PICA presents first-ever season dedicated to performance

Shelley Lasica's 'WHEN I AM NOT THERE' 2022. Photo by Jacqui Shelton.
Shelley Lasica's 'WHEN I AM NOT THERE' 2022. Photo by Jacqui Shelton.

The Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) is thrilled to present its first-ever season dedicated to performance. PICA’s Season 2 Djeran/Makuru program will bring music, movement and legacy into the gallery, with new and revisited live works woven throughout the Gallery’s interior space. Hosting a line-up of trailblazing music and movement artists from across WA and the country, PICA’s performance season brings together works from experimental dancer and choreographer Sarah Aiken (NSW), six-piece new music ensemble Decibel (WA), celebrated local dance outfit STRUT Dance (WA) and choreographic artist Shelley Lasica (VIC) – from 17 April to 23 June.

Taking the opportunity to do things differently, PICA’s Djeran/Makuru program explores how music and dance translates in the white cube and reimagines these works outside of the traditional black box. This program builds on PICA’s involvement in the recent ARC-funded project, Precarious Movements: Choreography and the Museum alongside partners including Tate Modern, Art Gallery of NSW and National Gallery of Victoria.

PICA’s CEO/Director Hannah Mathews says, “We like to keep on our toes! And 2024 has offered us many opportunities to think about how we invite artists and audiences to experience our wonderful heritage building. This season, performance takes over the whole building. We are excited to see dance in the gallery, music on the balcony and red velvet curtains experienced in a new way. Many performance makers are looking for new contexts in their work, and we are pleased to support their ambition at PICA, a space dedicated to bringing all art forms together.”

Opening the Season in the Central Gallery, Make Your Life Count from choreographer and dancer Sarah Aiken is an ambitious kaleidoscopic dance work, which premiered to critical acclaim in 2022 at Arts House Melbourne. This form-pushing work sees Aiken encountering her own solo self-expanded to infinite proportions and shrunken to painful insignificance to reflect on the paradoxes of modern life.  

This highly visual work uses dance and projection to shift scale in a heartbeat – from the microscopic to the universal. Whether monstrous and destructive – or lost in the crushing scale of humanity, ecology, time and the universe – this perspective-shifting work is a chance to lose yourself and maybe find something better, from 17 – 20 April. 

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks film Fire Walk with Me (1992), WA-founded new music ensemble Decibel transforms PICA into a progressive concert environment of red velvet and haunting new music tunes for Twin Peaks was 30, directed by multidisciplinary artist Cat Hope.

From 9 – 11 May, musicians will lead audiences throughout the building, performing a series of unfolding compositions in a unique concert environment that pays tribute to the theme song’s composer, Angelo Badalamenti, and featured singer, Julee Cruise, with a 30-minute reworking of the original film score.

A co-production from PICA and WA-based art and sound cultural institution TURA, with lighting design by Jenn Hector, the program features new compositions by Decibel’s composers as well as works by Australian artists and Twin Peaks die-hards James Rushford (VIC), Thembi Soddell (VIC) and new commissions from emerging composers Jaslyn Robertson (VIC) and Rebecca E Smith (WA). 

Over four nights in May, PICA continues its local partnerships with Perth’s much-loved performance outfit STRUT Dance to present Restore, a triple bill of new and recent dance works from artists across the Indo-Pacific region. Presented in PICA’s Central Gallery from 22 – 25 May, this new program celebrates connection, exchange and the importance of restoration and collaboration towards creating sustainable creative choreographic practices in WA.

Restore features a new commission of a mid-length work from WA artists Emma Fishwick and Serena Chalker. What Came Before invites the audience to consider their perceptions of valued labour, impermanence vs perceived permeance, the relationship to feminised work and what it takes to do things differently.  

Collaborative duo gemma+molly (Victoria-based artists Gemma Settle and Molly McKenzie) join Restore with LUSH is a cyclical queering of time – a choreography performed by the animate bodies of gemma+molly and the inanimate bodies of a blender, fruit, fans and layered fabrics. 

Rounding out PICA’s first-ever season dedicated to performance is WHEN I AM NOT THERE by renowned Naarm (Melbourne)-based artist Shelley Lasica. Lasica has experimented with the possibilities of choreography and dance for over four decades. WHEN I AM NOT THERE is a performance-exhibition that brings together choreography, costumes, paintings, sculpture, videos, texts and archival soundscapes from Lasica and her many collaborators, including sound composer François Tétaz, artist Tony Clark and Kathy Temin, fashion designer Kara Baker and Martin Grant and writer Robyn McKenzie.

Performed by eight dancers, including Lasica, this radical new performance-exhibition sees dancers and objects in constant dialogue with each other throughout PICA’s opening hours – offering visitors a new encounter each day from 11 – 23 June. 

Established in 1989, PICA is a not-for-profit arts organisation making space for current and future generations of contemporary artists and arts lovers in WA. PICA’s 2024 Djeran/Makuru season is possible thanks to government, corporate and creative partners. PICA also extends its gratitude to the continued generosity of PICA’s donors, including the A&M Fini Foundation who have contributed to enabling Twin Peaks was 30.

For more, head to pica.org.au.

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