WOW Women, Art & Politics Residency

Installation for the 'Women, Art & Politics' international residency at Footscray Community Arts Centre, March 2017, part of the Women of the World (WOW) Festival Melbourne – a collaboration between Footscray Community Arts Centre’s Collaborate Asia Program and Asia TOPA.

The artists: Lena Caminha (Timor Leste), Sadaf Saaz (Bangladesh), Fitriani Dwi Kurniasih (Indonesia), Heather Horrocks (AUS) Lisa Greenaway (AUS), Mallika Taneja (India), Ahmarnya Price (AUS), Leticia Caceres (Argentina/AUS) and Bigoa Chuol (Sudan/AUS). 

This soundscape was built as the two week residency progressed, in collaboration with all of the artists and in a very spontaneous and organic fashion. Voices recorded in moments snatched between conversation, visual art making and rehearsal. Songs and poems recorded late at night in The White House in Footscray, and in between noisy rain showers in The Line warehouse. For two weeks, women from many different backgrounds, ages and cultures came together and talked about politics, art, activism, men, women, everything. This soundscape is absolutely a work of distilling the spirit of that coming together. The sounds of the waves and the winds forming some of the aural landscape throughout are predominantly created from the women's voices, breathing, laughing, whispering, singing. My own poem, lung capacity, was a last-minute addition, recorded at 3am after sitting with all of these voices for hours, realising that this poem written 10 years ago is still distressingly relevant. 

This soundscape work played immediately following on from a connected collaborative performance of theatre, dance, poetry and sound (see video above) on Friday 24th March at the Wow cafe, FCAC lawn. The soundscape was then played continually on loop at the wall featuring Fitri DK and Anisa Shabrina Yunus' paste up artwork (perempuan merdeka) throughout the weekend of the festival, 24th/25th March 2017. 

Poems and voices in order:
when did we forget, Sadaf Saaz
breath, Leticia Caceres and all
conversation, all
what do you want, Mallika Taneja
poem, Sadaf
what do you want, Bigoa Chuol
poem, Mallika*
song, Sadaf
proverb, Heather Horrocks
'we shall overcome', Mallika & Lisa
poem, Bigoa
poem, Lena Caminha (music: Edan Turun)
lullaby sung by Fitri DK
poem, lung capacity, Lisa

(* Mallika reading a poem for Irom Sharmila, the Indian activist who broke her 16 year hunger strike in 2016 by licking honey. The soundscape in this section includes television footage of the bedlam of reporters surrounding her as she broke her fast.)

This residency was produced by Footscray Community Arts Centre’s Collaborate Asia Program and Asia TOPA, and the WOW: Women of the World Festival, Melbourne, 2017

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