Terminal (2004) Fremantle Passenger Terminal AU
TransPort: Underwater Performance
The Space Between Conference, Closing Event
Sarah Jane Pell
"Australian aquatic artist Sarah Jane Pell is submerged a 12m x 2m x 1m Aqua Super tank filled with 17,000lts of brackish and heated to 16C. She improvises five John Cage performance instructions including ‘Water Walk’ and ‘Water Music’ replacing many materials with fashion, technology and art references in context with The Space Between Conference theme." - Terminal producer LittleGirl INTERNATIONAL.
TransPort, 2004 Underwater Performance by Sarah Jane Pell. Space Between Conference Perth 2004 Closing Event 'Terminal' by producers LittleGirl INTERNATIONAL.
TransPort: Live underwater performance & broadcast event
The artist is submerged a 12m x 2m x 1m Aqua Super tank filled with 17,000lts of brackish and heated to 16c degrees. Pell improvises five John Cage performance instructions including ‘Water Walk’ and ‘Water Music’ replacing many materials with fashion, technology and art references in context with the conference theme of The Space Between. This included parading a glow-mesh garment designed exclusively by PRUDE, glow sticks, a body bag, sequins and stilleto tango, a dental trolley and the artist cutting her hair underwater. The audience viewed the work live tank-side and via broadcast to an internal screen system, and projection adjacent to the harbour waters. Performance series concludes after three movements lasting a total of 105 minutes.
Sarah Jane Pell performs two movements of TransPort in the Aqua Super Tank. Live Video Korin Gath. Photo Anne Walton. Fremantle Passenger Terminal, Victoria Quay WA 2004.
Act 1: Improvisation to the John Cage score 'Water Music'
This composition is probably one of Cage's first performance pieces. It involves, apart from playing the piano keys, the operation of a radio, blowing different kinds of bird-whistles, shuffling a deck of cards and dealing them over the piano strings as well as the shaking of water receptacles. The score, consisting of 10 sheets, each with 2 half systems, should be mounted on the wall, as a large poster. In it, the 41 events are notated in full detail (piano notes, radio-frequencies, actions with wistles etc.) and with the exact timings (in minutes, seconds and parts of seconds). Some details are left to the performer though, such as the preparation of four tones. Cage leaves the choice of these notes to the performer, but the moments of starting and finishig the preparations is notated implicitely. Cage uses a notation in space equal to time, similar to scores like Music of Changes. The title of the work is supposed to be changed to the name of the city where one performs the composition, followed by the date of performance. David Tudor has used various titles, using locations or dates. The first performance was entitled "66 W. 12", being the street address of the location of the performance. On performing the composition on August 12, 1952 at Black Mountain College, it was entitled "Aug. 12, 1952". Recordings of the work usually follow the rule of 'location/date'. Steffen Schleiermacher for instance, recorded it with the title "Arolsen, February 8, 1998". Sources: Volker Straebel: 'From Choice to Chance' (liner notes to CD: MDG 613 0787-2); New York Public Library online catalog; Paul van Emmerik: Thema's en Variaties; Published score; William Fetterman: John Cage's theatre pieces: Notations and performances; Paul van Emmerik: A Cage Compendium.
Act 2: Interpretation of the John Cage score 'Water Walk' (Water Music No. 2)
Like Sounds of Venice it was composed for the Italian tv quiz "Lascia O Raddoppia", using the Fontana Mix as a composing means. In it, Cage used 34 materials, as well as a single-track tape, 7½", 3 minutes. The materials required are all related to water. Some examples: Bath tub, toy fish, grand piano, pressure cooker where steam is being released, ice cubes and an electric mixer to crush them, rubber duck, goose whistle, 5 radios, etc. The score consists of a list of properties, a floorplan showing the the placements of instruments and objects, thrre pages with a timeline (one minute each) with descriptions and pictographic notations of occurence of events and a list of notes "regarding some of the actions to be made in the order of occurence" (from score). Timings are not accurate: "Start watch and then time actions as closely as possible to their appearance in the score" (from score). Water Walk led Cage to compose his Theatre Piece. Sources: New York Public Library online catalog; Score as published in Stefan Schädler & Walter Zimmermann (Ed.): John Cage - Anarchic Harmony; William Fetterman: John Cage's theatre pieces: Notations and performances.
TERMINAL: Exploiting the synergies between textiles, art, design and fashion.
TERMINAL is an event where the boundaries between spectators & performers blur, as Western Australian artists across all disciplines blend & manipulate rich layers of sound, experimental film, impromptu theatre & dance, poetry readings, alternative fashion, live performance & improvised play to construct mesmerisingly seductive environments that wrap themselves around you & seep inside. Driven by a purposeful sense of engagement that sees the exchange between art & life as a two-way process, TERMINAL provides the opportunity for Western Australian artists to question the boundaries between art & life in an environment that seeks to challenge traditional ways of viewing & understanding the arts.
Production Support Tarsh Bates. Live Video Korin Gath. Documentation Anne Walton. Standby Diver Kay Grubb. Sound Compilation Grant Ettrick. Production Support Andrew Portwine. Event Video Danielle Michich. Post production Editing Roly Skander. Strategic support was provided by Prude; The Underwater Centre, Fremantle; Tamera King, Rose Williams, Nicole Murphy, Peter & Guy Woods which were greatly appreciated.
Hoggarth, J., (2004) Underwater Love, Perth Woman’s Magazine, Autumn, pp.128- 129; Moose, (2004) Balls n’ All, Sports & Leisure, Channel 31TV (Perth), Mar 30, Apr 2
This project was supported by a City of Fremantle Cultural Development Sponsorship Grant, Aqua Tank Fishing Show (Halco Pty Ltd & Woods Investments) Power Dive WA, and event producer LittleGirl Inc. (Dr. Kirsten Hudson). This work is part of the Aquabatics Research Team initiative (ARTi) and in part, informed PhD research.⇐ Return to Performances ⇐ Return to Exhibitions