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Re:membering - an exploration of the cactus in our bones

9 Sep 2019

Re:membering – an exploration of the cactus in our bones

Re:membering,  one of the 12 projects that are receiving funding and support from our Creative Development Program, is a physical theatre work utilising aerial performance and an experimental grand piano score.

Emerging Gold Coast performing artist sisters Mindy and Lowana Davies work together under the moniker Umwelt Collective. This work is the culmination of a series of creative developments, questions, conversations and reflections over the past five years that the sisters have been working and moving together.

They told us:  ‘Re:membering is a performative exploration of the cactus in our bones. A journey back in time through transgenerational trauma and an intimate study of how we cope with the ramifications of our histories and find hope in the present. A story of relationships and how to bring your past into the present, in this work we look at the cactus as a metaphor for everything that has grown within you as a result of ancestry, family histories, relationships, trauma in your life and in the lives of the women who have come before you. Utilising installation, physical theatre, dance and circus we unpack a universal story of unconditional love explored through our relationship as siblings.’

In the work the sisters explore their past, present and future relationships through physical theatre, dance and contemporary circus accompanied by a live sound score by emerging composer Tom Lyons.

As artists that utilise the body and sound as a medium for expression, the performers bring their innermost feelings to the surface through this performance.

‘Using your body as a medium of expression presents both mental and physical challenges. It is vital for us to focus on the idea and emotional state that we want to convey to audiences. Self critique can rear it’s head and the challenge is to maintain a healthy relationship with the body as a conduit for ideas, rather than a core part of identity. Working with the body also carries physical limitations, the exhaustion, bruising, and physical limits can mean resting when you want to keep going, working in and around injuries or changing choreography. Our practice is also tied closely to the lifestyle choice of self care and regular training which requires the every-day kind of motivation. The body can shift and change a lot, so it is important to accept our bodies as they are and stay grounded in the process,’ they said.

‘This work started development in 2018 with a residency at The Farm in Miami, supported by a RADF grant. During our HOTA creative development period we will be bringing illumination artist Laura Jade in to collaborate with us on the lighting aspect of the work. This will further develop the narrative of the piece. The other key part we are working on during this residency is the sound score, collaborator and composer Tom Lyons will be utilising the grand piano to add new sound elements, experimenting with prepared piano techniques to reinvent sound score, ‘ they continued.

The development of this work will result in an industry showing mid September with a view to gaining exposure, feedback and to identify possible future outcomes for this work. The sisters hope to use the residency and showing to bring the piece to a state of completion, so that they can share the work at festivals and venues locally, nationally and overseas.


This project has been supported by HOTA Home of Arts and City of Gold Coast through HOTA’s Creative Development Program.

The work is also supported by The Gold City Council Regional Arts Development Fund, GUSH circus and the Farm Company.

The Regional Arts Development Fund is a partnership between the Queensland Government and the City of Gold Coast Council to support local arts and Culture in Regional Queensland.


Image credit: Aaron Chapman

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