi-media work, which explores the embodied experience of secrets within intimate relationships. Through the use of film, photography, soundscaping and movement practices, (in)tangible chronicles the life of a secret within a partnership, how it affects the bodily and geographical space shared by two people, and proposes possible realities for the life of an intimate secret, beyond the container of the body.

With special thanks to:

Luke Metcalfe - for being an incredibly supportive partner who dove straight into this work with me. It could not have been created without you.

Michael Biagioni - for being an incredibly supportive brother and continuing to mix wonderful sounds for me. It’s so nice to keep creating with you, regardless of the distance.

 

LOVE MADDI 4EVA // Alice Wheaton

LOVE MADDI 4EVA is a work about wanting and wanting to be. It's about building ourselves up in the image of others whilst building others into images no real person could ever live up to. It's about the mythic intensity of close friendship and how sometimes its emotional intimacy morphs into a sense of entitlement, a belief in some kind of ownership of the self (the self you created for them? Or the self you created for yourself based on the self you created for them? Oh the tangled webs we weave).

With special thanks to Maddi Cullen for her performance as MADDI, to Shrives Murphy for their sweet vocal contribution, and to Iryna Byelyayeva for her editorial eye.
 

 

A collection of two videos exploring a Very Charlie Experience, chaotic, dramatic and sad…. Should I keep my secrets to myself or should I share? The secret truth has been unfolded through retrospection. The story of the fictional Charlie and his imaginary truth has been discovered and buried on this website.

 

my blog // Amy Spurgeon

A work about the tragic joy of being young.
 

Somewhere deep in the archive of the internet a young woman is looking for something more. She starts a blog, crafting for herself the life she desperately wants.

 

In this fantasy world, the new self she has birthed begins to glitch and fragment. She stitches together meaning through the symbols that surround her, trying to make her feelings know. my blog looks at the digital imprints we leave behind. It asks, what does it mean to make our private desires public online? What happens when we give them life?

Special thanks to Daniel Holmes for the small but essential sound design contribution.

 

How do open secrets manifest in intimate materialities, from buildings to bodies? White Shirt Experiments is a series exploring physical forms of speaking (back) to political power. The photographed objects allude to structural forms of open secrets. Move-on questions the embodiment of power that facilitates open secrets. Tread is a negotiation of staying when pressed to acquiesce or leave. This round of experimentation is set in the artist’s current personal space in Birraranga/Narrm, calling upon layers of spatial connections – the artist with their home country, Singapore, the ties between public and private, and the geographies of the internet.
 

Reis would like to thank Jamie Lewis, Janette Hoe, Kok Heng Leun, weish and din of .gif, Jack Murray, Arthur Knight, Teo Kai Wen, ants chua, Aeriqah, Union House Theatre, and the collective, for their support and generous spirits.

 

Red // Harriet Wallace-Mead

Red is the split of self at the birth of a secret. It is inescapable mind wandering, where all neural pathways lead back to the hidden. It is the torment of duplicity. It is the attempt at distraction. It is association, hyperlink, obfuscation, absurdity. It is the persistent excesses of the body. It is red herring mania.

Across four pages and countless pop-up boxes, Red explores the experience of having and hiding a secret, using the red fabric as a metaphor for what is kept hidden. In the work the artist is estranged from themselves, split into their secret-holding self and their public self – the stories they are and are not willing to tell, the ‘look at me, don’t look at me’ paradox.

Associations compound, distinction collapses, and Red grows in potency. It overwhelms the artist’s waking and dreaming consciousness, clamouring to be seen and heard. ‘I’ becomes ‘You’, the line between artist and audience is blurred, and you’re not quite sure what you’re implicated in here. 

The final part of Red, 'An Airing', was performed by me and Freya McGrath, with ambient piano provided by Jack Callil. Thank you both, I wouldn't be anywhere without you. 

 

Peep Show // Luke Macaronas

Peek-A-Boo.  Adult movie.  Private Viewing.  All-Male-Erotica.


A tiny body dances in a paper theatre. They whisper their secrets to whoever will spare a coin. Peep Show remembers the sharp sting of longing and regretting, and the endless ache of mourning a lost love. It traces the tiny spaces of pleasure, both antique and online, where distance generates desire.