HOST by Gravity Feed 1999

15 Jan 1999 : Newtown Theatre, Sydney, Australia

“Man is that night, that empty Nothingness, which contains everything in its undivided simplicity: the wealth of an infinite number of representations, of images, not one of which comes precisely to mind, or which [moreover] are not [there] insofar as they are really present. It is the night, the interiority - or the intimacy of Nature which exists here: [the] pure personal-Ego. In the phatasmmagorical representation it is night on all sides: here suddenly surges up a blood-spattered head; there another, white apparition; and they disappear just as abruptly. That is the night that one perceives if one looks a man in the eyes; then one is delving into a night which becomes terrible; it is the night of the world which then presents itself to us.” -G.W.F. Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit

HOST was an innovative New Media tecnology and performance based collaboration between Gravity Feed Performance Ensemble and Artist Horst Kiechle. The Virtual Reality Modelling Language employed in the design process enables the realisation of apparently low-tech outcome: an installation made entirely of cardboard as theatrical set. The idea for this project arose between Horst Kiechle and myself as the potential for a dynamic, morphing environment which could be realised initially in the computer and ultimately activated and animated by performers around an audience. It was a notion of a total unfolding space. This notion meshes with the total atmospheric environments which frame Gravity Feed’s performance events . Moving in the direction of themes examined in our performances Inhabitation (1994), In the House of Skin (1996), and The Gravity of the Situation (1998) we are moving deliberately between site-specific work and the genre of an architectural theatre, within which “site” and “set” may more readily be equated. This is space where delineations between performer and spectator become a matter of placement and conjecture.

Director’s Notes

In their new show HOST Gravity Feed take as their starting point the claim that architecture has an unconscious effect and explore it through the digitally designed and irregular spaces of Horst Kiechle. By ,means of a virtual design, Gravity Feed build and unbuild a series of irregular and complex sculptural spaces a that encloses, and through which an audience may meander. The bringing together of the irregularity of the design, the temporality of material, with the unique movement style which is Gravity Feed’s trademark has, as one of its underlying themes, the suspension of the everyday consciousness that is shaped by the traditional box which most of our lives are carried out.

Designer’s notes

” influenced by the forces of intuition and irregularity [I] intend to demonstrate how a combination of virtual reality and automated manufacturing could free architecture from the reductivist geometry of the Age of Lego” - Horst Kiechle (quoted by Davina Jackson in Other Geometries , Architecture Australia, March/April 1997, pp. 44-47)

Whereas architecture or the built environment in general has an unconscious but strong effect on the world view of people, I think that performance and new media art can have a more sudden but just as strong effect. Sympathising with the notion that “square walls produce square minds” or formulated more positively: “Someone who grew up in the tents of nomads will have a different world view”, it has always puzzled me why architecture hasn’t produced the sensuously curved shape options seen in nature or industrial designs for products that interact with nature, cars, ships, tool handles etc. Being stimulated by architectural theory and deeply disappointed by architectural design software, where the Platonic primitive is king and creativity is automated, I try to show prototypical possibilities that include complex shape options which, in this digital age, can be manufactured just as easily as the traditional box.

  • (excerpt from an interview with Keith Gallasch The cardboard path o the digital performing space. RealTime 28, Dec 98, p.33)

Project Details
Dates 15 Jan 1999 to 31 Jan 1999
Duration 1 hour
Collaborators Performance devised by GRAVITY FEED from an original concept by Horst Kiechle and Alan Schacher; Performers : Denis Beaubois Ari Ehrlich Tim Rushton Alan Schacher Olivier Sidore Jeff Stein Design & Fabrication Horst Kiechle Sound Artist Rik Rue (sound design & construction and live performance) Director William McClure Artistic Director Alan Schacher Production Manager Richard Montgomery Set Construction Horst Kiechle Lighting Design Consultant Simon Wise Lighting Operator/ Stage Manager Janine Peacock Systems Engineer/ Technician Ian Bowie Usher/ Performer Carlos Russell Box Office Manager Andrea Aloise Publicist Emma Heath Administrator Rosemary Cameron Publicity Photographer Dobrilla Stamenkovic Publicity Design mr. snow @ the House of Laudanum Photographer Heidrun Lohr Video Documentation Peter Oldham Construction Assistants Martin Langthorne & Richard Manner Casual Crew Glenn Fitzgerald, Nick Meenahan
Producer Gravity Feed
Category ensemble
Credits This project has been assisted by the Australia Council (New Media Arts Fund), New South Wales Ministry for the Arts (Theatre program). Principal sponsor VISY Displays. Photos: Heidrun Löhr