There’s a buzzing when you enter. The lights are low, but as the audience’s eyes adjust, slivers of reflected light from long, thin pieces of metal can be seen. Too many to count. Sonorous beachgrass, like something out of a Len Lye fever-dream, the pieces are set in floating wooden platforms held in place by springs. When the pieces are made to shake, they produce sound.
Dissecting them is a thin platform, where dancer Kristy Ayre starts moving to among the visuals and the din. Like the repeating shape of the standing waves found along each vibrating stem, Kristy also repeats a simple set of moves. It makes for a stunning visual, particularly when dancers Nat Cursio and Jo White join Kristy. While they explore the movements Kristy has laid down, their own ground is agitated by Lindsay Templeton and James Hogan, both working tall levers in the sort of mythic fashion you find in old Soviet Worker propaganda posters.
The show is the result of years of collaboration and experimentation, yet retains a fresh quality that makes the dancers (even Kristy’s first long cycle) compelling to watch. There’s a sense that despite the discoveries they’ve made – the sounds different materials of different sizes make when resonating, the way light plays and scatters off the metallic porcupine quills when a lamp is moved behind them, what happens when a simple movement is repeated enough times for its context and meaning to degenerate – they’re still exploring. The shimmying platform has a nautical feel to it, and the three oscillating Magellans on-board may be staring into the middle distance, but they are utterly present.
There’s a strong sense of shape to the piece, ending as it began – a wine glass being shaken by sound and vibration. In the end it falls to the floor, but does not break. A silent coda to a fascinating work by Ashley Dyer.
Arts House, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne
Performances continues to 20 November 2016
Information and Bookings: www.artshouse.com.au
Image: Tremor – photo by Bryony Jackson