Dangerous Territory

Julien Hobba wrote a piece on ‘Dangerous Territory’, the section of the You Are Here festival that showed Eucapocalyts Now. In this section of the review he talks about EN:


Eucapocalypts Now by Ellie Malbon and Aaron Kirby– Westside, 2pm.

One of the Dangerous Territory curators, Morgan Little, is literally waving the You Are Here flag, leading us to a small stand of eucalypts on the outside perimeter of the Westside precinct. There’s unreconstructed shipping containers on one side, Lake Burley Griffin off on the other, and car parks all around. Ellie Malbon and Aaron Kirby, writers and performers, are about to perform to about 20 of us, again on milk crates. They explain: there will be a performance portion and a conversation portion of this show and a series of objects with provocations (in the form of questions) will move through the audience throughout. I already have the first object in my hands; it’s a computer mouse and it asks me what I would do if I couldn’t ‘click on’. I feel immediately grounded in the performance; they have me.

The performance portion is a series of poetic vignettes with minimal, mimetic movement envisaging life as the world goes through environmental apocalypse. A point is made: the change has already begun. The poetry is evocative and dexterously treads that fine line between the curious appeal of unrelated images and the slow accumulation of a whole world. In the new world, in Canberra, there will be bushfires with flames 40 metres high in the air. The poetry brings to life the poignancy and the immediacy of the environment  – the performance site. I can see the wall of flame rising over the crest of the hills behind what is now the Aboretum (God bless it); I can imagine the small post-apocalyptic communities being described, eking out their existence by the banks of what was the Murrumbidgee, and the remnants of life among the decimated buildings and landscaped environment around me.

During the conversation portion after the recitation ends, I realise we are going to have the same conversation that was happening among the people living in the fictional post-apocalyptic world about how we want to live. This makes sense, because, after all, the change has already started. We talk about the values and assumptions that shape our existence; we talk about big, fundamental changes to our life. The objects being passed among us – like university degrees – begin to feel redundant. A bee runs into my forehead, a small green spider tries to get into my bag before falling out. The whole question asked by Eucapocalypts Now seems to be: how do we stop dying and start living?”

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