METADATA – light / sound / body / space

FORM Dance Projects and Parramatta’s Riverside Theatre will present Metadata, a performance work of two unique pieces showcasing dance, video, sound and animation. Exploring the latest developments in Physics, Cosmology and Optical Physics, the audience is invited to a changing universe of patterns, movement and sound.

Make no mistake, this performance work is original, progressive and with many years in the making, a passion project for choreographer and dancer, Tess de Quincey. Talking to Tess about this project is a little like talking to a child on Christmas Day, there’s so much pure excitement and genuine joy to be bringing this project to life it’s palpable. “For years I’ve been fascinated by the new science and it’s one of the things that’s very dear to my heart because it’s so amazing what these scientists work out, and I live in a different world to them.” She says.

Like most passion projects, the road hasn’t been easy. “When we got knocked back on the funding this time we were so sad but we all felt the piece should see the light of day so we all said; ok, let’s make it happen.”

A collaborative work, the other artists involved are; Peter Fraser, co-choreographer and dancer; Pimmon & Warren Burt, Music; Martin Fox, video; Boris Morris Bagattini, Animation, Sian James-Holland, Light and Claire Westwood, costume. Tess explains the collaborative approach. “The shaping of the conceptual remit is my thing but from then on, it floats out to the other artists and the interesting thing is when you’re working together and there’s this cross firing … things happen! That’s what’s so magical about working together and that’s what’s, oh so wonderful about live performance work!”

PURE LIGHT - Photo credit Sam James
Photo Credit: Sam James

Tess de Quincey opens the performance with a piece called Pure Light. It’s a 20 minute tribute to Dan Lavin, an American fluorescent light installation artist. “I feel a great sense of homage to an artist who has committed a life-time to exploring light which is the essence of our universe, through the sun. It’s such an extraordinary commitment in a life-time to do that.” The human figure is revealed and transforms from lines to icons to architectural planes. The audience will see fields of visual and sound particles, form and re-form which stretches the body to ambiguous shapes.

Credit: Sam James

Moths and Mathematics has similarities and yet is a vastly different piece of work. Tess says “We started this work around the relationship between mathematics and music, and that was the driving force for the choreographic structures we explored. Peter [Fraser] particularly had been very fascinated by a scientist called D’Arcy Thompson that he read when he was a child and he talks about the spiral within biological life and that is the mathematics that one side just gets incrementally shorter and shorter and shorter and shorter and so the maths within the spiral is actually what determines all sorts of things in nature; whether it be the spiralling of goats horns or the galaxy!”

This 40 minute piece explores the unfolding of space between two bodies where mathematical relationships are explored. Warren Bart’s musical composition compliments the multifaceted layering of mathematical structures.

In an engaging twist for the audience member, the finale of the evening will be a post-performance Arts and Science Exchange whereby a different scientist each night will be on hand to unpack what they’ve observed in the performance and how that translates to science. This element of the program is particularly exciting to Tess de Quincey. “It’s been really, really interesting actually. There was one scientist who said ‘look, I’m very interested but I just can’t relate to the work you do so I’m going to have to say no’ which I thought was fantastic and very honest.” Luckily Metadata has secured a great line-up of scientists to contribute. The Exchange will be facilitated by Associate Professor Ian Maxwell from The University of Sydney. Tess says; “He is a brilliant facilitator and speaker and he will bridge that fantastic gap and I know that he is going to weave these two worlds together and bring audiences in really beautifully because that’s what he’s brilliant at.

The passion from Tess de Quincey does not end when the curtain falls by any means, the audience are encouraged to continue the conversation. “I love having a bubbly with everybody afterwards; it is such fun to explore with the audience ‘what did you notice and feel? What did you get from the work’ and it’s an interesting unfolding of conversation that comes afterwards that’s so beautiful.”

A limited season for an exciting performance art piece, you’re sure to leave Metadata thinking about more than you did coming in to the space.

Karren Gail – Talking Arts

Cnr Market and Church Streets


15th September 8pm
16th September  12:30pm
17th September 8pm
Art and Science Exchange
Prof. Geraint F Lewis, Professor of Astrophysics, The University of Sydney
Prof. Geraint F Lewis, Professor of Astrophysics, The University of Sydney
Dr Maryanne Large, Associate Professor, School of Physics, The University of Sydney


Comments are closed.