A projection work exhibited at No Vacancy Gallery in 2018 (note the video has no sound). Krump is a dance of constant change, of volatility, of unpredictability. For those unfamiliar with this culture, Krump emerged in 2000 in the streets of South Central Los Angeles, cultivated by young African-Americans who were looking for an alternative to gang life. It also had strong ties to faith and spirituality, with some dancers using this expression as a form of praise and worship. Whatever the motivation, Krump provided a release and, as the culture developed, so too did its dance foundations, music, dress code and vernacular. In Melbourne, Krump materialised in 2005 in the streets of Dandenong, within a predominately Polynesian community. Over the years, the movement has spread, straddling various cultural groups and postcodes. Street sessions are an important part of the culture and most weekends, you’ll find the Melbourne community dancing in the carpark outside the Victoria Markets. Dualities presents two contrasting video works. One, shot in real time and in colour, focuses on the technicalities of the dance and how it can be interpreted by the individual. It’s also an ode to the city in which the community exists, the city skyline glimmers in the background, the unforgiving bitumen underfoot. The other work, a slow motion black and white video, emphasises the expression of this artform. By slowing down time and shooting in a session setting (where one krumper dances and is ‘hyped’ by the rest of the community) the energy and emotion that is generated by both dancer and community is captured.
Photo Stories from Vanuatu
Photo Story One: Paama Community Church Each Sunday, Sokomanu, Sandra and Sophia Motoutorua make their way to the Paama Community Church. The congregation is mostly comprised of families from Paama (a small island north of Efate), but welcomes all people. Sokomanu, who originally is from another island, Ifira, is an elder in the church. I’ve known Sandra since she was a baby. Her father Sokomanu and my father have been long term friends, having first met as children in the 1960s when my father lived in Vanuatu, then the New Hebrides, with his family. Sandra is now 21, and a single mother raising her two-old daughter Sophia. The church is about a 10minute walk from their house in Blacksands, the largest of a number of urban fringe settlements that have sprung up around Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, in the decades since the nation achieved independence in 1980. The area is densely populated, with a large percentage of the people having migrated from other islands in Vanuatu. Usually drawn by the hopes of finding work and the ‘bright lights’ of the capital these people often group together in clusters based on their island of origin. Living conditions are very basic for many people in Blacksands, with some having no running water, electricity or proper sanitation. The Paama Community Church provides an important focal point in the lives of its parishioners, and on this day was decked out in special decorations as they celebrated Fathers Day. Following the service, and amid the laughter and play of excited children, a traditional lunch was provided in their newly built community kitchen and meeting area adjacent to the church. Photo Story Two: Mt Marum Volcano Ambrym, an island in the north of the Vanuatu archipelago, is famous for it’s two large active volcanoes, Mr Benbow and Mt Marum. Approaching the volcanoes from the West, a vast lava plain stretches out before them like a roughly sewn carpet. And after trekking through steep and thick lush tropical rainforest, the change in terrain couldn’t be more drastic. It was like walking into Mordor and at times I thought I had been transported to a different planet. Photo Story Three: Rom Dance Ambrym is also renown for it’s Rom dance, which is performed only by men and was traditionally held on special occasions to generate a good harvest. As the tam tam drum locks in the rhythm, the men sing, whistle and stomp heavily into the volcanic ground. Those dressed in the banana leaf cloaks and masks evoke the spirits and after the ceremony, these outfits are destroyed so that the dancer is not followed by any of the spirits. Photo Story Four: West Ambrym This story offers a more contemporary glimpse of the island and the connection to the sea. One afternoon, some of the local boys- Joewth, Amos, Timo and Kiki- took us down to the ‘hot springs’. When the tide is out, the rock pools become warm due to the volcano vents. Although they initially didn’t want to swim as the owner of the place told them there were bad spirits, they soon jumped in. This tale is used to caution the children so they respect the water and don’t get swept out to sea.