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In Profile

2013-2015


 Da Contents H2

LIVENESS BY DEGREES
September 16 2015
In Profile: Zoe Scoglio, artist
Urszula Dawkins

RT PROFILER 11, 22 JULY 2015
July 22 2015
In Profile: Jason James, artist
Andrew Harper

In Profile: Nick Power, b*boy, choreographer

RT PROFILER 7, 12 NOVEMBER, 2014
November 12 2014
In Profile: André Lawrence, emerging curator
Chris Reid

In Profile: Angus Cerini, writer, performer, director
John Bailey

In Profile: Julian Day, composer
Matthew Lorenzon

RT PROFILER 6, 17 SEPTEMBER, 2014
September 17 2014
In Profile: David Rosetzky, Gaps
Urszula Dawkins

In Profile: Matt Warren, mumble(speak), III - real and imagined scenarios Gail Priest
Gail Priest

RT PROFILER 5, 30 JULY, 2014
July 30 2014
In Profile: Lawrence English, Wilderness of Mirrors
Gail Priest

RT PROFILER 5, 30 JULY, 2014
July 30 2014
In profile: Natalie Abbott, Maximum
Gail Priest

RT PROFILER 4, 2 JULY, 2014
July 2 2014
In Profile: Lily Hibberd, Twin Cinema: Four Devils and a Woman in Red
Urszula Dawkins

In Profile: Prying Eye, White Porcelain Doll
Kathryn Kelly

RT PROFILER 3, 21 MAY 2014
May 21 2014
In profile: AñA Wojak, 3 Decades
Jeanti St Clair

In Profile: Chris Bennie, Fern Studio Floor: a cosmology
Virginia Rigney

In Profile: Paper Cut Contemporary Performance Collective
Gail Priest

In Profile: Wyatt Moss-Wellington, Sanitary Apocalypse
Oliver Downes

RT PROFILER 2, 26 MARCH 2014
March 26 2014
In Profile: Alison Bennett, Shifting Skin
Gail Priest

RT PROFILER 2, 26 MARCH 2014
March 26 2014
In Profile: Chris Howlett, ARGARMENIA
Christy Dena


November 20 2013
In Profile: Rachael Dease
Gail Priest

In Profile: Sarah-Mace Dennis
Gail Priest

September 25 2013
In Profile: Keg de Souza
Gail Priest

In Profile: Miranda Wheen
Gail Priest

September 18 2013
In Profile: Michaela Davies
Gail Priest

In Profile: Pia van Gelder
Gail Priest

 

In Profile: Prying Eye, White Porcelain Doll

Kathryn Kelly


Zaimon and Lizzie Vilmanis, White Porcelain Doll, Prying Eye Zaimon and Lizzie Vilmanis, White Porcelain Doll, Prying Eye
FenLan Photography
Prying Eye was founded by Zaimon and Lizzie Vilimanis in 2010 to develop “live contemporary performance” with sumptuous visuals that promise to generate “goose-bumps” (www.pryingeye.org). The company’s monochrome aesthetic, filled with deconstructed silent film tropes, creates an eerie, post-gothic world that incorporates character and psychology and shuttles between performance-making, movement and dance theatre forms. They are currently working on their debut full-length work, White Porcelain Doll, which will make its much-anticipated premiere at the Judith Wright Centre for Contemporary Arts in late July.

The inseparable pair are partners in art and love since their days as ensemble members in Expressions Dance Theatre in the noughties. When I met them in the leafy courtyard of a local cafe to talk about White Porcelain Doll I resisted asking them any ‘prying’ questions about what it must be like to make an intimate two-hander exploring the darkest and most terrifying emotional context—that of a captive/kidnapped woman and her predator—with your own partner. However with typical élan the pair raised the issue themselves, talking candidly about how the project didn’t start with this brutal scenario, but actually began in 2010 as an experiment in collaborative process. Lizzie and Zaimon wanted to explore how they might work with each other as co-directors and co-choreographers rather than as fellow dancers in an ensemble, also trying not to fall into a traditional dancer/choreographer relationship. The project, A Likely Distrust, was born with a Fresh Ground Residency at the Judith Wright Centre in 2010, collaborating with video artist Ryadan Jeavons and laying the foundation for much of the visual palette of their work.

While there were a number of subsequent residencies, it was only a return to Fresh Ground in 2013 with most of their existing creative team in place that, as they put it, “the work revealed itself.” In the mysterious alchemy of these creative epiphanies the gestural language and the compelling guttural vocal score that had emerged found a place within a specific narrative: the enclosed and isolated world of captor and captive.

Zaimon and Lizzie Vilmanis, White Porcelain Doll, Prying Eye Zaimon and Lizzie Vilmanis, White Porcelain Doll, Prying Eye
FenLan Photography
Despite the violent and voyeuristic nature of the material they have consciously decided to focus on the feminine arc of survival in the piece, searching for images that explore not simply the isolation and domination of captivity, but also the resilience and imaginative capacity required to negotiate that environment by the female victim. Neither wanted to give the game away about the work’s conclusion but they did say that the intention is to provide some sense of hope.

Their term to describe the form of White Porcelain Doll is “Silent Theatre.” As they describe it, the piece is a series of intensive image-based vignettes, like the flickering chapters of early silent films. The guttural language they have developed filters into the piece only through voice-over, supported by a haunting piano composition. The elegant and technically assured dance practice of Lizzie Vilimanis is complemented by Zaimon’s brooding stage presence and their ability—rare in contemporary dance performers—to move comfortably into the realms of character-based movement with depth and integrity.

The model of Bruce McKinven’s set design is spine-chilling in its simplicity: a platform, echoing the shape of a grand piano that reads like a sound-proof box, floating in space. It’s surrounded by suffocating, blanketed material, hung in corrugations, able to be projected upon, but with a distorted, scratchy render that evokes the spooky aesthetic so redolent of Prying Eye’s visual iconography.

Zaimon and Lizzie Vilmanis, White Porcelain Doll, Prying Eye Zaimon and Lizzie Vilmanis, White Porcelain Doll, Prying Eye
FenLan Photography
Making new work is a risky business, but there is a bit of buzz around Brisbane about this show. The long incubation period and the solidity of the creative team bodes well for a ripe work. Having said that, the first debut full-length work for a new company is always tricky and even the most careful processes can go awry.

Ultimately, what is distinctive about Prying Eye is the power of an artistic partnership that is so intensely personal. I think it is best summed up in an image of Lizzie and Zaiman I saw on the Leigh Warren Dance website (http://www.lwd.com.au/work.htm), uncredited but presumably from Lizzie’s time there as company member (2009-2013). They are locked in a fierce embrace, with Lizzie falling away but held safe within the concentrated grasp of Zaimon. Their glowing intensity is made playful by Zaimon’s foot, which sits incongruously in the foreground, emphasising the visual trick of the whole image: two bodies falling together as one.


Prying Eye, White Porcelain Doll, co-directors, choreographers Zaimon and Lizzie Vilmanis, composer, director of photography Ryadan Jeavons, design Bruce McKinven, lighting Dan Black, systems designer Tessa Smallhorn, dramaturg Veronica Neave, choreoturg Clare Dyson; Judith Wright Centre for Contemporary Arts, 26 July-2 Aug; http://www.pryingeye.org; http://judithwrightcentre.com

RealTime issue #121 June-July 2014 pg. web

© Kathryn Kelly; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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