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Liesel Zink, artist in residence

28 Sep 2020

Liesel Zink, artist in residence

Brisbane based choreographer Liesel Zink is currently in residence at HOTA developing a new work, Us and All of This, with producing support from Performing Lines, Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Queensland, and in-kind support from us.

Us and All of This will be a large-scale public work that will eventually see 100 dancers and non-dancers exploring ideas of global environmental challenges and uncertainties. Liesel spent an initial two weeks working on this in Melbourne in 2019, thanks to Arts Centre Melbourne.

Liesel will be working with a range of collaborators over the next two weeks, working both outdoors around the Precinct and in our Theatre 2.

We managed to grab a few minutes with Liesel as she was preparing for this residency:

Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your practice?  

LZ – I’m an independent choreographer and socially engaged artist inspired by the power of collective bodies in public space. I love creating dance and sound works in public space, seeing it as a great opportunity to share contemporary dance with new audiences as well as open up meaningful conversations around current issues in our society. I have developed and presented work around Australia, Asia and Eastern Europe often collaborating with local artists. And it is in collaborating with others that brings me the most joy…using the arts to connect with and learn from people from different backgrounds, cultures and generations…what a gift.

Q. What inspired Us and All of This and what themes do you think you will explore in the work? 

LZ – The project actually started from a place of despair – how do we grapple with the overwhelming challenges of our time; be it climate change or the continually unfolding impact of a global pandemic. I don’t think it’s uncommon to feel despair when we look at some of the challenges we face, but it can also be a really challenging place to sit. As Donna Harroway says ‘another world is not only urgently needed, it is possible, but not if we are ensorcelled in despair, cynicism or optimism..’. Which has brought me to the power of assembly and the power of collectivity.

In a time when societal structures of support are failing us, what is it for us to come together, to sit in the discomfort of our time, to genuinely see each other, listen to each other, acknowledge our commonalities and celebrate our diversities, to recognise that we are not alone but in fact part of something larger and incredibly magical. Here I draw a lot from nature, how many individual parts work together to make a larger whole….I think humans can learn a lot from this.

Through bringing people together, Us and All of This is a gentle and loving resistance against despair; a resistance against the rapid pace of capitalism; a resistance against larger societal structures that have failed us to date; it is a radical act of togetherness that invites participants and audience into a reflective space of collective resilience building.

Q. Who will you be collaborating with on this work? And why did you want to work with these people? 

LZ – I’ll be working closely with sound artist Lawrence English, who I’ve admired for a long time. His attention to sound and its ability to transform our experience of space is really powerful and I’m excited to jump into the unknown with him. I’m also collaborating with Lead Artists Leah Shelton, Richard Causer, Hsin-Ju Ely AND fourteen other artists (majority Gold Coast based) working across dance, theatre and areas of mental health.  Although I’ve worked on the coast in my capacity as a provocateur and mentor, this will mark the first of my own creative developments on the coast. So I wanted to use it as an opportunity to share space with some of the many incredible artists working on the coast – I’m really looking forward to having a nourishing artistic exchange with them throughout this process.

Q. What are your future hopes for this work? 

LZ – To invite hundreds of people to take part and perform! To see people of all ages, backgrounds and experiences to come together in the shared experience of this work.

We can’t wait to see this work!

Liesel is offering a free workshop between 10am-12pm on Saturday 3 October as part of her residency. It’s open to all ages and experience levels and is free – you can read more and register here.

 

Us and All of This is produced by Performing Lines. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body and supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.