About Amanda’s LGI Residency

This LGI residency was Amanda’s second development of a new work, Body Acousmonium.

The project is a collaboration with sound artist, Gillian Lever and is supported by producer, Chelsea Byrne.

Body Acousmonium is an improvised sound art and dance dialogue. It’s a work about maintaining presence and explores creative identity beyond physical boundaries in a shared space.

Here’s what Amanda said of the work on the eve of beginning her residency:

“This work aims to put sound and dancer on an equal footing on the stage, with speakers in the midst of the performance space.

The work involves live, improvised diffusion of sound alongside improvised dance in order to ask the question “how does one hold their ground within shared creative space?”, and explores the push and pull of power relations between two coexisting bodies and voices.”

Scroll down to read Amanda’s process notes - offering insights from the studio while in residence.

About Amanda and her collaborators

Amanda Lever:

Amanda graduated from the University of Melbourne (VCA) with Bachelor of Dance (2009), Post-Graduate Diploma in Performance Creation (2012), and Masters in Choreography (2013) and was awarded the VCA Arts Victoria Creative Scholarship for Outstanding Graduate.

She has previously performed for Tasdance (2009), Sela Kiek-Callan (2010-2011), Elanor Webber (2013-14) and Delta Project (2014 and 2016).

In 2015, with the support of Kingston Arts Centre and Conduits Arts Initiative, she successfully launched her first choreographic work, Hypnagogia, in collaboration with visual artist Soma Garner. In 2017, she was commissioned to choreograph for The Space’s full-time Dance graduate show. Amanda has an ongoing collaborative, experimental performance practice with Sound Artist, Gillian Lever, which began in 2013.

She has also collaborated with Anna Seymour, Melbourne-based Deaf dancer on Distraction Society, an ongoing new dance project developed for Melbourne Fringe Festival 2016. This work was invited to perform in the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival in August 2017.

Through her work with Delta Project and Anna Seymour, Amanda has become interested in making work that is inclusive, creating work through multiple perspectives. She is interested in exploring how dance performance can effect audiences and the affects movement based studies can have in the subconscious comprehension of the reality that surrounds us.

Developing a new perspective and appreciation for the relationship between sound, movement and expression is the next step forward in expanding her collaborative practice.

Gillian Lever

Gillian is a sound artist whose interests include sound and spatiality, memory, and the use of objects and bodies as translators and filters for the sensory experience of sound.

She recently completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Sound) with Distinction at RMIT. Gillian has played live in UK and Australian venues, and has composed music for live theatre, including writing and performing the live score for Watson’s Jhonsey award winning show Once Were Planets in the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and for their 2017 Malthouse run of the Moosehead-award winning show Go To Hell.

She has also composed sound for works by choreographers Amanda Lever (Dasein, 2013; Hypnagogia, 2015), Anna Seymour (Distraction Society, 2016) and Chelsea Byrne (Human Sized Box, 2015).

About Out of Time Residencies

Out of Time residencies take place during evenings and weekends. This format offers choreographers more flexibility in their schedule as well as optimising the use of these stunning studio spaces.

For more information on LGI’s residency program and the other 2018 Artists-in-Residence, please visit our Residency page.

Process Notes

These additional notes were written during Amanda’s residency. They offer a valuable insight into the work as it develops:

“Because we are exploring the spatial aspects of sound there’s been a lot more contact and discussion in the studio. It’s a new way of collaborating for us because we’re not staying apart in our own typical realms of experience, we’re starting to bleed what it is for Gillian as a sound artist to choreograph and move through space, and what it is for me to move the sound and create sound. There’s a lot more crossover.

We’re really trying to come back to the idea of how the sound is occupying and moving through space, and look at the body as both creator and vehicle for the sound. The sound is developed using the voice and body as base materials and is digitally processed, manipulated and diffused through the space live. The movement of the sound is initiated and modulated by either of us (Gillian or Amanda), each taking or following the lead at different times during the practice.

We’ve formed a much more concrete structure in how we approach each other and approach the sound in the space and the space itself. It’s not just Gillian moving the sound around the space through speakers anymore, it’s both of us moving the speakers so that both of our bodies are in there as well as the speakers. This is allowing the process of dancing and moving to happen more realistically (organically?) and gradually so that you can see where the movement is comes from in relation to the sound and the space.

We’re seeking to find a clearer arc for an audience to access what we are trying to do - have the body become an amplifier of the sound and vibrations.”

Amanda Lever and collaborators - 10 December 2018

Reflections post-residency

“Body Accousmonium has finished its second development, culminating with a showing that provided feedback towards further development and a future performance. Moving forward we aim to amalgamate the most successful and pertinent elements of the two developments.

The original aim of Body Accousmonium was to approach the sound in a new way. The movement derived from the physics aspects of sound and movement direction decided from spatiality of sound. Though we were successful in creating a way of approaching movement that visualised the qualities of sound there was too much of an inequality in the making of the structure and content of the work. We wanted it to be more collaborative and a shared work.

This residency provided an opportunity to move beyond the first aims of the project, investigating the sounds in the work and how they translated into movement and gesture, and more towards the secondary, but what has now become a more prominent aim, the co-existence of, and dialogue between two artistic worlds in the performance space, one occupied by the body and one occupied by sound.

Amanda too could dictate where the sound moved or stopped. We also developed the spatial movement of the sound with roving speakers. We developed some signposts of what action was creating what effect.

Whereas in previous developments, the focus was on these two spaces, occupied by a performer each, were seen in relation to and in reflection of each other, in this residency Amanda and I worked with more of a shared aim. We were both performers of sound, working together to move and shape the sound throughout the performance space, each with our own approach and set of tools. Amanda too could dictate where the sound moved or stopped. We also developed the spatial movement of the sound with roving speakers. We developed some signposts of what action was creating what effect.

The space was a perfect size and shape to workshop these ideas. The sound world we were working with was able to be effectively heard as an entity within the space. However, the setup for any future performance will need to be quite different to how this development ended up. We are hoping for more speakers and a setup that allows for audience members to be within the sound space alongside the performers.

We are struggling with the perception of Gillian as sound artist as a controller of Amanda, like a puppet master; a pusher of buttons, puller of strings. We need to employ strategies to shift this perception so that it is clear that we are sharing the process of moving sound through space. We are experiencing that movement and also shaping it, together and separately, but neither with more control than the other.

For the showing we took on some of Lucy’s simple suggestions from when she observed a rehearsal. This helped with bringing Gillian into the space but we want to focus more in the future on bringing the audience experience closer and deviating from the “puppeteer” effect.

We aim to have a further development period followed by an initial performance in Melbourne Fringe Festival 2019.”

Amanda Lever and collaborators - January 2019

Images: Amanda Lever and Shelley Meara