Many Returns


Many Returns I 2014 White Night Melbourne I Durational Live Performance, Installation and Sound I Duration 12 hours

The mobility and transitory elements of the car presented a sense of ‘not arriving’ – of being suspended in time and existing in an in-between space.The work was experienced at particular moments in time and the relationship to it constantly in transition – an energetic exchange that took place from space to body and the interactive participation of the general public. Working in these spontaneous situations evoked a sense of ‘not-knowing’, creating a perception of immediacy and aliveness with the surroundings, and opening up to surprises in improvisation.

To me, these transitional spaces carried a social message – the displacement impacting individuals in the current global context. The idea tied in with the notion of a car as a container of stories – like the body as a vessel of lived experiences and memories, pulling stories out like delving into a subconscious state, looking for these dormant memories and bringing them to consciousness.

In this project, I used a motor vehicle as my space to present the work. The interior of the car was filled with twigs and sticks, newspapers, canned goods, oranges and loaves of bread woven together like a nest. The twigs and objects created a wall to obstruct the viewer from seeing what was happening inside the space. The viewers were able to interact with the work by using torches to experience the live performance inside the car.

I invited dance artist Janette Hoe to respond to the work. We both used the internal space of the car as a stimulus to shape the performance piece. The performer’s body in the space represented the subjects-on-hold, frozen, in transition between lives and countries. The fear of being viewed by the public was expressed thru movement and repetitive gestures that suggested paranoia. I installed a video camera inside the car to capture the public interaction and live performance in the space. The audio and video documentation was presented in a solo exhibition at a gallery.

© Riza Manalo 2018