AETHER

Premiere: 15 March 2005, North Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne.

“Guerin and the dancers reach into startling new territory.”
Lee Christofis, The Australian, 2005.

Choreographer Lucy Guerin and motion graphic designer Michaela French were looking out a window onto Melbourne’s cityscape when the original idea for Aether came to them. “I’ve got a view of Melbourne… and Michaela and I were wondering what it would look like if all the lines of communication were visible”, stated Lucy Guerin (Herald Sun, 2005).

Premiering in March 2005, Aether is a full-length dance work that explores the complexities of human communication in the digital age. Incorporating sound, movement and projection, the performance grapples with questions about human identity, information overload and self-expression. After living in bustling New York for seven years, Lucy was interested in “different modes of communication” – for example, neon billboards, radio, newspaper, and email – and “the problem of how to relate and how to connect with fellow humans” (Herald Sun, 2005).

Broken into two distinct sections, Aether begins by introducing five dancers in a dense multimedia landscape. Torn newspapers are scattered on the floor, dim lighting flickers, an atmospheric soundtrack hums and beeps and a large background screen illuminates circuit boards, spooling data and coloured text. On stage the five dancers represent living particles, their movements jittery, angled and robotic. Like mechanical toy dolls they push towards and apart from each other in a flurry of chaotic movement. “The unthinkable complexity of this first section of Aether is designed to reflect the datascapes of daily life, the information overload, impossible all to take in”, wrote dance critic Bree Hadley (Brolga, 2007).

The second part of the performance is ushered in by a sudden change in tempo. The projector screen is withdrawn, the soundtrack becomes softer and newspaper is removed from the stage. “Think of it as a slow clearance of communication debris from your life,” states a voiceover by one of the dancers. More human in their appearance, the dancers begin to perform short duets and group sections that consist of garbled voices, awkward interactions and self-referential commentary on dance as a communication medium. This second part of Aether explores the difficulty we still experience in understanding each other in spite of the multitude of communication formats available to us. “All this only begins to suggest the remarkable density of Aether, its layering of rich and provocative ideas and contradictions within a busy, visually dynamic and formally innovative structure,” wrote critic John Bailey (Real Time, 2005).

Following its first season in Australia, Aether took out a Green Room Award for Best Ensemble.

Performances:

14-27 March, 2007: Premiere, North Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne.

18 October, 2007: Singapore Da:ns Festival, Singapore.

3 November, 2007: Australia Festival, Pittsburgh.

28 November- 1 December, 2007: Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne.

23 -26 January 2008: Sydney Festival as part of Movers and Shakers series, Sydney.

Images: Rachelle Roberts

Creative Team

  • director: Lucy Guerin
  • Choreographer: Lucy Guerin
  • Dancers from Premiere Production: Antony Hamilton , Byron Perry , Kirstie McCracken , Kyle Kremerskothen , Lee Serle
  • Composer: Gerald Mair
  • Motion Graphics: Michaela French
  • Costume Designer: Paula Levis
  • Lighting designer: Keith Tucker

image gallery

Publicity & Media

  • Maria Bervanakis, 'Chaotic messages unfold', CityLife, 14 March 2005.

    Short article publicising the March 2005 performance of Aether. The article briefly introduces Lucy Guerin and describes the performance.

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  • Harbant Gill, 'Ideas out of the Aether', Herald Sun, 14 March 2005.

    Short article publicising the March 2005 performance of Aether. The article includes excerpts from an interview with Lucy Guerin and a description of the performance.

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  • Robin Usher, 'Projecting messages with meaning', The Age, 14 March 2005

    Short article publicising the March 2005 performance of Aether. The article includes excerpts from an interview with Lucy Guerin and a description of the performance.

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  • Lee Christofis, 'Graphic display dazzles senses', The Australian, 17 March 2005.

    Review of the March 2005 performance of Aether.

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  • Stephanie Glickman, Review, Herald Sun, 18 March 2005.

    Short review of the March 2005 performance of Aether.

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  • Daren Pope, 'Kicking up the heels', B News, 29 November 2007.

    Short article publicising the 2007 performance of Aether at the Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne. The article includes excerpts of an interview with dancer Kyle Kremerskothen and explores the themes of masculinity and sexuality.

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  • Natalie Robertson, 'Firm feet for dancer', Moreland Leader, 2005.

    Short article publicising the 2005 performance of Aether at the North Melbourne Town Hall. The article includes excerpts of an interview with dancer Kyle Kremerskothen who discusses the choreographic aspects of his performance.

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  • Kelly Farrell, 'Body-Speak', The Age, 2005.

    Short article publicising the 2005 performance of Aether at the North Melbourne Town Hall. The article investigates the main themes underpinning Aether and includes excerpts of an interview with Lucy Guerin.

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  • Vicki Fairfax, 'Dancing Through Chaos', The Australian, 14 March 2005.

    Article publicising the 2005 performance of Aether at the North Melbourne Town Hall. The article includes a short biography of Lucy Guerin's work as well as an exploration of the performance's main themes.

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  • Lucy Beaumont, 'Aether', The Age, 20 March 2005.

    Short review of the March 2005 performance of Aether.

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  • Chloe Smethurst, 'Complications of contemporary communication', The Age, 21 March 2005.

    Review of the March 2005 performance of Aether.

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  • Mark Kanny, 'Lucy Guerin piece puts communication on trial', Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 1 November 2007.

    Article publicising the 2007 performance of Aether in Pittsburgh, United States.

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  • Jane Vranish, 'Dance Review: In Aether fingertips matter in digital age', Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5 November 2007.

    Review of the 2007 performance of Aether in Pittsburgh, United States.

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  • Robin Usher, Interview with Lucy Guerin, The Age, 28 November 2007.

    Article publicising the 2008 performance of Aether at the North Melbourne Town Hall. The article includes excerpts of an interview with Lucy Guerin.

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  • Robin Usher, 'Melbourne's gift: the space to create', The Age, 28 November 2007.

    Article publicising the 2007 performance of Aether at the Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne. The article includes excerpts of an interview with Lucy Guerin and details regarding some of her previous works and travels.

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Critical Analysis

  • Bree Madley, 'Unthinkable complexity: dance, datascapes and the desire to connect in Lucy Guerin's Aether', BROLGA, December 2007.

    Critical analysis piece that investigates the performance Aether from a scholarly viewpoint. The article includes commentary on Lucy Guerin's choreographic approach and explores the main themes underpinning the performance.

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  • John Bailey, 'Bodies as signals, nodes, networks', Real Time Arts, Issue 67, June-July 2005.

    Critical analysis and review of the premiere performance of Aether, 2005.

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  • Chris Boyd, 'Lucy Guerin: Aether', The Morning After: Performing Arts in Australia [Blog], 29 November 2009.

    Blog review and critical analysis of the 2007 performance of Aether at the Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne.

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Audio

  • NAME OF AUDIO: Lucy Guerin interviewed by Catherine Forge about the Archive

  • NAME OF AUDIO: Lucy Guerin interviewed by Catherine Forge about the history of Lucy Guerin Inc

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