“I want you to come in, to lie down – to hold me, just for a minute.”
Current view from my North Melbourne, Naarm balcony, home for the next couple of weeks.
The reason I’m in Australia for the first time in a decade, and in Naarm (Melbourne). Once again Rest Area, the first work I did with Onyx Carmine / S.J Norman. (Also Stone Tape Theory, which is next week and for another post.)
The truck of Rest Area will be parked out the back of Arts House at North Melbourne Town Hall for the first week of FOLA Festival of Live Art. Onyx and I will be Door Bitch-ing and in the bed from Wednesday until Sunday, joined by a pack totalling seven, including Virginia Barratt and Carly Sheppard (whom I last saw in Peckham, London at Take This, For It Is My Body).
I want you to come in, to lie down – to hold me, just for a minute.
Rest Area is the invocation and repetition of a familiar desire and a familiar gesture. In the back of a stationary truck, discover an unlikely bedchamber, where you’re invited into a stranger’s embrace.
In a moment of fleeting closeness, audience member and performer enact a fundamental human desire: to hold and be held in the arms of another.
A much-loved signature work originally performed by Norman themself, Rest Area enters its second decade of life re-scored for a cast of diverse bodies. Simple and profound, Rest Area is a one-to-one meditation on longing, comfort, and the melancholy eroticism of loneliness.
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
4–10pm, Wednesday 14 March
4–10pm, Thursday 15 March
4–10pm, Friday 16 March
4–10pm, Saturday 17 March
12–6pm, Sunday 18 March
Duration: One-on-one sessions for 15 mins
Tickets: $20 / $15
Leaving my first chalky marks on the wall. 6 metres down, around 110 metres to go.
The bridge is an endless, low serpent stepping across the marshland. I took Onyx’ bike and rode back to Scienceworks, to the long bluestone wall on the side of the Yarra. I haven’t climbed bluestone in ten years. Fingers and body remember but cannot. I walk from one end to the other and back, more than 100 metres of hard climbing in both directions, feeling the rock with fingertips and toes. I remember when I first started climbing the railway bridges in Balaclava, East St. Kilda, it took me months to be able to string together one traverse, months more to reverse it, months again to do the other side of the road. This is the same, but harder.
Climbing walls to get at science. Climbing walls around the back when there’s a locked gate up the front side. Climbing walls “like, it’s literally a metaphor, lol.” In the end, I find the first several moves. Still more than 100 metres to go.
This is when Strada Bianche became the classic it always was. Everything I love when I ride: cold, wet, snow, rain, mud and gravel, cobblestones, hours of enduring suffering, becoming one with the earth and weather, winter and spring. And watching women’s racing excel in the last couple of years.
After seeing Gabrielle and Luke, on the way to Arts House.
I went into town to meet Gabrielle and Luke, old friends I’ve met across the world. The skyline is more dense. A city I remember and a city I do not know. So much has changed. The city I left — had to leave — remains, like sediment laid down, but a new city has been making its own strata, and a much older one unfolding into this.
Suitcase arrived. Panda looking well smug after 24 hour solo flight from Helsinki. Sunset as the change moves in on the end of a 30° summer day. I know this weather.
Bumped into window seat of first row in Business Class on the hope it’d get me out the door quicker to catch my Hong Kong connection. Skansfjärden, Salmen, Rönnskär, Kyrkogårdsön, Porkkala, Lillkanskog, Björkholmsfjärden, Friggesby, Gunnarskulla.