Posted on: October 9th, 2017

Melbourne based artist, Lz Dunn has been a source of much intrigue in the lead up to Liveworks. Not only is her performative experience the only offsite event for this years festival, taking place at a mystery location in Sydney’s inner west, she also can be quite illusive. This only serves to make her practice all the more fascinating as she works across performance, movement, sound and video. This diversity is often situated in tandem with other collaborators, places and participatory processes to think about ecologies, nature, queerness and ways we live. As such, we could resist asking her a few questions for our next Liveworks artist feature.

Can you tell us about your first really memorable performative experience?

I have a really early memory from when I was maybe four. And it’s more a memory of performativity than performance. I was at home with some friends who were around my age – one a little older and cooler, one a little younger and cuter. And we were with a babysitter, who was probably 17 and who I thought was totally incredible. I really wanted her attention. So I had this idea; I went and changed in to my brother’s old togs (which is Queensland for swimmers). They were orange with blue seagulls on them. I knew I was a bit too old to be wearing them and I remember being aware that I was supposed to have my chest covered. I put them on anyway and when I came running back out they all looked at me a bit confused about why I’d put togs on for no reason. And I knew that I’d gotten it wrong. It’s a small moment but it’s the first time I remember employing a definite strategy to be seen in a specific wayreally deliberately shifting how someone would notice me. 

Do you have a favourite performance work?

No I really don’t. I love different works for so many different reasons. Actually the other week I went to see a friend’s sixteen year old performing in For the One’s Who Walk Away, which was a St Martin’s Youth Theatre production. It was 60 children and young people performing in maybe 12 installations across a repurposed school site. And I loved it so much. It was directed by Nadja Kostich and the performers were totally captivating. In one room there was a solo child, maybe around 10, and they were delivering this intense monologue for a handful of adults at a time who were free to rove around the whole building. They managed that whole performative relationship by themselves – when to start, who to interact with, how to hold a really intimate and informal space with total focus. I found it so exciting to experience. It felt very potent in its entirety. I guess with young people especially the audience is particularly invested because we might feel protective and really want it to all work for them. But sometimes, like in that instance, you understand that they have it already and they’re the ones holding us. I think I’m really attracted to performance experiences like this, that draw people together around a shared investment in a shared moment. Where the process of creating the experience simultaneously creates a really willing audience energy around the event itself. A really rigorous devising process towards a specific performance offering, that’s also an expression of the community that embodies it. You can see the artwork itself and something of its ecological niche.

Much of your recent work has taken place outside of traditional performance or gallery spaces. What drew you towards making this more publicly oriented, even site-specific work?

I like the processes of framing and floating that go with making work in outdoor spaces that are shared by lots of different inhabitants and histories. I like feeling my body in relation with these other processes co-occurring. I find it really challenging and also a relief to have so many aspects of a work out of my control. It means staying open to possibilities and finding ways for the frames we set up to be flexible and porous. To be specific but determined to accommodate whatever else might enter.

I think I’m always curious about what it means for my body to be somewhere. Or anywhere. What does it mean for any particular body to be in any particular place? And then what might it mean for multiple particular bodies to share time in a particular place. I’m really interested in the interior/exterior experience of being (in and of) a body and being in relation to other bodies. 

And I’m interested in being outside–day to day I’d prefer to spend my time out instead of in.

You seem to relish the opportunity to collaborate with others when creating new work. What is it about this collaborative process that you find so attractive?

I’ve been told I’m a real slow burn. I can really sit on an idea for ages. Like everyone has moved on and I’m still walking in circles holding a speaker on my chest and deciding if it feels good. So partly, working with other people’s processes at play saves me from my own indecision or getting unnecessarily attached to something. You can’t fix on one way of thinking or doing and ideas get to morph through several brains and bodies. That’s also why collaboration can be really uncomfortable and confronting but I enjoy that too. Everyone has quite specific ways of accessing concepts and examining ideas. Aeon’s been especially great like that. For example, I’ve learned a lot from Shian about choreographic modes for testing ideas in bodies. It’s been really fascinating to see how he processes questions by inviting bodies into particular movements and embodied tasks. I wouldn’t have known how to do that on my own. 

Aeon, which you will be presenting for Liveworks, suggests interesting links between bird and queer ecology. Could you elaborate on these connections for us?

Well they started as just two ideas that I was interested in concurrently and the connection between them was me. I had made another project about birds which focused on migration. Flocking’s another behavioural phenomenon that humans have been really mystified by for a long time. And birds in general we seem to be awed or repulsed by (rats with wings). Bird flocks can be an example of some kind of momentary physicalised, collective consensus to navigate for the survival of each individual and in turn the whole group. 

I’m really interested in birds as a way to think about our capacity beyond humanness. Birds are the species we encounter more than any other. We cohabit so many places but I think lots of people tend not to notice them, or don’t give them much consideration. Once you do pay attention they open up another whole dimension of places. You can start to look for how they experience that place with you. What their lives are alongside ours. What experiences we can share and what we can never really know about another’s experience.

Queer ecology is one area of thinking that has evolved recently in response to our current situation as a human species concerned about our own survival. It questions the dominant heterosexist agendas that have driven many popular environmental and scientific perspectives–what is deemed ‘natural’ and therefore valuable to study, to protect, to advocate. 

What’s next for Lz Dunn? Is there something we can look forward to after Liveworks?

I’m in a pretty big transitional period at the moment. Over the last 12 months I’ve become a parent and day to day I’m at home with a very amazing young person. I’m interested in how my practice is shifting with parenthood. We’re planning on moving to the country next year just north of Melbourne so I’m excited about that too. I know that I tend to respond to the environment that I’m living in (I started imagining Aeon in Royal Park which is our local park now) so it’ll be fun to see what comes up. Of course there are ideas rolling around in my head but I’m just letting them hover around for a while to see where they land. I don’t really know what’s next. It’s good. 



Posted on: October 9th, 2017

Throughout Liveworks Festival explore new work by local and interstate artists in the exhibition The Future Leaks Out.

Responding to a sense of living on borrowed time, this exhibition explores visions of potential futures from artists investigating excess, environmental degradation, and strategies for adaptation and survival. The artists each look to the present as a transitional time where new and empathic ways of engaging with the world are emerging, but dystopia and destruction appear more and more likely.

The works included in this exhibition make the soft-horror of this situation bodily and immediate. Audiences are invited to reimagine the gestures of plants, fire insults at the gross excesses of capitalism, and deeply inhale the atomised distress excreted by the natural world.


Throughout the exhibition there will be a free program of performances that will adapt and morph the installations.


6 – 8pm | 19, 20, 21, 25, 27, 28, 29 October

In this live occupation of her installation Angela Goh will use text, online commentary, found footage and movement to create experimental vignettes that explore the themes of excess, information, power relations and animal instincts that underpin Kickback Fire.


8.30pm, 25 Oct | 8pm, 27 Oct | 8.30pm, 28 Oct | 8pm, 29 Oct

‘Nutational movement’ is a space-sweeping gesture performed by seedlings as they search for structural support. This performance will use these movements as an improvisational score for movement by Eugene Choi, music by Angela Garrick and a text by Tully Arnot that explores plant consciousness.



Posted on: October 9th, 2017


Justin Shoulder dropped by Carriageworks recently to talk about his past, practice and upcoming performance. Delving into his formative years within Sydney’s queer performance scene, this Liveworks Artist Feature offers real insight into what drives Justin’s practice whilst exploring his recent conceptual interests. Learn more about Justin’s Liveworks performance, Carrion, as we discuss hypothetical futures embodied by potential amalgams of man & machine.



Posted on: October 3rd, 2017


This was the question we asked our incredible Katie Winten in anticipation of Liveworks 2017 and she is definitely someone worth listening to.

Aside from being an outstanding program coordinator for Performance Space, Katie is eternally in the know about all things artistic in Sydney. A co-founder of Women in The Arts, a Sydney-based collective addressing gender inequality and exclusionary practices in the Australian arts landscape, she also co-presents Agenda on FBi Radio, a weekly talk show covering art, politics, news and trash from a feminist perspective. Not to mention she’s a current co-director at Firstdraft Gallery and as well an aspiring drummer . . . so take these cues from Sydney’s cultural heartbeat.

Performances I’m excited to see and why;

  1. CORPONOMY – Eisa Jocson

I’m so excited to see this performance, mainly because I watch this Peaches video on a weekly basis, which features Eisa’s Macho Dancing. The way Eisa moves her body is entrancing, and her work is so physically and conceptually rigorous, poignantly articulating nuanced and complex understandings of gender, race and sexuality.

  1. CARRION – Justin Shoulder

I’m completely enamoured with Justin’s work. He’s such an integral part of Sydney’s queer party scene, and I’m excited to see how his club performances translate to an hour-long theatre show. Carrion speaks strongly of the earth’s decay, it’s a beautiful and dark representation of our current political and environmental cataclysm while also specifically referencing queer and ancestral mythologies. AND the incredible Melbourne-based electronic musician, Corin, is working on the sound!

  1. AEON – Lz Dunn

Audiences are given a starting location for AEON and not much more information – their trust is placed in the hands of the performers. I can’t give much away about this work, so I’ll just say that the combination of off-site walking, Lawrence English’s soundscape, and the subtle ways in which humans mimic patterns of bird flocking, has me very intrigued to see how it all comes together.

  1. RHETORICAL CHORUS – Agatha Gothe-Snape

To me, this work subtly questions the proverbial white-male-genius-artist. Agatha plays with the production and dissemination of artistic knowledge distributed by conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner, poetically expressing what happens when that knowledge is interpreted through different bodies. There are so many incredible artists, performers, choreographers and musicians involved in this work!


Posted on: September 29th, 2017


After incredibly successful seasons in Melbourne and Hobart, the epic durational performance The Second Woman comes to Liveworks on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st of October!

Named as one of Guardian Australia’s “10 most groundbreaking shows by women” in 2016, The Second Woman combines cinema and live performance for an enthralling contemporary art experience.

The creative team are inviting a diverse selection of people who identify as male to participate in the upcoming season. With nearly 100 spots available, be sure to pass this onto anyone you think might be interested!



Posted on: September 28th, 2017

Artists, we love you!

You’re important to us and we want you to be able to experience as many works at Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art as possible. To assist in your art consumption we’re giving you access to some sweet savings on tickets.

Our artist discount code gives you access to up to five shows at $20! With amazing savings on full priced tickets, this is your chance to have an art-high and feast on experimental experiences.

Discover more about the artist discount code by clicking the button below.



Posted on: September 22nd, 2017


Next up for our Liveworks artist features is local legend, Agatha Gothe-Snape. Working across many forms, her practice has developed to encompass dance, works on paper, collaboratively produced objects, PowerPoint slide presentations as well as improvised and procedural performances. Agatha will be drawing on all of this diversity for her ambitious Liveworks performance, Rhetorical Chorus. Inspired by a chance encounter with the legendary American conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner, this eagerly awaited work has evolved into a multifaceted exploration of the ways in which knowledge is produced, circulated and consumed. We were eager to catch up with Agatha and learn more about this much anticipated work.



Posted on: September 20th, 2017

At Performance Space we have championed queer artists for over 30 years, and we believe in equal rights for humans of all genders, sexualities, backgrounds and races.

We stand with our gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex  community: the staff, artists, board members, audiences, volunteers, partners and community that make our organisation what it is, and we extend our deepest respect and gratitude for everything you bring to our culture at large.

Don’t forget to vote and make your voice heard in the marriage equality postal survey as it arrives in your mailbox this month. And, as the debate roils and ricochets across our media and our screens, take care and look out for each other. We’ll be looking out for you!

With love,

Jeff Khan and the PSpace family x


Posted on: September 15th, 2017


Kicking off our Liveworks artist features is New Zealand based practitioner, Mark Harvey. Drawing from a background in dance and visual arts, Mark’s conceptually driven performances focus on the body as a medium for social and political dialogue. Often merging serious concepts with a sense of deadpan humour, Mark’s Helping Hand performance for Liveworks should be an intimately challenging affair. In anticipation of the festival, we were curious to catch up with Mark but he unfortunately finds himself in Finland right now so kindly sent through these responses instead.


1 – Can you tell us about your first really memorable performative experience?

For me there were two really memorable early experiences. One was when at the start of highschool in the mid 80’s I conceived, directed and co-performed with half my class a live stage response to the Young One’s version of Living Dole, which razzed up the whole school with its punk and anarchistic overtones. No one thought we could do it, and for me I feel I discovered something interesting for me about live performance that attempts to question the status quo.

The other time was when I started dance training at 19 and completely froze on stage during a ballet performance – the power of the potentiality of vulnerability and risk of failure that served to question dominant norms really stood out to me.


2 – Do you have a favourite performance work?

I don’t have one favourite work but I am a fan of many of Vito Acconci’s works from the early 70’s. The sense of simplistic actions along with psycho-social material he tested has always appealed to me.


3 – Would you agree that a lot of your work focuses on the body as a medium for political and social dialogue? If so, where do you think this stemmed from?

Yes I believe that’s the case for me. It comes from me growing up in a family with profoundly deaf parents, and, in addition to me always being physically active with growing up with doing work for no pay in my father’s small construction business, playing sport such as rugby at age 4 and then giving up on all of that macho stuff and training in contemporary dance at age 19 and then doing it professionally for a few years before turning to the dark side of art.


4 – A sense of deadpan comedy seems to be ever present within your performances. What is the importance of humour within you work?

For me I never intend to make my work funny for the sake of it. This way I think if people will find something funny then it might just be funnier for them. If they don’t find it funny then there’s less risk of not only it being found problematic because its jokes don’t work but also the work conceptually falling over. Where humour can eventuate for me there’s definitely an influence of my construction site and deaf culture origins, not to mention I guess an affiliation with punk related pop culture of decades gone by. (I also cherish awkward and vulnerable moments.)


5 – The narrowing and polarisation of individual views in contemporary society is a growing concern that your work for this year’s festival seems to address. Is this concept of exposing participants to differing political perspectives through performance partly in response today’s escalating divisions?

Absolutely. As I answer this there is about to be an election in my own country and the public discourses around it are more volatile than ever. Also, for me I don’t see people discussing their differences out in the open very much – so this is a chance for me to see what can happen if I can engage them on these kinds of levels.


If you’re willing to divulge, how do you envisage this taking place?

I will be setting up physical provocations that invite chatter and banter with punters. A goal of mine is to help people feel like they can do this with me if they are up to it. For me, the conversations I have with people is the most important part of my work, along with the physical challenges I often intentionally put myself through.


6 – Do you think people will be more understanding of opposing ideals when placed in these atypical situations?

That’s a good question. I’m expecting people to feel like they are being listened to and I’ve found that when this is achieved they tend to be more willing to take in other perspectives.

Choreographic Exploration Residency – Taree Sansbury

Posted on: May 26th, 2017

This July Performance Space and Critical Path will join forces to support a new dance residency project. Taree Sansbury will be hosted by our partner organisations, Creative Practice Lab, School of the Arts and Media, UNSW and Campbelltown Arts Centre to develop her new performance work mi:wi. 

Taree will use this residency to investigate the simplicity and implications of physically weaving materials, and what is revealed from the practice of a tradition passed on through thousands of years to this present day, as well as how these temporalities might be embodied. The work explores mi:wi as a concept; a word meaning ‘innards’ or ‘an inner spirit’ passed down through mothers since the time of creation. Her work will intertwine contemporary Indigenous dance techniques and the traditional practice of weaving from the Ngarrindjeri people of South Australia. Taree will develop choreographic material for three performers that brings together text, video, and movement. Through this work Taree hope to find new ways of thinking about Aboriginal dance.



Taree Sansbury is an emerging freelance artist and NAISDA Dance College graduate. She is a proud Kaurna, Narungga and Ngarrindjeri woman from South Australia. In her short time as a freelance artist Taree has worked with some of Sydney’s highly acclaimed independent makers such as Vicki Van Hout Long Grass, Victoria Hunt Tangi Wai and Thomas E. S. Kelly [MIS]CONCEIVE and has also worked with companies such as Force Majeure and Branch Nebula. More recently Taree performed in Martin Del Amo’s latest work Champions in the 2017 Sydney Festival.


Taree Sansbury is developing a dance theatre work: mi:wi. It has been commissioned by Next Wave as part of their Kickstart Helix program. This development is supported by Performance Space with the Creative Practice Lab, School of the Arts and Media, UNSW, and Critical Path with Campbelltown Arts Centre.