Pre­car­i­ous Move­ments: Chore­og­ra­phy and the Museum

Pre­car­i­ous Move­ments: Con­ver­sa­tions is a three-part pro­gram of live talks with artists, cura­tors and con­ser­va­tors that reflects on what hap­pens when works of a chore­o­graph­ic nature enter into the muse­um. Each ses­sion focus­es on a par­tic­u­lar phase of a work’s muse­um life cycle: how its pre­sen­ta­tion chal­lenges exist­ing dis­play sys­tems and pro­gram infra­struc­ture; how its ephemer­al­i­ty and muta­bil­i­ty con­front cur­rent col­lec­tion and acqui­si­tion frame­works; and how a chore­o­graph­ic work’s par­tic­u­lar rela­tion­ship to body, mem­o­ry and social net­works might shift insti­tu­tion­al prac­tices of archiv­ing and preservation.

Ses­sion 2. Square Peg: Rethink­ing and Recon­fig­ur­ing the Muse­um Col­lec­tion

Date: Tues­day 27 Octo­ber, 8pm
Pan­el: Lisa Catt (Assis­tant Cura­tor, Inter­na­tion­al Art, AGN­SW), Vic­to­ria Hunt (artist), Shel­ley Lasi­ca (artist) and Tania Doropou­los (Direc­tor, Anna Schwartz Gallery)
Mod­er­a­tor: Pip Wal­lis (Cura­tor, Con­tem­po­rary Art, NGV)

There is a notable absence of chore­o­graph­ic works in muse­um col­lec­tions. An obsta­cle seem to exist at the most fun­da­men­tal lev­el — the very way muse­ums under­stand the art object and struc­ture the process of col­lect­ing. This ses­sion looks at how artists and insti­tu­tions are con­fronting the lim­i­ta­tions of cur­rent acqui­si­tion frame­works and are con­sid­er­ing ways in which col­lec­tions might make space for liv­ing prac­tice and imma­te­r­i­al context.

Shel­ley Lasi­ca and Tania Doropou­los look to Lasica’s work Dress: A Cos­tumed Per­for­mance with Design­er Mar­tin Grant, 1997 – 2019, as a mod­el for how artists might approach the acqui­si­tion of their work. Artist Vic­to­ria Hunt dis­cuss­es her expe­ri­ences with­in insti­tu­tion­al con­texts, reflect­ing on how muse­um ontolo­gies and tem­po­ral­i­ties might be chal­lenged and changed. And cura­tor Lisa Catt dis­cuss­es how the archive might cir­cum­vent insti­tu­tion­al hier­ar­chies and depen­den­cies on object­hood to rep­re­sent a wider range of art­forms with­in a muse­um collection.

Pre­car­i­ous Move­ments: Chore­og­ra­phy and the Muse­um is a research project led by a group of inde­pen­dent artists, cura­tors, con­ser­va­tors, and aca­d­e­mics affil­i­at­ed with UNSW, AGN­SW, MUMA, NGV and Tate.

Reg­is­ter here

Dress, 1997
Photo: Kate Gollings

Shel­ley Lasi­ca, Dress

Dress is a twen­ty-five minute chore­o­graphed per­for­mance devised by Shel­ley Lasi­ca, where a solo per­former inter­acts with a series of cos­tumes designed by Mar­tin Grant. Inter­ro­gat­ing how the body behaves, and can be arranged by the phys­i­cal con­ven­tions of cloth­ing, the work was con­ceived as a response to expe­ri­ence of look­ing and being looked at. Scru­ti­n­is­ing the objec­ti­fi­ca­tion of the female form, Dress inter­weaves his­to­ries of embod­i­ment’ and the the­atri­cal­i­sa­tion of the nude’ through a play on the­atri­cal devices and the log­ic of the gallery.

Ini­tial­ly pre­sent­ed at Anna Schwartz Gallery in 1997 for Mel­bourne Fash­ion Fes­ti­val, Dress is per­formed with­in a gallery set­ting in close prox­im­i­ty to the audi­ence. The work was recent­ly reac­ti­vat­ed 22 years lat­er for the exhi­bi­tion Nev­er the same riv­er at Anna Schwartz Gallery. The per­for­mance of the work in 2019 prompt­ed a response to the shift­ing rela­tion­ship between the female body, rep­re­sen­ta­tion, agency and the process of ageing.

Dress, 2019
Photo: Jacqui Shelton


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