Accented Body

In This Article

Accented body was conceived over two years ago as an international large-scale artistic project, developed by a series of interdisciplinary teams responding to a brief based on two main concepts: the exploration of the body as site and in site, and notions of connectivity. Arguably the largest and most complex independent project of this nature staged in Australia, accented body was, and will continue to be, a project of small break-through discoveries and ongoing creative partnerships.

Elise May & Ko-pei Lin in dissolving presences. Photo: Sonja de Sterke

In 2005, twenty-six key artists from Australia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the UK, each with highly developed creative practices in interdisciplinary, intercultural, interactive and/or site-specific work, were invited to participate in a number of interconnected performance installations for the 2006 Brisbane Festival. Artists were asked to respond to the creative brief in a way which engaged with the architectural and landscaped environment of the Creative Industries Precinct at QUT and Kelvin Grove Urban Village, thus creating an animated form of urban public art.

The promenade performance installation event shared with the audience was the outcome of over 60 accented body personnel working in small collaborative teams to make up one large creative work. Six distinct performance installations evolved and, with further development, dancers, visuals and sound were linked by screen footage and overlapping live elements through which the audience wandered, altering images and sounds.

Simultaneous live and interactive digital events in Korea and the UK provided a global connectivity of real-time performance beyond Australia and its host city Brisbane. 

Connective threads—physical, virtual, cultural, geographical and spiritual—emerged, exposing both commonalities and differences. The notion of collaboration was expanded to include an audience which actively influenced the texture and quality of the performance through its physical interventions.

Watch Associate Professor Cheryl Stock discuss how culture encodes the body.

The six distinct but interconnected site-specific works in development were:

  • Prescient Terrain choreographed and directed by Richard Causer, with Presences by Cheryl Stock
  • Separating Shadows created by a Brisbane-based team directed by choreographer Vanessa Mafe
  • Ether directed by Tony Yap and performed by a Melbourne team of interdisciplinary artists of diverse cultural backgrounds
  • Living Lens by an Australian/Japanese team directed by Maria Adriana Verdaasdonk
  • Global Drifts directed by interactive dance artists Sarah Rubidge and Hellen Sky with a team of Australian, UK and Korean artists
  • Dissolving Presences directed by Cheryl Stock in collaboration with artists across all sites.
(left) Shane Weatherby in prescient terrain Photo: Sonya de Sterke (right) Tony Yap in ether Photo: Alex Chen

Benefits and outcomes

Accented body provided:

  • a unique opportunity for international collaborations at the cutting edge of artistic practice in terms of live and virtual interdisciplinary site specific work
  • a forum for creative practices which have potential for life beyond the initial performances and for the development of shared interdisciplinary languages between the arts, media and technology
  • opportunity for transcultural and global collaboration which will have ramifications beyond intermedia arts practice and provide access for performance-based work via the internet.

Extending accented body

Accented body continues as a research vehicle for further investigation and documentation as well as an ongoing network for the exchange of ideas, resources and creative practices, particularly in the growing area of communicative synergies between technology and creative practice.

Accented body and its collective of artists will build on the international and national networks which have emerged to support independent practice and foster future collaborations. It is the aim of accented body to contribute to a more sustainable arts practice, through the ability to stream, document and repackage the live work for digital distribution, as well as through the international and national networks it builds, fostering future collaborations.

Accented body was funded by the Australia Council, Arts Queensland, the Korean Culture & Arts Foundation, QUT Creative Industries and the Brisbane Festival.

Dr Cheryl Stock AM is a choreographer, director and currently a postgraduate supervisor at the Queensland University of Technology.