Posts Tagged ‘Floating Land


The DAM(N) Project premieres at Floating Land 2013


The DAM(N) Project Premieres at Floating Land Closing Ceremony


Remember we went to the Encounters Festival at the Con to see Leah Barclay’s DAM(N) Project presentation? Poppy came away a little frightened (the music was so eerie at times), Sam came away angry (the injustice had him furious), and I was incredibly moved by an enormous story told simply and beautifully through evocative sound and images. I know, you were busy, and you missed it! But now you can see the LIVE PERFORMANCE TOMORROW NIGHT AT BOREEN POINT FOLLOWING FLOATING LAND’S CLOSING CEREMONY.



On Saturday June 8th The DAM(N) project will present their first major live performance in Australia – a site-specific work combining projections, dance and soundscapes in collaboration with Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, India’s leading contemporary dance company. The work features as part of the 2013 Floating Land Festival, and will be presented on the Main Beach at Boreen Point after the Closing Ceremony this Saturday night.


Two of Attakkalari’s most accomplished dancers Ronita Mookerji and Sylvester Mardi have working in Australia for the last two weeks intensely developing this site-specific project for Floating Land 2013. This will be the first time Ronita and Sylvester perform in Australia.



The DAM(N) Project is a large-scale interdisciplinary arts project that connects Australian and Indian communities around the common concern of global water security. The project was conceived and developed by Sydney based producer/director Jehan Kanga, Queensland based composer Leah Barclay and S. Shakthidharan, the director of CuriousWorks.

DAM(N) delves into the heart of the Narmada Valley, working directly with remote communities in central North India, displaced by large-scale dams securing hydropower for Indian cities. Water scarcity is a significant issue for both Australia and India and the issue of controlling and managing hydrological systems is extremely politicised in both countries. The construction of large dams on the River Narmada in India and its impact on over 30 million of people living in the river valley has become one of the most important social issues in contemporary India.

IMG_2567-1024x682Ultimately, the DAM(N) project is designed to connect global communities around the common concern of global water security and reveal the ramifications of damming rivers that hold cultural and spiritual significance for indigenous communities world-wide.


This first stage of The DAM(N) Project highlights the validity of community engagement, social activism and digital technology in environmentally engaged interdisciplinary art practice. While the initial stage is focused on the relationship between Australian and India, the long-term vision for The DAM(N) Project expands into other communities and cultures worldwide.


The performance tomorrow night presents a rare opportunity to see a very intimate work by some of Australia’s and India’s best young artists.


The performance runs for 45 minutes at the Main Beach at Boreen Point from 7-7:45pm on Saturday June 8 2013



The Dam(n) Project

The Dam(n) Project


Queensland Conservatorium Ian Hanger Recital Hall

Thursday 16th May 2013

Encounters: India 


ENCOUNTER (noun), a meeting, exchange, a brush or rendezvous, confrontation

For seven days in May 2013, from early morning until midnight, the South Bank precinct will be transformed into a bustling parade of contemporary India. At the Nepalese Pavilion, a lone sitar player greets the dawn; an Indian Bazaar evokes the colours and fragrances of a Delhi market on the Forecourt; throughout the parklands and streets, bursts of Bollywood recharge the mind’s battery; the Queensland Conservatorium’s many spaces echo to myriad musical styles from more than 50 concerts and masterclasses.

The Dam(n) Project

The DAM(N) Project is a large-scale interdisciplinary arts project that connects Australian and Indian communities around a common concern: water security. It presents the lives of remote communities in the Narmada Valley of North India, displaced by large-scale dam development securing hydropower for Indian cities. The construction of large dams on the River Narmada in India and its impact on millions of people living in the river valley has become one of the most important social issues in contemporary India.


The project was conceived by Jehan Kanga and developed in collaboration with Leah Barclay and Shakthi Sivanathan, all from Australia. Dancers Meghna Nambiar and Sylvester Mardi from Attakalari in India have joined this group.



Is this India’s greatest planned environmental disaster?


The controversy over large dams on the River Narmada has come to symbolise the struggle for a just and equitable society in India. The story is long and complicated and will take a long time to tell. In brief, the Government’s plan is to build 30 large, 135 medium and 3000 small dams to harness the waters of the Narmada and its tributaries. The proponents of the dam claim that this plan would provide large amounts of water and electricity, which are desperately required for the purposes of development.


The Dam(n) Project spans two continents and cultures to deliver a powerful message about the clash between a government and its people. Not all its people, just The Untouchables, the lowest of the low; the millions who live in the Narmada Valley region in North India. The Narmada River is India’s fifth largest (and largest west flowing) river, known as the “Life Line” of Madhya Pradesh.


On full development, the Narmada has a potential of irrigating over 6 million ha (15 million acres) of land along with a capacity to generate about 3,000 Mega Watt of hydroelectric power.


When I checked out the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) website, I tried to determine what they intend to do in order to achieve the following objectives, which are listed on their page:


  • to acquire and manage land in the Narmada Valley for the purpose of carrying out engineering works, to provide for human resettlements and the needs for irrigation, flood control and navigation;
  • to shoulder responsibility of human resettlement and rehabilitation in respect of projects in the Narmada Valley, to establish towns and villages and to take all necessary measures to ensure planned settlement and rehabilitation;
  • to advise for the proper conservation and development of forests, wildlife and fisheries in the Narmada Valley.


But with regard to Rehabilitation & Resettlement…


The page cannot be found 


The Dam(n) ProjectThe Dam(n) Project views a twenty-five year struggle through the eyes of outsiders, in loose doco style. We see the land, the immense body of water, and the faces of displaced people, and we gradually see the enormity of the problem. But everything is relative, isn’t it? There are more people who remain unaffected than there are those affected. Think of the Mary Valley, and so many other regions around the world. But people are becoming educated, aware of their rights, able to question the actions taken by those in power and willing to discuss possible solutions.


Depending on your perspective, for better or worse, this is progress; it’s an awakening and a growing awareness of human and democratic rights that have been denied an entire section of the population.


This year, it will be 25 years since the Narmada Bachao Andolan started questioning, organising and mobilising resistance against destruction of life and livelihood in the Narmada river valley.


Sam walked away angry. And I mean, ANGRY. He is usually angered by shows, or elements of shows, of questionable quality. This time, the one who doesn’t necessarily have the patience or the interest to sit in front of a foreign film, walked away from The Dam(n) Project without wanting to “walk away” at all! When I quizzed him on what he intended to DO about it, he wasn’t sure. SOMETHING. Okay. Are we going to India with these guys next time, to continue with a component of the project that will help the people fight their corrupt government and private corporations? MAYBE. Okaaay…


We actually might. But in the meantime, we will help to raise awareness, which I think is an undervalued part of the process of major change.


The Dam(n) Project

I wasn’t angry after seeing this film, but I was deeply moved. And glad that my daughter had also seen it. She thought a lot of it was “spooky” and “scary” sounding. (And when we talked with Poppy about it, of course she totally got why it sounded scary and why there were trees in the middle of the lake. She said she would be happy to go there to help but how? What would she need to do? Get her fairies to help her get the river flowing again? I told her I’m not sure that’s possible, even with the help of her fairies, but we will find out).


Leah’s original soundscape, created in collaboration with the children and adults of 20 displaced groups, is indeed “spooky” and “scary” sometimes, in turns jarring and dreamlike – there are entire sections of the film that are like stepping into somebody else’s dream and there are times when that dream borders on becoming a nightmare – the sounds of voices, of feet stepping across gravel, of water dripping, flowing, cascading… Leah stretches, distorts, layers and alters sound(s) so that quite often we’re immersed in another world entirely, and if the images were not so captivating, I could easily close my eyes and just listen…


The Dam(n) Project

But because we are visual beings, the images are a vital part of the experience. Footage of children singing, smiling and clapping together is slowed and blurred while their voices carry on at speed. Two figures – a male and a female, together and apart – dancing on a boat, on gravel, on the concrete wall of the dam, moving fluidly and presenting, in all its simplicity, the past, present and future of the place.  A female dancer breathing, turning, rising and exploring postures of the heart chakra and the sacred chakra, and the changed space around her, on the concrete surface above the dam. A landowner explaining the dilemma the dam has caused for generations of his family and neighbours. We watch him, animated and unrelenting, in triplicate across the screen, a projection screen set high, halved and shaped to look, appropriately, almost like a speech bubble. This little film has a lot to say.


These are real stories, rarely told, and it’s because of the passion, dedication, and creative drive of artists and humanitarians like Leah Barclay, Jehan Kanga and Shakthi Sivanathan that they reach us.


The next opportunity to get a glimpse of the latest stage of The Dam(n) Project – and you should – comes with the Balance-Unbalance International Conference and Floating Land at the end of the month.


YOUR Theatre Co is GO! It Really IS Cool to Be Kind!


YOUR Theatre Co is GO


YOUR Theatre Co


A world first, YOUR Theatre Co launched yesterday in Brisbane at Metro Arts.



YOUR Theatre Co is a fully audience-funded company based in Brisbane and they need YOUR help. Why? Yep. You got it.


If you’re a follower of this blog-soon-to-be-website (HI! THANK YOU! WELCOME BACK!), you already know that paid performing arts work is hard to find!


Look, I’d love to use Floating Land as an example here but I’m afraid you’ll have to wait to hear about THAT saga until after it’a all done and dusted! Suffice to say, at XS Entertainment, all we want is for the show to go ON! Floating Land is such a spectacular Sunshine Coast festival, which went global in a few short years, and looks now to be under threat due to a series of unfortunate events and a toxic combination of factors that can’t be openly discussed…yet! Let’s hope that those with the power to do so can find their integrity in time to make the right decisions, to protect and professionally engage our talented artists and directors as promised.



Artists include: Andrew Vievers, Bianca Beetson, David and Sarah Burraston, Elizabeth Poole, Artmakers Noosa, Gail Robinson, Mia Hacker, Judy Barrass, Kris Martin, Linsey Pollak, Richard Newport, Pauline Casely-Hayford, Bark Lab, Common Threads, Tamara Kirby, Corrie Wright, Attakalari and Curious Works, James Muller, Michel Tuffery, Maryann Talia Pau, Kari Roberts, Stephen Roberts, Leweton Cultural Group, Simon McVerry, Adrienne McVerry, Kevin McMahon, Beverly Hand, ASSI, Noel Bird, Kendra Naderi, Krishna Nahow, William Malpoa, Steve Weis, Kin Kin Community Group, NICA, Noosa Library and Writers Group, Tamsin Kerr, Ross Annels, Lyndon Davis, Brent Miller, Nathan Morgan, Kerry Jones, Kim Guthrie, Rowley Drysdale, Fee Plumley, Daniel Blinkhorn, Andrea Polli, Lenni Semmelink, Rene Bahloo, Lake Cootharaba Art Group, Johannes Laumer, Bianca Tainsh.


YOUR Theatre Co

Sam Klingner and Jeremy Hansen have created YOUR Theatre Co to provide greater employment opportunities for artists in Australia. At a media launch yesterday, industry peeps and special guests enjoyed appearances from talent that included Conrad Coleby, Matty Johnston, Samantha Hardgrave Chloe Thiel, bringing the spotlight back to our local performers and highlighting the need to remain active in creating paid work in the Performing Arts. If you’ve seen any of Brisbane’s professional productions lately, I know you’ll agree. If you’ve seen a few of the more competent community productions (by which I mean most artists involved in the productions are unpaid) I’m sure you’d be quick to point out that there is immense talent there too, and that we should be doing whatever we can to produce work that allows actors, singers, dancers, designers, directors, writers and musicians to PAY THIER RENT AND EAT FROM TIME TO TIME. I know. We artists ask a LOT!


But rather than the old-school model of major corporate sponsorship or subscriber dollars and donations, Klingner and Hansen aim to fund the company and its theatrical productions via the crowdfunding platform


By contributing, you make it YOUR Theatre Co. That’s right. You buy in and receive naming rights, voting rights, exclusive VIP status and tickets to all the shows. It’s brilliant! Now we have fifty-nine days remaining to see if we can make it work.




This is an excerpt from an article by Andrew Taylor, which appeared originally in the Sydney Morning Herald April 20th 2013


Augusta Supple hardly lives an extravagant life. She rents a modest flat in Petersham for $400 a week and drives a 1980 Toyota Corona known at her local cafe as the Beast.


Yet the 33-year-old artist and arts administrator has donated $6000 to the Griffin Theatre Company over the past four years.


”It’s not like I’m a multimillionaire or even a millionaire,” she says. ”I come from a poor background. I do it because it’s something I feel strongly about – putting your money where your mouth is.”


Supple describes her philanthropy as an investment in her community. Other young people are motivated by altruism, admiration for an artist’s skill or a desire to meet like-minded people.


Regardless of their motivations or wealth, Supple and her contemporaries are increasingly being sought as potential donors by arts companies. It is a matter of necessity as public funding shrinks and subscribers age.


”Obviously it’s about the sustainability of the company,” says Griffin’s general manager, Simon Wellington. ”The scope of programs we deliver is much broader than in the past, the investment we put into developing artists and new work is larger so we need to increase the diversity of our income streams.”


But luring young donors is a different prospect from attracting their parents and grandparents. Arts companies’ strategies for approaching potential supporters have grown more sophisticated. The Sydney Dance Company, for example, has used crowdfunding to pay for a scholarship for emerging dancer Holly Doyle. The Keep Holly Dancing campaign features a website ( with a video of Doyle performing. Viewers can see more of the dance as fund-raising goals are met.


There has been a dramatic increase in donations to performing arts companies since 2002, according to figures from the Australian Major Performing Arts Group. The 2011 survey found philanthropy had increased from $7.2 million in 2002 to $34.6 million in 2011, outpacing growth in corporate sponsorship. The survey also found that, for the first time, philanthropic donations provided the largest proportion of income to the sector.


Australia has a long history of charitable bequests but the deputy chief executive of Philanthropy Australia, Anna Draffin, says donating money while you are alive is becoming more popular. She says younger people are willing to donate not only their wealth, but their skills and experience, too. ”They’re trying new ways of approaching philanthropy beyond the cheque book,” she says.



Augusta Supple, 33, artist and arts administrator



Donates to Griffin Theatre, Shopfront Contemporary Arts, Darlinghurst Theatre Company and organisations that support emerging artists. Supple estimates she has given $6000 to Griffin Theatre over the past four years.


Look carefully at the walls of the Griffin Theatre and you’ll see Supple listed as the proud purchaser of a brick, the symbol of her $3000 donation to the company’s capital works program.


”I have a belief in the company and the work it does and the ethos of people who work there and the fact it is dedicated to Australian writing,” she says.


Supple says her donations are an investment in things she believes in and has a personal connection with. ”I guess the heart of what I’m saying with my money is I don’t believe in a McDonald’s culture,” she says. She has no expectations of receiving anything in return. ”What I’m saying is, here is some money, do with it as you see fit. I trust absolutely and feel no compulsion or any sense of ownership. It’s a gift.”




Floating Land 2013: Nature’s Dialogue

Meanwhile, I think it’s important to note that I’m really pleased with our expression of interest for Floating Land 2013. While I can’t give anything away, I can tell you that, should our submission be successful, we’ll be needing incredible dancers and multi-disciplinary performers for a show like no other. We’ll also be inviting interested peeps from the community to get involved in the creative process. We enjoyed so much, working with local actors and non-actors to create Floating Words last year and we’re looking forward to being involved again, in any capacity, really; Floating Land is a very different festival for the Sunshine Coast. It’s growing biannually and gaining a reputation internationally. If you want to get in on the next one (31st May – 9th June 2013), stick with us, kids!



Floating Land is an ongoing conversation about creativity, culture and the environment pivoting on a dynamic ten-day event in the UNESCO listed Biosphere of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. Conceived in 2001 as an outdoor sculpture exhibition, Floating Land is now solidified one of Australia’s most significant green art events sparking the imagination of artists, scientists, politicians and conservationists globally. Leah Barclay was engaged as the guest curator in 2011 and successfully delivered a dynamic program on the theme ‘Water Culture’, expanding the traditional elements of Floating Land to include works engaging ephemeral projections, light and sound in the natural environment.

The biannual project is framed around a thematic site-specific artist residency and offers a platform for creative responses, provocations and interactive experiences that can underpin new ways of thinking and inspire change. The diverse creative responses of Floating Land become embedded in a rich program of community workshops, forums and interactive labs designed to confront and challenge a spectrum of environmental issues across disciplines. The intention is not just to deliver engaging experiences for the local community, but also to harness the energy of these conversations, ideas and visions across virtual platforms exploring new paradigms for our collective future. Visit for further information. Source:




Floating Land

Floating Land is a biennial, multi-arts, 10-day, Green Art event, the central site for which is Boreen Point, on the shores of Lake Cootharaba in the UNESCO-listed Noosa Biosphere. The event brings together local and international Artists to explore the theme of Water Culture and how water impacts our lives.


The Brief: Using actors to tell the stories, create an opportunity for visitors to the Floating Land site to experience the oral histories project, Floating Words, as several “moments” during the Dusk Installation Walks.

The Prep: Several actors were engaged and sent the text, which had been recorded and uploaded to Vimeo and subsequently transcribed. The goal was to re-tell the local people’s stories accurately, giving a real sense of the storytellers themselves, as per loose verbatim theatre definitions.

The Performance: The success of the first walk was always going to be dependent on the response from the audience. In this case, the audience was largely unknown; a crowd of around 30 visitors to this section of the site and immediately open and receptive to what we were doing. The atmosphere was created for us, by the perfect crisp, clear, chilly air and descending darkness. Boreen Point is a beautiful place, quite untouched by developers and still feels like a small fishing village; quiet, still, peaceful.

There has been a little more activity during the daylight hours – dance workshops, forums and live installations involving innovative local artists – but as dusk falls the mood has changed, slowed, fallen into lazy step with nature. It’s that sleepy  twilight time before the nocturnal creatures – and the performers – wake up and come out to play.

On the Dusk Installation Walks one meanders along the road down near the edge of the water (you won’t get lost because you walk with a guide and you follow the road and you stay with the group. STAY WITH THE GROUP). Lake Cootharaba is an immense body of water and at night, with various states of lighting projected upon its surface it is magical. We placed our actors at intervals along a particular section of the road, with a candle and their text. In an ideal performing arts industry, the actors would have had the day to learn the people’s stories, about their connections with water. But these are (we are) actors who do other things.

By candlelight, each actor emerged out of the darkness and read the stories of those who had earlier relayed them to the interviewers. In the crowd were two of the storytellers, thrilled to hear their story brought to life in front of them.

The Repeat Performance: The Dusk Installation Walks continue until Friday evening. The stories will be different, each unique in their content and style, each conjuring somebody’s memories and each delivered by local performers who have a similar connection with the water sparkling under the star light and with the land, cold now, under their feet.

Floating Land is an event like no other. If you can get to experience it – any of it – do.


Image by Adam West


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