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Animate Loading LAB

Riana Head-Toussaint

Presented in Season 1 2023

Presented by Arts House as part of FRAME: A biennial of dance

LAB
Monday 6 – Sunday 12 March
Participation by EOI

Key info:
EOI’s closed
LAB dates: Monday 6 – Sunday 12 March
Selected participants will receive a $300 honorarium

Arts House
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
North Melbourne

This is a lab where participants play and talk about movement and public space: the unique knowledges our bodies hold, how spaces impact our movement, how we impact spaces right back.   

This lab is for people who are interested in:

  • movement (of one’s own body and/or objects)
  • how a location/space can impact one’s movement
  • how someone’s body or presence can impact a space

It will be facilitated by Choreographer Riana Head-Toussaint, a disabled artist who has an ongoing project called Animate Loading, which is about movement in public space. It is about bringing the seen and unseen dimensions of a place into focus, and changing people’s relationships with the architecture and each other. It is about opening up space for us to show up as our freest and fullest selves.

Participants will do exercises and engage in discussions that Riana uses when making Animate Loading. They will be supported to deepen their understandings of their own movement and each other. They will work indoors and outdoors.

Riana is particularly keen to welcome participants who identify with any of the following words, movement languages, styles and/or lived experiences:

Acrobatics, activist, anarchist, bla(c)k, bike, breaking, chronically ill, crutches, climbing, circus, Disabled, D/deaf, different, ethnic, First Nations, HoH (Hard of Hearing), hidden, interdisciplinary, intervention, LGBQTIA+, neurodiverse, not an artist, outsider, parkour, person of colour, queer, skateboard, trans, tricking, tumbling, untrained, voguing, (in)visible.

About the LAB:

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What will happen in the lab?
  • Participants will do exercises and engage in discussions that Riana uses when making Animate Loading. They will be supported to deepen their understandings of their own movement and each other. They will work indoors and outdoors.
  • Another intention of the lab is for Riana to make connections with potential performers to participate in a future version of Animate Loading in Naarm.
  • This will be a disability-led process, where access is a key consideration. Making sure people are supported to participate to their fullest is the goal.
  • At the end of the lab, there will be a public sharing. Participation in this is not mandatory. Elements can be adjusted depending on people’s access requirements and comfort levels.
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What is ‘Animate Loading’ about?
  • Animate Loading is a choreographic performance work. It often happens outdoors, from dusk into darkness. Each new performance is crafted to fit each new space it occurs in.
  • No space is neutral: this is an important starting point for the work. Every performance is informed by the architectural, social and historical contexts of the unceded land on which it takes place.
  • Across each performance, a dynamic group of performers draw on their movement languages and lived experiences to bring a space to life, and open it up to new potential. Previous performers have been dancers, skaters, freestyle footballers, etc.
  • Through their presence and their collective movement, they bring a space’s seen and unseen dimensions into focus; reconfiguring audience interactions with place, architecture and each other.
  • Animate Loading has been met with widespread acclaim: the work has taken place in a rooftop carpark, amongst post-industrial stone ruins and water tanks, and most recently, in and around the new Sydney Modern building at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, as part of its official opening celebrations.
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    Who might the LAB appeal to/who is Riana looking for?

    People who are interested in:

    • movement (of one’s own body and/or objects)
    • how a location/space can impact one’s movement
    • how someone’s body or presence can impact a space

    Riana is particularly keen to welcome participants who identify with any of the following words, movement languages, styles and/or lived experiences: 

    Acrobatics, activist, anarchist, bla(c)k, bike, breaking, chronically ill, crutches, climbing, circus, Disabled, D/deaf, different, ethnic, First Nations, HoH (Hard of Hearing), hidden, interdisciplinary, intervention, LGBQTIA+, neurodiverse, not an artist, outsider, parkour, person of colour, queer, skateboard, trans, tricking, tumbling, untrained, voguing, (in)visible

    No performance experience necessary!

    Three (3) of the lab spaces are disability-identified. The disabled community is wide and includes people who identify with disability, D/deafness, chronic illness and/or neurodiversity. Please indicate if you are part of community in your application.  

    This opportunity is for Naarm based artists (there is no travel allowance).

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    Key Info
    • EOI’s closed
    • LAB dates: Monday 6 – Sunday 12 March
    • Where: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne
    • Selected participants will receive a $300 honorarium
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      How to apply
      EOIs closed
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      About the artists

      Concept, direction, choreography and sound design: Riana Head-Toussaint

      Riana Head-Toussaint is an interdisciplinary crip/disabled artist of Afro-Caribbean heritage. Often working collaboratively, she employs choreography, performance, film, sound design, text and immersive installation to create works that interrogate entrenched systems, structures and ways of thinking; and advocate for social change.

      Her practice sits at the intersection of creative expression, activism, cultural exchange and disability justice, and is deeply informed by her movement language and embodied-experience as a wheelchair-user, and her training as a legal practitioner.

      Riana's practice also involves significant, broader curatorial/space-making projects; aimed at increasing creative opportunities and connection between traditionally-sidelined communities, and opening up space for greater embodiment. She is the founder of ‘Headquarters’ dedicated, disability-led digital space, and CRIP RAVE THEORY, a club night outside the club fostering more intersectionally-accessible rave spaces. She is a DJ (Aquenta) and Solicitor. Her work has been commissioned, exhibited and published widely across so-called Australia, in outdoor, gallery and online/virtual spaces. Riana currently lives and works on unceded Darug and Gadigal Country.

      Image Credit: Anna Hay

      Image Description: Animate Loading by Riana Head-Toussaint and collaborators, February 2022, development still, performance work, left to right: Bedelia Lowrencev, Natalie Tso, Jeremy Lowrencev, Tom Kentta, Leo Tsao, Savannah Stimson, Cynthia Florek – a group of performers sit and lie around a lamp-post on the rooftop of a carpark. Backs against concrete, eyes closed, faces upturned. One person has their legs in the air, resting against the lamp post, an orange soccer ball balanced between their feet and the pole. There are no cars in the carpark, but tire-marks on the ground, and the yellow markings of car spaces.

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