What's On

Soap Bubbles and the Forces Which Mould Them

Brian Lipson

Presented in Season 3 2021

Presented by Arts House

Wed 1 – Sat 4 Dec, 2021
6pm – 7.30pm

5 minutes 

FREE – bookings recommended.
This experience is for one audience member at a time.

Low level light, physical contact.
This experience requires standing for the duration of the performance. 

This experience is restricted to patrons 16 years and over, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

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

Read our COVID-19 Safety Plan here.

An unsettling (but hygienic) encounter.

In its bubble form soap provides the perfect metaphor for the current fragility of our lives.  And who would have thought that such a mundane phenomenon could turn out to be a vital weapon in the fight against an alien invasion!

Every bubble is a self-contained universe of infinite mystery and beauty. The English scientist C. V. Boys was endlessly fascinated by them; no one has investigated the process with more rigour and delight. He first published his findings on bubbles in 1890, and this curious booklet has been an inspiration for artists ever since it was championed by the great proto-dadaist Alfred Jarry.

These experiments and the sad but provocative life of the man who conducted them have led Brian Lipson to create a unique and intimate event which bends time and space with subtlety and wonder.

Only Bubbles Do

Nothing in nature knows
How to be so precise
Or contain rainbows.

Nothing in nature knows
So little; stays the same
Each moment it grows.

Nothing in nature knows
It’s wrong to be perfect
Reverses its blushes, goes.

– B.G.C. Lipson


About the Artist

Brian Lipson moved from London to Melbourne in 1997 and since then has been a ubiquitous figure in Victoria’s performing arts world. Many of his shows premiered in Melbourne at Arts House and have then gone on to tour major festivals and venues worldwide. Two more recent examples are EDMUND. THE BEGINNING and a collaboration with Gideon Obarzanek Two Jews walk into a theatre…

Brian is a writer, director, designer, teacher and actor, but his main interest is to create unclassifiable experimental events that combine elements of performance art, lecture and seance – most famously in his solo work A Large Attendance in the Antechamber. This show toured for over seven years and received wide acclaim at the Edinburgh, Sydney and Adelaide festivals. It also toured the USA, had a three-week season at Sydney Opera House and toured regional Victoria.

Brian habitually intersperses his personal practice with main-stage acting (MTC, Bell Shakespeare, STC, Belvoir, Malthouse etc) as well as working with many independent companies such as Back to Back, Chunky Move, Eleventh Hour, fortyfivedownstairs, Hayloft, Stuck Pigs Squealing etc. He also co-devised, designed and performed in all four Inotrope/Theatre Works collaborations with the St Kilda Drop-In Centre. (The documentary Tempest at the Drop In was broadcast by the ABC for Disability Week in 2013).

During Lockdown Brian recently made two streamed works; Seven Ages for Victorian Seniors’ Festival and (with Mark Wilson) History of the Damnable Life and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus for Melbourne Fringe and Arts Centre Melbourne’s Take Over program.

Brian has been nominated for nine Green Room Awards and won four of them. He was made an Australia Council Fellow in 2011.

Artist Statement

About 50 years ago when I was an art student in London my good friend Charlie Paton lent me his copy of a faded pamphlet with the title Soap Bubbles and the Forces Which Mould Them. I was entranced. I always intended to give it back but somehow I lost it. Charlie forgave me and we are still friends. He is now an inventor who might have devised an answer to climate change and I make strange shows like this. I would like to dedicate this installation to Charlie and to Sir Charles Vernon Boys the author of that pamphlet.

“An experiment is a question which we ask of nature.” - C.V. Boys

Image credit: Tiffany Garvie

Image description: An older man sits in a dark room. He is lit from the front with a dark window behind him. He is holding a bubble wand up to his face with both hands, and looking intensely through a large clear bubble directly into the camera. He wears a white shirt and a black vest, and has curly grey hair, and a short light grey beard. 

Related News & Insights:

Arts House look forward to safely welcoming you back to our venue. Read our COVID-19 Safety Plan here.

Arts House acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation, and pay our respect to Elders both past and present and, through them, to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Contact —
521 Queensberry Street,
North Melbourne VIC 3051
(03) 9322 3720

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