Certain kind of shark eggs (Grey Nurse, Port Jacksons) are a kind of spiral corkscrew shape. Essentially the mother shark sorta screws the egg into cracks in rocks to keep it safe from the elements and from other fish, and then the baby shark chews its way out of the leathery shell and gets on its way.
Shark Egg is also the name of mine and Paul Heslin’s new EP. Four songs, recorded June 2012 in Melbourne, resplendent with joy,
no police shining lights in your eyes
no kangaroos rearing up on their hind legs slashing open your belly
no snakes like the one that got your dog
no screaming headlights like the one that got your cat
Among the various things I’ve been doing in Melbourne this last three months, one of the simplest and nicest took place last night. Last May I managed to get myself entangled into the strange webs and networks of UK company Coney, both in Melbourne and subsequently in London. Most recently, I took on the task of assembling a Show and Tell Salon in Melbourne, working to the rough model of the show and tells that Coney have been running in London these last few months.
This was the first Show and Tell Salon – curated by me and produced by myself and the charming cats from Pop Up Playground (who will be hosting the next installment at Theatreworks in July).
The nice thing I think about organising the premiere event – of anything – is that you set the standard, without needing to copy or compete with prior incarnations. So I can comfortably say that what happened last night is exactly what should happen at a Melbourne-based Show and Tell Salon. Future incarnations may deviate from this template, but the essential form is fixed.
elena kirschbaum explicking the Gadjo Family. image by sayraphim lothian.
And the essential form is: 18 people gathered together in a warm cafe (Open Studio) on High Street in Northcote, hidden out of the wind and the rain, eating crepes, drinking mulled wine and listening to five speakers share their thoughts on the topic of audience.
Dan Koop described two of his recent projects (Wish We Were Here and The Stream / The Boat / The Shore / The Bridge) and how they create frames for audience experience without actually specifying who that audience is or what that experience might be. Elena Kirschbaum talked about her emotionally-charged experience presenting durational performance The Gadjo Family at the 2011 You Are Here Festival, and how a personal tragedy both undercut and enhanced the power of the work. Owen Collins described the Street Team Challenge which he has been exploring over the 2010 and 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, and how everyday transactions can be opportunities for creative engagement. Sayraphim Lothian described her street art projects Gilding the City and For You, Stranger and what it means to make work for an audience you will never see or encounter again. And Mark Pritchard talked about his recent production of Shotgun Wedding as part of the Next Wave Festival, and the question of how an audience can come to drive a work rather than simply witnessing it.
And in a pleasantly Coney-esque moment, Tassos Stevens gave a presentation / provocation from London involving envelopes, instructions and shared commonalities.
There were a lot of good thoughts, interesting questions raised, ideas proposed, conversation that travelled in all kinds of directions, and at the end there was jazz. And that is how a Playful Show and Tell Salon is meant to be.
owen collins describing the Street Team Challenge. image by sayraphim lothian.