heather b. swann
I let my body fall into a rhythm 

november 22 - 25, 2018
the Ian potter museum of art
the university of melbourne

I LET MY BODY FALL INTO A RHYTHM develops artist Heather B. Swann's idea of the ‘performance tool’; a sculptural object activated by a human body.

Born from a moment during a residency in Japan when she overheard the ‘chink – chink’ of an unseen stone mason carving a tombstone in a cemetery, Swann experienced an unsettling, surreal sensation of unbound sound. In that moment she understood the beautiful melancholy expressed in the Japanese concept of mono no aware – the pathos of things.

The regular intervals of breathing, the pulse of blood, the movement of tides are encoded in consciousness. We drum our fingers or click our tongues when searching for a word or an idea. We tap our feet with impatience. We hum tunelessly when we are contented or concentrating. Then there is work. We cut. We sweep. We sew. We fold. We hammer. We rub and pat and shape... In the pursuit of these tasks the body is enlivened, possessed by patterns of motion: swinging, swaying, rocking, pacing... At an abstract extremity, such movements are both a site and a source for the expansion of consciousness. They are a choreography for the nervous system. 

In its combination of art installation and live performance, I LET MY BODY FALL INTO A RHYTHM explores the idea that repeated, rhythmical actions – particularly those of physical and skilled labour, create powerful emotional states.

As manifest here in Melbourne, the exhibition foregrounds those works which deal specifically with memory. There is the matter of personal recollection, in the elephant-memorious Unforgettable and in the dementia-proof fence of I will not remember your name. But there is also more abstract cultural memory, in the video Broken thread, with its summoning of the Fates of Greek mythology, or even of May Gibbs’ Banksia Men, and in the drifting, elusive, surrealist visions of Butterfly kiss.

Swann revels in this dimension of cultural remembrance. She makes direct acknowledgement of the Potter’s current exhibition of the work of furniture designer and sculptor Clement Meadmore, seating her performance tool sculptures on classic modernist chairs – by Kohn & Kohn, by Walter Burley Griffin, by Fred Ward and even by Meadmore himself.

Performance Schedule:

Thursday 22 November 2 – 5 pm Anna Kuroda

Friday 23 November 2 – 5 pm Anna Kuroda

Saturday 24 November 2 – 5 pm Anna Kuroda

3 - 5pm Phillip Adams

Sunday 25 November 1 – 2 pm Nell

2 – 5 pm Anna Kuroda

Please click here for Australia now event website  |  Please click here for Asialink's project website

i let my body fall into a rhythm grew from a 2017 residency program at tokyo arts and space, supported by asialink arts through a gift to the memory of masasuke hiraoka and setsuko hiraoka and yasuko hiraoka myer. the exhibition was developed with assistance from the australia council for the arts, through a partnership with asialink arts and the ian potter museum of art, the university of melbourne. as an the australia now event, i let my body fall into a rhythm was supported by the commonwealth of australia, the australia-japan foundation and the australia now sponsors.

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