On the back of a sold out premiere at Liveworks 2018 last night, we caught up with Branch Nebula and got some insight into their new show High Performance Packing Tape and why they are interested in making art outside of elite spaces.
What prompted you to produce a performance work that tests the strength of cheap household materials?
It feels good to explore precarious situations in the comfort of the everyday – without having to go out into the wild in search of adventures. Wondering when something will break is always interesting.
Among other terrifying scenarios throughout the show Lee will be suspended upside down with his whole body supported by flimsy packing tape. How have you physically prepared for the performance?
Nothing can really prepare me for what I do in the show except doing the thing. The things in the performance are not things I would feel like doing regularly.
What questions about safety and danger are you attempting to probe with this work?
If you think about what the questions are about safety and danger and how we prioritise safety over danger from a very young age, it takes so much of the experimentation out of play and the ability to develop skills to deal with dangerous situations. These priorities are largely based on morality and control, which we love to challenge of course.
High Performance Packing Tape will be your first Sydney premiere in three years. What recent works have led you to this point and how does HPPT fit into your wider practice?
I’d have to look through old grant applications to answer this one – LOL
Branch Nebula is renowned for integrating street performance, sport and work into contemporary performance. What motivated you to present your work in these formats?
Let’s not call it “street performance”, we make work with street-styles: parkour, bmx, and skating. Though I’m not sure it’s performance – as so much is about the sensation, and experience of doing it – not so much about look at me. Some people think of these as sport, but we think of them as art. We are interested in site-based work and public space, and making art outside of elite spaces like cultural institutions. Street-style artists are very advanced in their exploration of the architecture around them, and how they move through public space, so it was a logical choice to collaborate.