The Stirring | De Quincey Co.

The Stirring | De Quincey Co.Every time I visit Carriageworks, the new-ish performance venue in Redfern, I gaze around at the exposed rafters, discarded train tracks and industrial machinery populating its foyer and halls. It’s an incredibly inspiring space for any type of artist, and Performance Space in particular has made use of it for various pieces in the past. However, none that I’ve been to has been quite as impressive as The Stirring, the latest work from the De Quincey Co. Tess de Quincey and her fellow dancers and artists have created an atmospheric, haunting and beguiling work that engages closely with the site.

Upon entry, I am handed a programme, with a map showing the locations of various rooms and sites. Nothing is made explicit, and the instruction to “move around at your leisure” takes a little while to come to terms with. This piece traverses a large area of the venue, venturing into the dark spooky halls and small nooks not usually seen by theatre-goers. On the map, these halls have labels such as “Snort” and “Emptiness,” whereas “Kandinsky’s Loop” is a corridor circuit featuring various works. Installations, sound, dance and interactive pieces interact with the space, forming a mise-en-scène of site-specific art that is at once disturbing and intriguing.

After a Welcome to Country, we are promptly unwelcomed by a wire-haired and begoggled dancer on the balcony above the box office, shouting at us that we are “not welcome here” and that our tickets are “one-way.” The combination of disturbing music, lunatic rambling and train tracks embedded into the ground give me an eerie feeling of embarking upon a ghost train ride. I am not far wrong. The entire experience of The Stirring (dance, voice, sound, sculpture, installation and lighting) is decidedly spooky, as behind each wall and through each passage is another haunting area, replete with undulating sound and abstract props.

The installations range from train-track troughs filled with liquids, to long loops of tape passing around water jugs and through tape heads on old reel-to-reels. At some moments, the audience is directed or coaxed to a certain area, but otherwise we are all left to walk around and encounter the installations and performers for ourselves. Indeed, the performers themselves wander the space, isolated from each other in space but brought together by their costumes of boots and raincoats.

This is a beautiful and unusual work, with excellent performances by the five dancers and some wonderful visual art as well. The industrial moods of the space carry through to the art, carried by the ghostly echoic associations of the  old train sheds. The Stirring is a kind of sensual history exhibition, tapping into not only the industrial past of the space, but also something more ancient in the soul.


De Quincey Co.
The Stirring

Venue: CarriageWorks | 245 Wilson Street Eveleigh
Dates: 8 - 17 November
Times: Thur – Sat @ 7:30pm
Bookings: www.moshtix.com.au

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