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Lisa Wilson – A Whole Lake Becomes

Feb 11, 2014

Lisa Wilson and Tim Ohl in Lisa Wilson’s Lake. Credit: Fen-Lan Chuang

‘Drop by drop, a whole lake becomes’: Bulgarian proverb

It takes many drops to form a lake.  For Lisa Wilson, the opportunities for her work Lake are the culmination of years of tireless work as an independent artist. Lisa’s body of work moves across genres, having created for theatre companies, opera, large scale installation works, multimedia performances, company commissions and full length independent work.

Three years in the making, Lisa Wilson describes the inspiration behind Lake: ‘it began in 2009 as a trickle of images and ideas from different sources. After seeing a studio showing of Queensland Ballet’s Swan Lake, I began thinking about a work based at an Australian lake. I was inspired by the intense beauty and chilling isolation of a lake, and the primal undercurrents of what lies submerged.  The second development of the work was driven by the image of emotional drowning, or drowning from the inside. We wanted to explore the idea of breaking the surface tension of a relationship and dredging up what lies beneath. The collaborative artists I worked with were my inspiration and we developed the piece together’.  The result is a critically acclaimed work, which was nominated for a 2013 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance.

Lisa is currently preparing to present a twenty five minute excerpt of Lake at the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM). Opportunities for presentation within the APAM schedule, held for the first time in Lisa’s hometown of Brisbane, are invaluable. Acknowledged by the industry as a significant achievement, Lisa describes it as providing ‘international exposure, incredible national and international networking opportunities, critical feedback from international presenters and the very real prospect of (an) overseas tour’. While the long term benefits of presenting in this forum are immeasurable, there is always the question of cost. Bruce McKinven’s aesthetically arresting design alone requires funding for ‘some very heavy pond liners and large wooden frames’, along with artists’ fees, insurance and workcover. In a case of life imitating art, many small donations have contributed to making the remount of Lake possible, with over $7,000 raised through a Pozible campaign.

Promo LAKE from Lisa Wilson on Vimeo.

From APAM, the next step for Lisa will be to take Lake on the road for a Road Work tour, funded through Australia Council’s Playing Australia initiative and managed by Performing Lines, the Australia Council-funded organisation that develops, produces and tours new and innovative Australian performing arts regionally, nationally and internationally. The national tour of Lake includes performances in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia, from March to May 2014.  Included within this tour is a performance and masterclasses, as part of the 2014 Australian Youth Dance Festival (AYDF) in Renmark, South Australia; a week-long event drawing together professional dance artists and youth dancers. Lisa is enthusiastic about the opportunity that AYDF represents: ‘I have spent much of my twenty-year career engaged in the development of audiences for dance and connecting people with an artistic product they see on stage. Opportunities such as AYDF that bring young talented artists together with a broad range of experienced dance professionals are invaluable.’

Next on the schedule for Lisa Wilson will be a creative development period for her new work, Wireless. Partially funded by the Dance Section, Wireless is an ‘inter-media dance theatre work about privacy tracking and control, by Lisa Wilson and composer Paul Charlier, layering dance, music, design and on-stage technology. Bruce McKinven, the genius behind the staging of Lake, has been re-enlisted as designer. The work is being developed with the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts (JWCOCA) through the Fresh Ground Residency program, which provides rehearsal and performance venue support, as well as assistance in developing touring strategies.  From APAM to Road Work to Fresh Ground, Lisa Wilson can be satisfied that 2014 is shaping up to be a good year.