Urban Theatre Projects announced a return to Barangaroo with the presentation of Momentum – a new deep listening experience presented in Blak Box, from 1–17 November 2019. Curated by Daniel Browning (Bundjalung/Kullilli/South Sea Islander), this sound work examined the impact of representations of First Nations peoples in global popular culture. Momentum pivoted on the central idea that the past has not passed using the 1983 music video for David Bowie’s Let’s Dance as a starting point.
“Oddly enough this is a sound work about the power of imagery. In the case of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance it’s about the meaning we find as First Nations people in those few short minutes – when someone as visionary and influential as Bowie truly saw us. Personally, I’ll never forget the impact of that moment when I saw blackfellas represented as we really are – as beautiful, strong and empowered cultural beings living on the most storied continent on earth.”
Daniel Browning, Urban Theatre Projects, Momentum Curator
The 1983 music video to David Bowie’s Let’s Dance was a first in its representation of this country’s First Nations peoples in popular culture. Bowie’s music video is partly set on Sydney Harbour, shot from the northern foreshore into the eye of the waterway around what is now Barangaroo. Momentum draws on this game-changing moment in visual culture with music by composer Eric Avery, a spine-tingling vocal performance by Ursula Yovich, a suite of poems and spoken word by emerging new writers and a pulsating symphony in light.
The narrative of the music video is based on the harrowing Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of The Red Shoes, a cautionary tale about materialism and self-obsession – a philosophical death dance – that resonates today. Let’s Dance was unapologetically political – tackling racism, dispossession, forced labour and the British nuclear tests.
“Momentum is the most radical Blak Box program yet. Momentum brings First Nations thinkers, artists, poets and cultural leaders into conversation with a moment in time when Australian race relations where reflected back at us. Momentum asks – have we moved forward?”
Dr Jessica Olivieri, Urban Theatre Projects, Artistic Director
MOMENTUM featured work by Eric Avery (Ngiyampaa/Yuin/Gumbayngirr), Troy Russell (Birrpai/Kamilaroi), Ursula Yovich (An Barra Clan, Burarra/Serbian), Wesley Enoch (Nunukul/Ngugi), Joel Davison (Gadigal/Dhunghutti), Vernon Ah Kee (Kuku Yalanji/Waanji/Yidinji/Gugu Yimithirr), Kirli Saunders (Gunai), Larissa Behrendt (Euahlayi), Lorna Munro (Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi), Evelyn Araluen (Bundjalung), Professor Jakelin Troy (Ngarigu), Larissa Behrendt (Euahlayi), Preston Peachey (Wiradjuri, Malyangapa), Clint Bracknell (Wirlomin Noongar), Jacob Morris (Gumea-Dharawal), Bree Baxter and Tim Jenkins.
MOMENTUM was Commissioned by Infrastructure NSW and supported by the NSW Government.
MOMENTUM was made possible thanks to the generous support of the following partners: