The Perception Experiment

AC The Perception Experiment - photo by Pip SamayaFrankie Snowden and Madeleine Krenek are two of Australia’s premier contemporary dancers / performers / choreographers. In addition, they form part of 2ndToe Dance Collective – a platform that provides emerging professional artists the opportunity to make boundary pushing dance work.

Through provocative sensorial immersion, Frankie and Madeleine offer up The Perception Experiment. The perceiver, the thing perceived, and the act of perceiving all seem to come together in their first production in Central Australia – and a first for the Araluen Galleries. Our experience of the physical is examined (through dance) in the extreme and somewhat paradoxical environment of a gallery space (Araluen Arts Centre).

I choose the adjective ‘metaphysical’, to articulate potential embodied responses to The Perception Experiment – a live dance performance, sound and sculptural work. Metaphysics is ultimately about negotiations over many aspects of quotidian life and matters of ultimate reality, including things that can be – but do not need to be – seen as religious or spiritual.

Metaphysics can be defined as an inquiry into the ultimate nature of things, a study about what ultimately is and what it is like. Therefore, the limits of being and questions about non­-being (fundamental to artists) are essentially metaphysical matters.

Through an exploration of time and space, The Perception Experiment offers an alternative view of how we might navigate the physical world. Here the term ‘embodiment’ is useful in describing this performance, to stress our bodily engagement with it. Embodiment can be understood as  ‘the existential ground of cul­ture and self’, which suggests that we are able to find our way to culture or ourselves via our bodily existence.

Perception happens in the body, with the faculties of the body. We learn to understand our world not with conceptual and propositional knowledge, but more fundamentally, via bodily interaction and feelings. However, there is somewhat of a tendency to reduce human experience to language – we use language to disclose an experience.

But, a lack of language does not refer to a lack of experience. Rather, because experience can be so powerful, artists are constantly searching for meaningful methods and means to handle, think, and communicate about it.

Concept, Direction and Choreography: Frankie Snowdon and Madeleine Krenek Choreographic Collaborators / Performers: Kelly Beneforti and Tara Samaya Sound Design: Darcy Davis Lighting Design: Jenny Hector Project Producer: Hillary Coyne

The Perception Experiment
Gallery 3 – Araluen Arts Centre, 61 Larapinta Drive, Alice Springs
Season: 25 – 27 May 2017

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Image: The Perception Experiment – photo by Pip Samaya

Contributor: Freya Tripp