Gracia Haby

Walking on Clouds

The Bureau of Meteorology La Trobe St. Weather Station, near to the Carlton Gardens, has always intrigued me. A triangular wedge of fenced-off green, on the city’s fringe, it looks like an art installation or a performance space. With a tiny garden shed, and unfamiliar equipment to measure climatic changes and patterns neatly dotted and connected by pathways, it is not so unlike the world Chunky Move’s Anouk van Dijk and Singaporean artist and filmmaker, Ho Tzu Nyen, have set up for their collaborative work, “Anti-Gravity.”

Simulations

3, 2, 1, go. Beyoncé ‘borrows’ moves from the Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. She duplicates De Keersmaeker’s “Rosas Danst Rosas” (1983) in her 2011 clip “Countdown.” It isn't plagiarism; it’s homage, it’s a tribute, darling. Besides, what’s original anyway?

Human Engine

See below the line. Look beyond the surface. Delve beneath the city. Peer underneath the skin. Vide infra. What makes us tick, and ultimately what holds us together, piece by splintered piece.

Swing Time

And so, as I sit now before the keyboard looking back over what I have seen this year, the pieces I recall are those that conveyed honesty and “an energy.” Unfeigned, full-hearted, call it what you will. With my eye, Godard’s camera, my life coach, Graham, and the effortless hover and charm of Lucky and Penny only in dream, let’s look back at 2016.

Fabrication

Any time between 3pm and 6pm. That was the deal. Any time within a window. And with freedom to explore. Come and go, as you please. The doors will be left open. Take photos, should you choose. Inhabit the space as you would a public area. Like a park, say. Be a living part of an assemblage. Move within the space. Walk through to the library. Squat beneath the window, recline on the slope, lean against the wall, perch on the ledge just inside the door: it’s up to you. Come, stay, and go, as you please, the invitation stood.

Aftershock

Darkly, silvered, a grassland of manmade forms grows. It grows in the North Melbourne Town Hall. It is, for now, neatly contained within the designated performance space, but like all things in nature, it is as predictable as it is unpredictable. This constructed grassland of “over 270 poles, strips, or sheets of aluminium, brass, copper and sprung steel”[note]Ashley Dyer, Artist Statement, “Tremor” programme, Arts House, North Melbourne, Victoria, November 2016[/note] hums with life. Its presence felt from the moment I enter the space.

Dirty Laundry

The noise of the day drops away as I make my way to the upstairs studio of Dancehouse. I am one part of an increasingly hushed procession assembled on opening night to experience Sarah-Jane Norman’s “The River’s Children” (2013), and “Take This, For It Is My Body” (2010) paired with “Heirloom” (2013), and Nacera Belaza’s “The Shout” (2008), presented as part of Melbourne Festival.

Forces to Test

Down, instead of up. That is how things fall when they are dropped. But in the worlds of circus and dance, the body doesn’t have to give the appearance of being a servant to gravity. In the worlds of circus and dance, the body can defy gravity. And gravity is what pulls three pieces by three different choreographers together in Les 7 Doigts’ “Triptyque,” presented as part of Melbourne Festival at the Playhouse late on a Sunday afternoon.

Living Doll

The ballet, “Coppélia,” symbolises the end of Romanticism. Created in 1870, with original choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon, revised by Marius Petipa and Enrico Cecchetti, there is no enchanted forest with ethereal creatures and the supernatural. No sylphs, wilis, nor witches neither. But there are ghosts, if you know where to look.

Blowin’ Up

The warmth of the spring day did not hold in the Substation. Inside the capacious, high-ceilinged, former industrial space, it is never warm. It is resolutely sub-temperature. Seated for the first of three solos presented under the collective awning of “Blowin’ Up,” I sat, cleared my throat, and cleared my throat again. The cold of the building crept inside my chest with the intention to make me the spluttering, wheezing, noisy audience member. My defence of stoicism and Soothers was going to be tested.
Gracia Haby

Gracia Haby

Using an armoury of play and poetry as a lure, Gracia Haby is an artist besotted with paper. Her limited edition artists’ books, and other works hard to pin down, are often made collaboratively with fellow artist, Louise Jennison. Their work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia and state libraries throughout Australia to the Tate (UK). Gracia Haby is known to collage with words as well as paper.