Palimpsest Performance #1, Woodford Academy

January 2015

statement from the performing artists

we worked collaboratively on this performance, evolving intuitive scenes that developed from the scant histories we had heard and the feelings the rooms gave us. We used what was there, added elements and props, and our bodies. WeiZen’s spirit-creature re-mythologised in the courtyard, Alan’s male plank-carrying figure and man in the library are examples of a kind of suspended presence, caught in a split time-place continuum. Our interaction is also inter-cultural, each of us bringing our respective (Chinese and Jewish) mythology into play. As artist-performers we “stand in” for what is absent.
approaching this work as both a site specific investigation and as a psycho-historical exercise, we attempted to tune into and performatively and energetically channel the presences and atmospheres of the building. We wanted to animate the entire site with multiple scenes, unconnected in any narrative sense. We developed six scenes, leading the audience through all the rooms and the courtyard, but always offering multiple options for viewing, interpretation and placement. As performers we became characters, installation artists, sound artists, physical presences and ghostly auras that animated and augmented the historical milieu of the Academy.

Curated by Sarah Breen Lovett, ‘Palimpsest Performances’ is a series that explores contemporary art performance, as a way of simultaneously drawing forth the past and layering present interpretations of the unique architecture of the Woodford Academy.

Palimpsest Performance #1 by WeiZen Ho and Alan Schacher is a roving performance, where the viewer will explore the architecture of the Woodford Academy, and stumble upon presences; discovering scenes and sounds emerging out of corners and crannies.

WeiZen Ho is a deviser of performances that explores voice and body relationships as a way of communing with the land and its histories. Alan Schacher is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice traverses dance, live art/performance art, and installation. This project is supported by The Blue Mountains City of The Arts Trust Cultural Grants Program 2014. For more information see the National Trust Web-link.

All photos taken by David Brazil.