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Paul Dwyer,  The Bougainville Photoplay Project, Live Works Paul Dwyer, The Bougainville Photoplay Project, Live Works
photo Heidrun Löhr
In Live Art parlance, The Bougainville Photoplay Project falls into the genre of lecture/performance. It’s spun like a casual yarn taking us from family slides retrieved from an attic into performer Paul Dwyer’s relationship with his late father, an orthopaedic surgeon. Via photographs and recollections we journey with the good doctor back to Papua New Guinea in the 1960s to observe the results of his work to fix malformed bones with the radical surgical procedure he developed. We also enter into the deep end of Dwyer’s own academic research into “performative behaviours in various models of restorative justice ‘conferencing’ and his documentation of reconciliation ceremonies on Bougainville in the current period of post-war reconstruction.”

If this sounds like heavy going, it’s not at all. Paul Dwyer is an engaging storyteller (direction David Williams, version 1.0). His performance is part-memorised, part-improvised and interspersed with a careful selection of images in multiple formats (black and white newspaper photographs, Super 8 film, 1960s colour slides, x rays, contemporary colour snaps) skilfully integrated by video artist Sean Bacon. Accompanied onstage by nothing more than a couple of screens, a vintage slide projector and a human spine, Dwyer weaves personal stories, historical documentary and ethnographic academic research into a performance that is never predictable, unfolding intimate reflections that quietly impart their deeper connections.


The Bougainville Photoplay Project, deviser-performer Paul Dwyer, director David Williams, video artist Sean Bacon, technical production Russell Emmerson, producer version 1.0, LiveWorks Festival, Performance Space, CarriageWorks, Sydney, Sept 5-6

RealTime issue #88 Dec-Jan 2008 pg. 35

© Virginia Baxter; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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