The 2016-17 Proximity Festival artists are eclectic in form and approach, willing to push at the edges of whats possible in performance, one person at a time. Cigdem Aydemir, Mike Bianco, Hannah Brontë, Liam Colgan, Martyn Coutts, Rachael Dease, Jen Jamieson, Nat Randall, Tyrone Robinson.

Cigdem Aydemir is a Sydney-based artist working in the mediums of installation, performance and video art. Her socially and politically engaged art practice investigates possibilities for intersubjective and transcultural communication with an interest in post-colonial and feminist issues. Much of her work expands on the veil as a culturally constructed site and as material realisation, while exploring the veiled woman cipher as resistant female other and as lived experience. Through critiquing, decolonizing and queering mechanisms, Cigdem questions established relations of power, while producing work that is driven equally by research, play, criticism and humour.

Mike Bianco is an artist, curator, researcher, activist, and beekeeper, originally from San Francisco and now currently based in WA. Bianco’s work engages a number of forms and materials – both living and non-living, and focuses on issues of politics, environment, sustainability, community activism, energy decline, and the impending “century of crisis.” Bianco’s work has been exhibited in numerous venues around the world, ranging from PICA, to the Kenpoku Art Festival in Ibaraki, Japan. Bianco has conducted extensive research focused on the subjects of food, craft, and sustainability in locations that include Oaxaca, Mexico, Northern France, Fukushima, Japan, Northern Tanzania and Zanzibar, and the United States.

Hannah Brontë is interested in the expected and changing roles of women today and her explorations of this are deeply influenced by hip-hop and female protest culture. Previous works have included deconstructed feminist banners; quoting female rappers and Brontë’s own words, as well as textiles using oestrogen camouflage to adorn characters within her videos. Brontë also explores the history of women as warriors through shell and woven adornment using traditional fibres. The constant throughout all her work is female empowerment, and trying to walk always with the power of her female ancestors at her side.

Liam Colgan is a multi-disciplinary artist and curator based in Perth. Colgan’s work broadly investigates the fields of sexuality and queer theory in relation to art practice. They are interested in the latent social structures within everyday life that inform an individual’s identity. Their investigations predominantly take the form of video, performance and installation. Through these media, Colgan considers how art might allow individuals to challenge social power structures and navigate the complexities of identity. Since graduating Colgan has exhibited in multiple group shows including Hatched National Graduate Show at PICA, Unsettle at Paper Mountain and Passing/Parades at Success ARI.

Martyn Coutts is an interdisciplinary artist working across theatre making, dance dramaturgy, video design and festival curation. His interest is in the live body in action, its relationship to technology and to its observer. His work I Think I Can (with Sam Routledge) has been presented twenty times around Australia, the US, Canada, Netherlands, UK, Taiwan and China. He was Co-Director of the SAC35festival in Hobart in 2012 and Co-Director of The Wheeler Centre Project 20 Questions, Brisbane Writers Festival and was the Wheeler Centre Gala in Melbourne in 2014. Martyn is part of the Artistic Directorate for The Unconformity in Tasmania and was the Deputy Chair of the Next Wave Festival Board of Directors.

Rachael Dease is a composer and sound artist who has an interdisciplinary approach, often using installation, film or theatre to present my work. Her primary research for the past several years has been two fold – exploring how humans relate to death, it’s ritual and the grief process surrounding; and the ever evolving world of space exploration – using data and technology from various agencies to create scores and soundscapes on which to base new work. Rachael’s artistic practice encompasses the realms of pop culture and art music, theatre and science. Her work with the NASA and ESA audio archives has resulted in a new song cycle From a Small Distant World which premiered at AGWA in 2015.

Jen Jamieson is a performance artist aiming to blur audience and artist. She is a registered art therapist, a member of Perth Playback Theatre, and has lectured in digital video and communication studies. She has also produced/directed short films that have screened and won awards in national and international film festivals. Jen’s live artworks include: the booth; We Will Build Our Own Mountain with Mish Grigor for Now Right Now!; How to Have a 3 minute Shower Proximity Festival 2012, Let’s Make Love Proximity Festival 2014. She has worked with pvi collective, La Pocha Nostra, Martin Coutts, Molly Tipping and recently Amy Sharrocks’ Museum of Water.

Nat Randall is a Sydney-based artist and a core member of collectives Hissy Fit and Team MESS. Nat makes work across performance and video experimenting with interdisciplinary practices. She has presented work at PICA, PSpace, Kaldor Public Art Projects, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, MCA, Arts House, Duckie (UK) amongst others. In 2014 Nat performed in Is this thing on? at Belvoir St Theatre winning a Sydney Theatre Award. She presented a major durational performance The Second Woman at ACMI for Next Wave She has just accepted a 12-month residency at the William Street Creative Live Work Spaces Program facilitated by City of Sydney. She recently presented a new major project with Hissy Fit for MCA’s C3WEST Project, Women of Fairfield. Nat is a host and co-producer for FBi Radio’s CANVAS.

Tyrone Robinson is a Perth-based artist who’s practice is grounded in contemporary dance, voguing and gesture. His most recent practice explores religion over time and culture. Tyrone has worked with Sue Peacock, Claudia Alessi, Dean Walsh, Matthew Morris, Rachel Ogle, Alice Lee Holland, Aimee Smith, Kyle Abraham and Kate Weare. For the past three years he has been teaching at the K2 dance studios, teaching many different styles of dance to people ranging in ages of 9 – 40. He began nurturing a connection to the east coast working with Lucy Guerin and recently created ‘KS Project’ a dance/art installation commissioned City of Perth for the opening the new Kings Square, in the Perth CBD.

Nat Randall, The Second Woman, 2016 Photo: Kate Blackmore