About Ashleigh’s Residency

“During this Moving Forward residency I will continue to develop a durational installation, From Infancy.

The work is concerned with terraforming - the transformation of hostile environments. It is speculation, scale, modification, alteration. It is instability, the instability of structure and the impact the body can have in breaking down these structures. It is an experiment in gentle but persistent acts which can lead to great transformation - spatial, emotional, physical.

‘The body as a place of resistance.
We learn to stand
from infancy.’

For this residency I will work with emerging artist Erin O’Rourke, who was an original collaborator on the project during its seed residency at the Judith Wright Arts Centre (Meanjin) in July 2021. Looking toward more ecological ways of working, I intend to create an improvisational score that exists inside this landscape which can be interpreted by different collaborators across the lifespan of the work.

I will continue to experiment with layering architectural concepts and philosophies into the body, looking at the innate conflict between our natural and built environments and how the body is situated in this conflict. This work expands my object-based practice, experimenting with plastic PVC columns to create a phallic forest which is gently but persistently transformed across the installation. Female presenting bodies rest amongst the columns, co-existing with the structures, our forms magnifying their phallic existence.

From Infancy will undergo further development in 2022 in Mparntwe/Alice Springs, supported by Red Hot Arts Central Australia.

After three attempts at this residency, all postponed due to pandemic border restrictions, it is a delight to finally be creating work at WXYZ Studios.”

– Ashleigh Musk

About Ashleigh Musk

Ashleigh Musk (she/her) is a dancer, choreographer, dramaturg and community arts facilitator based on unceded Arrernte Country in the Northern Territory. She uses the body as the central tool for creation, alongside text, object and space, creating works that balance darkness and fear with light, hope and reflection.

Ashleigh has recently worked with artists and companies including Marrugeku, Jenni Large, Liesel Zink, Daniele Constance and GUTS Dance / Central Australia. Her work Fertile Ground, co-created with Michael Smith, was presented at Metro Arts (Meanjin), spring.loaded.dance (Mparntwe) and Mona Foma 2022 (lutruwita). In 2021, she was a recipient of the First Night Showcase Program at Judith Wright Arts Centre, and Supercell’s The Makers Program, developing new works SUB (in partnership with GUTS Dance, Darwin Festival and Tasdance) and From Infancy.


About Erin O’Rourke

Erin O’Rourke (she/her) is a Naarm/Melbourne-based contemporary dance practitioner and researcher. She spent 2021 undertaking Honours Research at the Victorian College of the Arts (University of Melbourne) finishing with First Class Honours. Erin’s recent research focused on the multiplicity of the dancer as they dismantle and challenge their moving identity in working with numerous artists. She is invested in giving the dancer a voice, privileging the dancer’s value in and of itself.

Erin has worked with artists around Melbourne including Jenni Large, Harrison Hall, and Jessi Lewis. Since graduating in 2019, Erin has engaged widely with the independent scene in Brisbane and surrounds, working on numerous projects within dance film, site specific and performance realms with artists including Claire Marshall, Liesel Zink, Jenni Large, Ashleigh Musk, Bella Hood, Prying Eye Productions, Melissa Lanham (LJ Projects), Courtney Scheu, Phluxus2 Dance Collective and Supercell: Festival of Contemporary Dance, as well as understudying for Australasian Dance Collective’s season of Aftermath.