Wet Theory

Megan Garrett-Jones

Thursday 29 April, 2010, 10am-12pm

Bon Marche Studio (UTS Bldg.3, Lvl.1, Rm. 105)

This proposal is for a performance work-in-progress showing. The work, ‘Wet Theory’ (working title), currently being developed deals with notions of change and fluidity, and in particular people’s perceptions of change within their environment. For myself, I remember fighting detrimental change to the coastal environment in which I grew up, protesting housing developments on the last few undeveloped “green corridors” on the area’s beaches. Nowadays, owners of beach side properties such as these are contemplating their course of action in light of rising sea levels.

I am currently in the process of making trips to my old home (the South Coast) to document my personal impression of change, and also to locations in which rising sea levels are changing the geography of the area. Individual stories and ‘field trips’ will be recorded and find their first presentation at this showing. These will later provide material for and inform the direction of the work.

A theoretical influence on this project is ‘wet theory’ which I came across in an exhibition/mapping project called Soak  (Mathur/da Cunha, 2009) at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai. Here the notion of a “wet theory” is used to draw an analogy between experiencing the geography of Mumbai as changeable or “fluid” (in part because of a loss of distinction between land and water that occurs nearly every monsoon season), and the necessity of approaching all knowledge and thinking as changeable and fluid. For instance, how do architects, planners and residents design and inhabit a city in a way that can “soak up” the changing conditions year after year? But also, how can we think about things in a way that can ‘soak’ up a multitude of changes and experiences.

This showing will take on a lecture-performance style. In the spirit of an academic presentation, I will define ‘the field’ in which this work may sit, reviewing a body of related art works and theoretical ideas particularly related to mapping. I will look at the current trends of art as a way to understand our relationship with locality, the palimpsetic nature of maps, and the view of location as a lived and fluid experience.

Sections of the work presented will explore innovative forms that manifest a sense of fluidity. This will include letting a multitude of voices speak through documentation or critical input. It will also involve shifting between forms, e.g. research and issue-based discourse and more ‘entertaining’ performance styles. Still in the development stage, the showing will be a valuable platform to experiment with material and receive feedback. Audiences will receive an insight into performance making processes and be invited to input their own related views and experiences.

Megan Garrett-Jones is an emerging performance maker and occasional writer. She has a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Performance from University of Wollongong and Honours in Performance Studies from the University of Sydney. Megan has explored her interest in inter-disciplinary art practice largely within the collaboration Tiger Two Times, whose work ‘Nature League’ (Melbourne Fringe Festival ‘Hub’, 2009, Tiny Stadiums 2010) draws together elements of installation, sound art and performance. Megan has also worked as a performer and deviser with the group Team Mess and in group and solo works shown at Cab Sav, NightTimes, Quarterbred, and Word in Hand. In 2009 Megan cofounded Bake Sale for Art, an artist run organisation committed to the development of opportunities and support for young and emerging artists. She has had writing published in Realtime + Onscreen and Realtime Online, and is a regular contributor on the Bake Sale for Art blog.

Performance, 20min.

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