Think Tanks At Campbelltown Arts Centre


Aruna Subbiah - Photo by Susannah Wimberley



What is it that crosses the mind of a dancer when she is dancing? Is it a thousand thoughts of what she is performing about? Is it the content of the song she is visualizing through her art or is it a reflection of the melody and rhythm of the music…Is it just silence that blocks all other thoughts and emotions or is it just a sheer joy of experiencing her various movements…?

‘What I Think About When I think About Dancing’ is a project exploring the intersections of contemporary dance and visual art, showcased by the Campbelltown Arts Centre from 16 November, 2009 to 3 January, 2010 at Campbelltown, NSW.

‘What I Think About When I think About Dancing’ talks about the shifting parameters of contemporary dance and visual arts by commissioning national and international artists to engage in live work, residencies, performances and showings.

The exhibition of the various works opened on the evening of Friday, November 27, at Campbelltown Arts Centre. The Arts Centre came alive as the audience moved from one section to another to watch the performances by the various artists. Each artist had one corner of the gallery completely modified and designed for that performance. And it was interesting to watch the many different modes of creative expression be it through a lot of colour (including fluorescent!), music strains from the piano or dance that visualized complete freedom…

Artists participating in the residency project included performance collective Brown Council (AUS), performance artist Rosie Dennis (AUS), cross-disciplinary artists Brian Fuata and Agatha Gothe-Snape (AUS) and Gabriella Mangano & Silvana Mangano (AUS). Internationally, Campbelltown Arts Centre, in partnership with Critical Path, features composer and sound artist Cathy Lane (UK) and Rosemary Butcher (UK), one of the United Kingdom’s innovative choreographers, to undertake a residency with four Australian dance artists.

 Campbelltown Arts Centre

Mitch Cairns (AUS), video artist Kate Murphy (AUS), multimedia and performance artist Shigeyuki Kihara (NZ) and Aboriginal cross disciplinary artist Christian Thompson (AUS) present their new work. Other participating artists included internationally acclaimed Australian artists The Kingpins (AUS), Shaun Gladwell (AUS) and David Noonan (AUS), and emerging artists Laresa Kosloff (AUS) and James Newitt (AUS).

Featuring Bharatanatyam

One of the works presented features a series of four video documentaries titled ‘Talanoa: Walk the Talk’ Performances Series directed by multimedia and performance artist Shigeyuki Kihara (NZ).

Kihara’s work is based on an investigative research relating to the indigenous cultures of the Pacific, and more specifically to Samoan culture, history and spirituality. And the Talanoa series brings together different communities through their artforms.

Here, Talanoa Performance III is a collaboration between the Mukti Gupteshwar Mandir Society, Minto and the Congregational Christian Church, Samoa. Performing in this documentary is Bharatanatyam artiste Aruna Subbiah, who interprets through her dance the coming together of the Indian and Samoan communities. Says Lisa Havilah, Director of Campbelltown Arts Centre: “Our direction for this exhibition is to elicit responses from artists, to question the meeting place of dance and visual arts across cultures, communities and by individuals”

The project’s title has been adapted from the 2008 Haruki Murakami book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, which is a meditation on Murakami’s process-driven approach to writing and long distance running. Murakami adapted this title from Raymond Carver’s 1980 short story What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, in which Carver was thinking about the shifting manifestations of love in the suburban everyday.For more info visit here

(Based now in Liverpool, NSW, Aruna Subbiah hails from Chennai, India and is a senior disciple of renowned artiste Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy. Aruna offers classes in Bharatanatyam at Silambam, Sydney – Institute of Indian Classical Dance. For more info, visit: Aruna Subbiah 



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