I saw Adam Linder perform this work today at the MCA (a fantastic contribution to the 20th biennale of Sydney). You may be thinking, isn’t the MCA a gallery space? Yes. It is. And usually a site for visual art. As such, it shows dance through a different avenue and confuses the dancer and spectator relationship. For one, there is more freedom on the spectators’ viewing decisions which adds an element of spontaneity, as well as the fact that the audience is within close proximity to the dancers, inevitably influencing the work. I’ll admit that I had a few laughs watching those who were completely ignorant to the fact that a performance was taking place, or trying to be respectful as they walked through the dancers to hurry to the toilet.
Linder’s practice is advertised as a ‘service’ and he is hired by art galleries to perform within a selected space inside the gallery for a specified amount of time. In Some Proximity, Linder and dancer Justin Kennedy would take turns to perform perambulatory movement that fluidly glides across the space while coordinating complex body isolations and locks. Kind of like a futuristic pedestrian walk. What I found so captivating about this work was the collaboration with Melbourne based writer Holly Childs, who wrote quirky observations about life in real time, as though she were writing her stream of consciousness. Linder and Kennedy would occasionally moon walk up to a wall and either read, scan read, sing, or repeat selected parts of her writing while dancing. I vaguely remember one of the scores that Kennedy read out loud “girl with go pro, arms folded, filming, always filming, like lazy. ready to post it to the world tonight.” Something like that, I’m paraphrasing. It is interesting how the text influences the dancers movement, both rhythmically and visually. One of my favourite moments of the work happened to take place while I was awkwardly sitting on the floor in the corner. Kennedy gracefully hip-hop’d his way over to the wall I was situated at and continued to dance and read the text on the wall in a panning action. The extreme close up I had of this movement was like no other performance you can witness in a theatre. He read out “If that’s a corner, that’s one hell of a corner” while zooming in and out of my corner and spinning away. This comfort to perform so close to a viewer can make it quite uncomfortable for the viewer, however I found it amusing and entertaining, and I would love to encourage dancers to continue putting the audience out of their comfort zones.
Prior to seeing this performance, I had a workshop with Adam Linder at the University of New South Wales, hosted by Dr Erin Brannigan. In this workshop he spoke about his early career and how he traveled over Europe and performed an earlier work called Some Cleaning as well as this most current work. He explained that within it there are 7 modalities; Some distance, same proximity, rhythm proximity, more proximity, very proximity, pan proximity and sample proximity. I really enjoyed deciphering and piecing these modalities as he performed them. Linder sang out the instruction to perform one of the modalities at the exchange of either Linder’s or Kennedy’s movement. The following actions affirmed the instruction and made the work a cohesive transaction of movement which added to my enjoyment of the work. I would highly recommend this piece as I could easily spend more than my 3 hours I spent today there. Linder is performing this work once more tomorrow (Monday) 10.30-1, 2.30-5. Go! See! Do!