Venue: Erskineville Village Anglican Church (Erskineville NSW), September 4 – 19, 2015
Choreography: Tess de Quincey
Video Animation: Samuel James
Photography: Vsevolod Vlaskine
Sound: Vic McEwan
Cast: Tess de Quincey
Images by Vsevolod Vlaskine
We face the far end of the church. There are two narrow stained glass windows, and the central double doors are painted white, as is the wall on which it sits. A video is projected onto the entirety of that surface, composed of photography created from the moon’s light, the beautiful images we see are completely abstract, monochromatic blobs and scribbles that could mean nothing or everything, with sound that is more cinematic than musical, atmospheric and visceral in its transmission. A person emerges in a long, white hooded raincoat, devoid of gender, ethnicity and age, Tess de Quincey performs the majority of the piece with her back to us. She responds and reacts, attempting to understand her relationship with the imagery before her, and we ponder the connection between dancer and photography, human and moon.
Our appreciation of the work does not occur immediately. It is all too strange and silent, and we feel lost in the bareness of its audacious start. Every visual and aural element conspires to move our awareness away from everyday mundanity, and in time, we are unknowingly hypnotised. A meditative quality sets in, captivating our senses, but perhaps more importantly, our minds. We go through periods of thought, trying to create meaning in the sight of dancer against photographic patterns, and we go through periods of release, allowing our senses to experience things as they are, without the interference of logic. It is an unusual pleasure, emerging from the idiosyncrasy of de Quincey’s presence, drawing us in to share in her perspective of the world. In the show’s best moments, time stands still, and we fear for it to end. We want the indulgence to go on, and we want to luxuriate in the sense of elevation it provides, lulled away from our usual petty concerns, into a space of hallucinatory ethereality and eternal bliss.
Lunar tributes have existed since time immemorial. Life on earth is meaningful only when we reach beyond, for the stars and moon. We cannot understand ourselves only from within; humanity requires that we look outside to make sense of what we go through on this planet. Whether sending rockets to Mars or dancing our bodies, art must think of infinity, in order to locate significance, value, or magic. To be human, is to move beyond corporeality, sometimes towards the far reaches of the ether, even if only in our heads.