About Amber’s Residency

During my residency I set out to develop my solo ALDI CABARET. Aldi is a pesty, beady eyed character with malleable sausage lips and a preoccupation with power. The work is audience responsive and has been performed in clubs and parties. I wanted to increase the work’s structural integrity so it could be transferred to stage as well as roaming contexts.

Just prior to my residency I was offered a performance slot at DAYTRIPPER, Rising Festival’s eight-hour festival within a festival. The gig was at the height of night in Melbourne Town Hall, a five-minute changeover sandwiched between the two headliners. I pivoted during my residency and created a shadow version of Aldi. With a black stocking over my face, black cap, hooded jumper, large pants and gloves, Aldi transformed into a dark speed blob. I used a fragment of Aldi’s movement vocabulary (extreme tension, speed and hand articulation) and structured improvisation to develop a silhouetted figure that sulked across the stage in a confusion of black against the amazing light and design of Matt Adey. During my residency I was fortunate to collaborate with Alisdair Macindoe on sound. He created a banger track featuring frenzied violin and big beats. Working with both Adey and Macindoe has been a dream of mine and I am excited by the prospect of deepening those creative relationships post Moving Forward.

I can now say that I have performed beneath the Grand Organ of the Town Hall in my slippers and that Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) said “peace” to me whilst wearing some 15-denier black control tights on my face. My Moving Forward Residency has opened a whole new work, a darker Aldi with new objects and collaborators, which I cannot wait to sink my teeth into.

– Amber McCartney

Artist Bios

Amber McCartney is a Naarm/Melbourne-based dancer and choreographer. Her practice incorporates prosthetics, mask-making, film and practical special effects to create new augmented bodies, unfamiliar to both the performer and viewer. Amber has worked extensively with Chunky Move, Lucy Guerin Inc and is a creative associate of Tasdance.

In 2020 Amber was a recipient of Solitude 1, Chunky Move’s home-based residency program and created her film Softtrap for the 2021 Activators program. In 2022 she was honoured to receive a Chloe Munro Fellowship from Lucy Guerin Inc. She won a Green Room Award for Best Performer in Prue Lang’s Project F and was a finalist for Telstra Emerging Choreographer Award. Her film Tiny Passenger was screened in dance(lens), Dancehouse.

In 2023 Amber received a John Truscott Artists Award for her solo Tiny Infinite Deaths, performed in Rising at the National Gallery of Victoria. The work originally premiered in ‘Pieces’ 2022, commissioned by Lucy Guerin Inc and The Substation. In 2023 Amber also premiered her solo ‘Baby Girl’, commissioned by Tasdance, for MONA FOMA in the Nolan Gallery, Mona. In 2024, Amber performed with Geoffrey Watson in Lucy Guerin’s new work ONE SINGLE ACTION In an Ocean of Everything, making its world premiere at Rising.