What's On


Chamber Made

Presented in Season 2 2021

Presented by Arts House and Chamber Made

World Premiere

Wednesday 7 – Sunday 11 July, 2021

Wed – Sat, 7.30pm
Sun, 5pm

60 mins

All tickets

Arts House
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St
North Melbourne

Strobe lighting


disability access symbol wheelchair black

Wheelchair accessible.

Whether biological or technological, no system is immune to failure. SYSTEM_ERROR contemplates the shared disquiet we feel towards the frailties and imperfections that make us human, while questioning the increasingly dependent and integrated relationship between human bodies, brains and technology.

At the work’s core is a vast, bespoke instrument designed by Alisdair Macindoe that sees electrically conductive tape function as a live circuit activated through touch. Part installation, part musical device, part kinetic art, this intricate creation allows for a performance in which machine and living body form a symbiotic relationship.

Animated by anxieties over ageing and death, and the ambivalent promise of artificially extending lives, this is a rich audio-visual-sensory experience about both the capacity and limits of the imagination to speculate about our own future. Ultimately SYSTEM_ERROR is a meditation on connection: sounds are generated by the closing of circuits composed of human bodies, making manifest the ways in which touch can carry meaning.


SYSTEM_ERROR is created and performed by Macindoe and Chamber Made’s Artistic Director Tamara Saulwick, and here the pair explore the frisson generated when experimental sound art meets physical expression. Contemplative, thought-provoking and possessed of an unexpected mechanical lyricism, SYSTEM_ERROR creates a small world that contains universes.

‘ … a sensory collage, something much deeper and more profound than is usually achieved in theatre … Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep is exemplary in its ability to speak to the audience on many levels and with different sensory experiences. It is the language of music realised. It’s a biography, the life story of the dragon lady, but it is also so much more.’

– WITNESS PERFORMANCE (on Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep by Chamber Made)

‘With his latest piece, A Pre-emptive Requiem for Mother Nature, Alisdair Macindoe cements his description as one of Australia’s most exciting young choreographers. The work will leave you wanting more.’

— DANCE INFORMA (on A Pre-emptive Requiem for Mother Nature by Alisdair Macindoe)


About Chamber Made

Interrogating the intersections of music, sound and contemporary performance, Chamber Made works speak directly to a 21st century Australia enriched by the meeting and intersection of cultures. The company is led by Artistic Director Tamara Saulwick who, with a career spanning more than 20 years, brings to her role a deep knowledge of cross-artform collaborative practice. Saulwick specialises in creating sound-based works and collaborating with composers and musicians in cross-artform contexts. Her work has toured nationally and internationally and has been nominated and won numerous industry awards. In SYSTEM_ERROR Saulwick works with co-lead artist: dancer, sound designer and choreographer Alisdair Macindoe, whose critically-acclaimed work has been presented world-wide and has won multiple awards including five Greenroom awards, a Helpmann, and a New York Bessie.

Chamber Made Trailer from Chamber Made on Vimeo.


Artist Statement

‘This work is partly about memory and how central it is to our understanding of who we are, how it connects us to others, situates us, and helps us navigate the world around us. As I’ve watched people I Iove grow old, I’ve witnessed the ways that the mind and body begin to fail. Watching that kind of decline makes you think about what you would change if you had a choice, if technological advances were to offer an alternative.’
– Tamara Saulwick

‘For a long time I have had this wonderment at the space and time that computers and electronics present. As a child I used to create objects with expressive use, like musical instruments and electronic devices. I like being able to use objects and things outside my body to communicate with the outside world. The sound design for this project is a continuation of that compulsion.’
– Alisdair Macindoe

Artist Credits

Creator / performer – Tamara Saulwick
Creator / performer / sound & instrument designer – Alisdair Macindoe
Director – Lucy Guerin
Data visualisation artist – Melanie Huang
Lighting designer – Amelia Lever-Davidson
Text consultant – Emilie Collyer
Audio Engineer – Nick Roux
Production Manager – Rebecca Etchell Chamber Made would like to acknowledge and thank the following people for permission to use textual snippets of their works in SYSTEM_ERROR: Dr Natasha Vita-More Transhumanism and Designer Experience, Titus Nachbauer & Dr Anders Sandberg TRANSHUMAN - Do You Want To Live Forever?, Dr Frank J Vattano, Dr Thomas L Bennett, Dr Michele Butler Life Without Memory: The Case of Clive Wearing, Frank Theys TechnoCalyps.

Supported by – Arts House Listening Room residency and CultureLAB. The project has also been assisted by the Besen Family Foundation and the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Image: Pier Carthew

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