On the Couch with Tess de Quincey

Tess de Quincey Arts Review On the CouchWho is Tess de Quincey?
Hmmmm, a wild bee being danced by the weather…

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Ah, being an artist in this time and place is not easy, but hopefully less struggle… and more and more and MORE laughter.

Who inspires you and why?
Firstly my parents because they were very fine human beings and my dog Leo because he was the most noble being I have ever encountered. And I adore people who reverberate with vulnerability, humanity and humility, and I love those who speak from the heart. Those who are open to change are a beacon. Then there are those whose raunchy wildness just packs a fabulous wallop and pulls the carpet out from under our feet. And those who shine torches, be they radical thinkers, artists, scientists or educators and they bring us into fiery new worlds – now we’re talking! And those who turn personal traumatic tragedies, from atomic devastation to child abuse, into astounding and visionary change to the benefit of mankind. Countless women and men who I encounter, both live and virtually, touch me with aspects of all this. But if I do need to find braveness and breath amidst madness, then I find the Dalai Lama filling everything.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Change the balance of exploitation, manipulation and materialism by recognising that the human ecology relies on diversity – waking up in the morning with the sole imperative of making money is not the only valuable way to be. We are nourished not only by food but the play and exchange between a beautifully functioning internal and external environment, clean natural resources, the unfolding of meaning and non-meaning with others, sparking minds and deep cultural values. That together can fuel meaningful change and bring about an astonishing future.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Just at the moment my garden and my worm farms are calling me to stay still; also because I love unwinding with my three dogs who romp endlessly when I’m there in the garden with them. Gently sifting, and understanding the balance of our food and the health of the garden through the worms is fascinating – and a good balance to the manic stress of surviving in the arts.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Close by where I live there are some small secret sandy beaches hidden in the mangroves and I can’t believe how this can be part of a major city – magical Sydney!

What are you currently reading?
The Vital Question by Nick Lane.

What are you currently listening to?
Lots of RN and Amanda Stewart.

Happiness is?
Unimpeded consciousness that realizes full responsibility of being – but that does sound very pompous! Looking into the eyes of the same or another species is also pretty damn good!

What does the future hold for you?
After decades of making heaps of intense and challenging work, besides mentoring others who can pick up and run with an exhilarating baton, I’d like to build in more time for reflection so I can articulate our practice better. At the moment it seems impossible to get large scale works up, so I want to concentrate more on simple performances and explore new facets through that focus. I’ve also got all sorts of avenues I’d like to explore our practice BodyWeather in, be it with robotics, or with neuroscientists, variously abled people or purely as a way to engage with the world in a non-anthropocentric way – to participate in a new future.

Tess has choreographed Metadata to be presented at Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres: 15 – 17 September 2016. For more information, visit: www.riversideparramatta.com.au for details.

Image: Tess de Quincey