What's On

Invisible Forces

Chamber Made Salon - The Nervous Atmosphere
Zoë Barry  

Presented in Season 2 2023

Co-Presented by Arts House, Chamber Made and Zoë Barry   

Thursday 7 September 2023 

1 hour 

More detailed access information will be available prior to the event.

Free but ticketed

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

Assistance Animal
Auslan Interpreting
Quiet Space Available
Visual Rating 50%
Wheelchair Accessible

Join musician and theatre-maker Zoë Barry, Associate Professor Jonathan W. Marshall and Chamber Made as they delve into the research and themes that underpin The Nervous Atmosphere. 

Well before embarking on The Nervous Atmosphere, Zoë was fascinated by the work of 19th century French neurologist Dr Jean-Martin Charcot, whose studies in science, parascience, magnetism and mesmerism both entranced audiences and divided medical and scientific communities. 

After her extreme encounter with nature, Zoë found that Charcot’s experiments with electromagnetism, and the promise of invisible forces to affect and heal nervous function, strongly resonated with her experience and symptoms. 

In this fascinating discussion, Zoë is joined by Associate Professor Jonathan W. Marshall, author of Performing Neurology: The Dramaturgy of Dr Jean-Martin Charcot and writer Emilie Collyer to explore the ideas that fed Charcot’s work, and the profound experience that charges The Nervous Atmosphere.   

This event is held in conjunction with the world premiere of The Nervous Atmosphere, presented Wednesday 13 – Sunday 17 September 2023. 

Zoë Barry 
Jonathan W. Marshall 
Moderated by Emilie Collyer

View more information and tickets to The Nervous Atmosphereclick here. 


About the panelists

Zoë Barry is an award-winning cellist, composer, performance maker and educator. Her practice is devised and collaborative, drawing on composition, sound design, writing, performing and directing. Her work explores the politics of slowness, meaning-making, and amplifying quiet voices. Her sound collages combine field recordings, text and music, and can be heard in theatre, dance, film and gallery commissions. She has appeared at/had work presented at Edinburgh International Festival, Sydney Opera House, Auckland Festival, Sydney, Perth & Adelaide Festivals, Dark Mofo, MONA FOMA, Supersense Festival, Unsound Festival, Next Wave, Lincoln Centre NYC, Kennedy Centre Washington DC, National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing, and film festivals including Venice, Sundance and SXSW. Recent awards include Ruby Award: Best Festival Production for The Lighthouse, Green Room Award: Participatory Contemporary & Experimental Theatre for The Ballroom, and the Aria Music Teacher of the Year. Zoë creates immersive installation/theatre works for multigenerational audiences with Patch Theatre, and audio-led works for the digital space with The Threshold. Zoë is a member of The Letter String Quartet and Iranian trio Dafta Avaal, and a collaborating artist with Back To Back Theatre.

Jonathon W. Marshall is associate professor and senior lecturer at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University, where he coordinates postgraduate studies. Jonathan has published extensively on relations between nineteenth century neuropsychology and the histories of performance, including parascience, the hysteria diagnosis, neuromagnetism and other then popular concepts which continue to influence theatre and art today. Jonathan has written reviews and criticism of contemporary dance, theatre, music and performance for specialist and lay outlets for over twenty years, work appearing in RealTime Australia, IN Press magazine (Melbourne), 3RRR radio, The Conversation, Limelight, and elsewhere.

Emilie Collyer is a writer and researcher and is Communications Manager at Chamber Made.


Supported by
The Nervous Atmosphere is supported by the City of Melbourne through Arts House and Chamber Made, The Australia Council for the Arts and Creative Victoria. Conceived in 2019 during residencies at Lucid Art Foundation, Northern California, and Historical Damsite, New Mexico, the work was further developed in May 2022 through Arts House CultureLAB.

Image Credit: Pia Johnson

Image Description: Zoe is playing the cello against a black background. She has long, red, curly hair and is wearing a black long sleeved top.