The 2015 Proximity Festival program involves some of the most exciting voices in contemporary practice – Phillip Adams, Jo Bannon, Tom Blake, Leon Ewing, Jackson Eaton, Chloe Flockart, Caroline Garcia, Mish Grigor, Emily Parsons-Lord, Mei Saraswati, Brett Smith and Malcolm Whittaker.
Phillip Adams (VIC)
Phillip Adams is one of Australia’s seminal interdisciplinary dance artists and current Artist Director of BalletLab. He is responsively attuned to audiences, critical engagement and the insatiable appetite for the new. His process into the world of collaboration is an investigation through mediums of design, fashion, architecture, cinema, queer culture, the unorthodox, visual arts, science and sociology; and more recently, community-based live arts performance. Phillip has recently presented work for MONA FOMA, Dance Massive, National Gallery of Victoria and in 2015 will undertake an Asialink residency to Turkey. He is regularly in demand as an educator and serves on many arts boards throughout Australia.
Jo Bannon (UK)
Jo Bannon makes live art, performance and installation. She has presented work at The Southbank Centre, The Barbican, In Between Time Festival, Arnolfini, Spill Festival of Performance, Battersea Arts Centre PAD Mainz and the National Theatre. She is an In Between Time Associate Artist and founder member of Residence in Bristol. Jo’s work is concerned with human exchange and encounter and explores how our physical bodies experience the world around us and how this sensory experience can or cannot be conveyed. Her performance work often manifests as intimate encounters designed for single or small audiences, alongside staged theatre work and installations.
Tom Blake (WA)
Tom Blake is an interdisciplinary artist working across video, installation, printmaking and performance. His practice explores contemporary perceptions of oceanic vastness, territorial borders and physical/digital isolation in the context of recent advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs). His recent work Boundless Planes, a two-month durational performance (hosted by some.center), saw him living alone on a sailboat in Botany Bay and using this vessel to ‘meet’ with airline passengers as they flew over the water. During 2013 – 2014 Tom was mentored by Sydney-based artist Ken Unsworth (b.1931), through the support of the Clitheroe Foundation.
Leon Ewing (WA)
Leon Ewing is an interdisciplinary artist leaving a trail of destruction stretching back over 25 years. Specialising in failure and ignominity, he effortlessly moves between low art and highbrow pop culture. Recently he has toured his EVIL series of work, produced AV for Star Wars: The Ballet, and plays bass for Blackwall Reach. He is currently developing a major work for Dark MOFO ‘16 [MONA] through the Situate pogrom, that will in all likelihood; end his career. By day, Leon is a kindy teacher in tough neighbourhoods. His interests include cognitive dissonance, amorality and the evolutionary imperatives behind unpopular politics.
Jackson Eaton (VIC)
Jackson Lawlor Eaton is a single, white, heterosexual, mid 30s, middleclass, cismale artist. Originally trained in Psychology, he is currently undertaking a Masters of Fine Art degree at Monash University. Jackson’s work questions ideas of selfhood, intimacy, amateurism, networked technology, privacy, photography and masculinity. His recent project Better Half was featured in Primavera 2013 at the MCA, collected by the Art Gallery of WA, and published by Pearce Press. He has held solo shows at Contemporary Art Space and Chapter House Lane, Melbourne, and Queensland Centre for Photography. He is the co-founder of siteless art initiative http://some.center
Chloe Flockart (WA)
Chloe Flockart is a multidisciplinary artist from regional WA. She specialises in puppetry and performance, and has worked and taught all across Australia with the likes of Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Terrapin Puppet Company, and Erth Visual and Physical Theatre. As a member of HYPHEN, she is constantly exploring new ways for art to generate conversation about difficult or marginalising topics. As a StagesWA supported playwright and PAWA Nominee, Chloe has been recognised for her dogmatic pursuit of excellence, and is not scared to put her personal or physical self on the line.
Caroline Garcia (NSW)
Caroline Garcia is a culturally promiscuous, performance maker. Her work engages with a brown body politic that re-imagines the complexities of her cultural identity by borrowing tradition; sampling popular culture, translocating ritual, and blurring genres through dance practice, live performance and video. Caroline has presented work at Firstdraft, UTS Art, MCA’s ARTBAR, Kaldor’s Parlour for 13 Rooms, ACMI, Performance Space and Carriageworks Day for Night and Proximity Festival 2014. Caroline is PACT’s artist-in-residence for 2015 and in August will present The Soul Train Express for Underbelly Arts Festival. She recently participated in La Pocha Nostra Live Art Lab in Greece, led by Guillermo Gómez-Peña.
Mish Grigor (NSW)
Mish Grigor is a Sydney-based artist. She is one third of the performance group POST, whose shows include Oedipus Schmoedipus, Who’s the Best?, and Shamelessly Glitzy Work. They have received commissions from Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir, and Sydney Festival, amongst others. In 2014 POST toured to the UK and began developing The Post Internet, a project continuing in Mt Gambier through Regional Arts SA and SANDPIT. In 2014 Mish directed Man O Man at Festival of Live Art, Melbourne, and at Vital Statistix, Adelaide. In 2015 she is developing RAMBLE through Punctum in Castlemaine, Victoria.
Emily Parsons-Lord (NSW)
Emily Parsons-Lord is a cross disciplinary artist whose practice is informed by research and dialogue with materials and climate science. Recent work involves recreating the air from past eras in Earth’s evolution, looking for the visible in the invisibility of air, and exploring ‘voids’ with silica aerogel materials. In 2015 Emily will present at Underbelly Arts, Firstdraft Gallery, PCP, and commence a residency at Ars Bioarctica. She has created work for Proximity Festival 2014, Escapees, Stowaways, Trespassers, and Freeloaders at GalleryEight and Endangered at Saatchi and Saatchi Gallery. Emily graduated with Hons in Photomedia from University of NSW, and holds a MA in Peace and Conflict Studies from Sydney University.
Mei Saraswati (WA)
Mei Swan has been operating under the alias Mei Saraswati since 2007. Inspired by the concept of sonic collaging she uses found sounds, field recordings, voice, samples and low-fi instruments to create music referencing south-east Asia and domestic spirituality. Her motivation behind creating is to seek therapy and contribute to and engage with the local music community. Mei has released three solo EP’s and two LP’s and supported artists such as ESG (US), Taylor M cFerrin (US), Prefuse 73 (US), Andy Stott (UK), and locals such as Abbe May, Felicity Groom, Kučka and Oscar Key Sung. She was recently music co-composer and performer for Perth Theatre Company’s From the Rubble.
Brett Smith (WA)
Brett Smith is a Perth-based sound designer, composer and performer whose practice explores immersive sensory performance environments and free improvisation in electro-acoustic ensembles. As a designer and composer he has worked with Black Swan State Theatre Company, The Last Great Hunt, Craig Silvey, Chrissie Parrott, Michael Whaites, Jo Pollitt, Michelle Robin-Anderson, Unkempt Dance and Isabella Stone. As a performer he has worked with Joel Quartermain (Eskimo Joe), The Chemist, Kate Ceberano, Johannes Luebbers and The Mace Francis Orchestra. He is a 2011 WAAPA graduate, recipient of the Bendat scholarship for musical excellence and an emerging artist with Black Swan State Theatre Company.
Malcolm Whittaker (NSW)
Malcolm Whittaker works as an interdisciplinary artist, writer, researcher and performer. He does this in solo pursuits, as a founding member of performance collective Team MESS, and in collaborations with other artists and non-artists. His work is made through the framing of play spaces that adopt forms and rituals of the everyday. These works have been situated in theatre and gallery contexts, and as public interventions, performance lectures, film shoots, phone calls, support groups, walks in the park and library book borrowing. He has made and presented work across Australia, as well as in the UK and Finland. Malcolm is a PhD candidate at The University of Wollongong’s School of Creative Arts.
Photo courtesy of the Artist, Jackson Eaton (2015)