Experimental Collaborations Grant

The Experimental Collaborations Grant will support eight student groups from the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music to create new, extra-curricular creative work. The grant was developed to encourage creativity, experimentation and community building within the student body. It serves as an opportunity for students to combine skills sets and interests to create new, ambitious, and possibly cross-disciplinary work. It also serves as framework for students to build relevant professional skills and gain visibility as emerging creative professionals.

Projects may engage with performance, sound, music, film, writing, or visual art mediums. However, all outcomes must be able to be presented as a digital resource on a project website. Outcomes may take the form of an audio file, text, video file, photographic series, or digital content built into the design of the website.

This program is supported by the SSAF grant program and UMSU Southbank.

A Sensory Field is a multi-disciplinary performance that explores sensory immersion and self-care.
Here, we ask the question:

‘When human-contact is discouraged in this pandemic, how can art evoke sensory memory to simulate positive touch and remind us of human contact?’

Inspired by isolation and touch deprivation, we have crossed our paths to consider the importance of self-care during this pandemic. This is an open-ended collaboration, accessible to everyone in their own comfort of their homes, aiming to address an underlying hunger for sensory stimulation within a wider community, and to help them appreciate their bodies and immediate surroundings again.

A Sensory Field will be developed  by  Sarscha Lewis, Lou Wheeler, Jenn Tran and Derrick Duan, four emerging artists sharing a passion for multidisciplinary performances and collaboration. Sarscha Lewis is an aspiring choreographer, whose main focus is to explore human nature and to create works that leave the audience questioning their own behaviour.
Lou Wheeler is a sound artist who explores the discourse between synthetic hyper-realism
and tactile acoustic experiences. Jenn Tran is an animator, whose digital and analogue experimental animations are driven by her interest in art history. Derrick Duan is an animator who seeks to break the fourth wall with visceral, evocative
projection art and performances.

Indoor Yachting is a project that stems from the questioning of how seemingly trivial and mundane objects or experiences add to the rhythm of life. In turn, elevating these elements of the everyday into more noticeable occurrences. Indoor Yachting is a small enquiry and exploration of these notions. Negotiating the potential for quotidian objects and experiences to cultivate a sense of grounding or new found intrigue throughout our collective monotony and day to day; especially throughout the COVID 19 lockdown. Indoor Yachting debuted at the VCA Artspace from the 24th of August until the 28th of August, and is now presented in a publication that can be viewed at www.indooryachting.com. This publication is available to order as a physical book as well as being available digitally.

Indoor Yachting is curated by Rebecca Suares-Jury and consists of eleven VCA artists currently studying, as well as 3 alumni and a guest artist. Featuring: Caitlin Aloisio-Shearer, James Ashley, Darcey Bella Arnold, Aretha Brown, Shanae Davies, Grace Culley, Matlok Griffiths, Evangela Lines-Morison, Travis MacDonald, Thomas Minchinton-Kimpton, Madeleine Minack, Eleanor Newbound, Lisa Radford, Miream Salameh and Rebecca Suares-Jury. With written contributions from Greta Wallace Crabbe (studying drawing at the VCA) in collaboration with Prof Chris Wallace Crabbe and another written piece by Isabelle Carney (currently studying screenwriting at the VCA).

Working with aesthetics of excess and multiplicity presented online, Chelsea Coon and Jess Williams  conceived of this project from a position of humour in attempts to grasp the unknowns of this moment, despite which there is the human desire to connect and make meaning. Amidst sustained physical separation and uncertainty, the artists critically reflect on the way in which popular trends of ‘twinning’ extend to philosophical notions of becoming, located through the digitally-mediated moment of glitch. Here, the artists enact two bodies mirroring each other towards collapse into one—the metaphorical extensions of which speaks to a collective body and the reciprocal desire to see extensions of the matter of ourselves in others.

Jessica Laraine Williams is an artist, writer and researcher. Her current projects interrogate post-human methods and critical identity practices in art. Chelsea Coon is a performance artist and writer whose performances utilise endurance to reconsider limits of the body through its various orientations to space and time.

In collaboration with Chelsea, an established performance artist, Jess will develop her newly unfurling experimentations in performance art practice and documentation. In collaboration with Jess, an established transdisciplinary artist who has worked with digital and web-based components, Chelsea will learn more about the potentials, confluences and generative implications of online presentation.

In a futuristic post technological, technological era ‘A friend for hire’ is inspired by the current lockdown. In a time where it has become mandatory to stay inside, our protagonist lives alone isolated in his apartment. Discovering a new Order A Friend Online app. The cost of the company seems a small price to pay. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic our lives have increasingly gone online. In a future where technology and life have assimilated. Where do we draw the line? And what lengths would we go to for connection?

The crew consists of Jared Plant - Actor and Sound, Bachelor of Music (Interactive Composition) and Madeline Davies -Actor and Director, Masters of Film and Television (Directing). Studying at VCA, Jared and Madeline are a creative duo lucky enough to live together and study courses that complement one another. Utilizing their skills during lockdown and with help from the Experimental Collaboration grant they aim to make work that deals with complex life challenges in relatable and entertaining circumstances

What is it to have a practice of mutual aid?
This project explores the colours, sights and sounds of mutual aid between two multidisciplinary artists.
Tina Stefanou and Jen Valender aim to draw upon their collective skill sets to create new, experimental artworks that document an interplay between the digital and the physical realm. Both artists will use their respective bathtubs as the site for the generation of new experimental written, sound and performance works. The artists will develop a website to be used as an interactive tool for a mutual aid art practice between the artists and the public. This project will be the beginning of an ongoing collaboration that explores the works that the artists are pursuing now and will continue to pursue in the future. Life giving and the practice of nurturing is at the centre of this project, rather than a competitive approach that often clouds art in the making.

The Isolation Improvisation Collective (IIC) is an evolving cast of musicians, artists, dancers, poets, animators and other creatives with a shared passion for innovation and experimentation. The group was formed in a direct response to the COVID-19 imposed lockdown and collaborates through the internet, using this medium as the impetus for exploration. The IIC interprets the limitations and idiosyncrasies of working online as creative parameters for exploration, rather than barriers. Latency, dropouts and glitches become a part of the performance as the collective bring connection, innovation and humanity to the internet concert experience.

The project that the Collective will be working on with support from the Experimental Collaborations Grant will be focussed on using the facilities at the university in a COVID-safe manner, putting musicians, artists and dancers in separate spaces across the VCA and MCM, connecting them all remotely and providing a live streamed, public facing concert. Of course, this is all contingent to change based on government and university restrictions. If the facilities are still unavailable, the group will provide a similar concert from our respective quarantine locations. The Isolation Improvisation Collective has been active throughout most of this year and has developed quite a nuanced style of recursive collaboration - a language of improvisation. The outcomes are often varied and multiple - we will produce a variety of multimedia assets which will be informed by previous sessions and will feed into future ones.

Katarzyna Wiktorski Octet is an instrumental modern jazz/classical ensemble that focuses on exploring lush, ornate arrangements of Kat's original music. This project was formed in 2019 as an experiment intended for a university recital and continued to be Kat's main endeavour. The octet made their debut performing at Lebowskis in early January 2020 and will continue performing and recording together.

After recording and independently releasing two singles from isolation, Kat is currently leading the group to remotely record an EP. With the help from the Experimental Collaborations Grant by the Fine Arts and Music department, (University of Melbourne) From a Distance will be a four track album recorded remotely featuring unreleased material and a new composition. Each member will record in their home space, individually layering their parts to complete each track.

Katarzyna Wiktorski - Piano/Composer/Arranger/Director
Chloe Sanger - Violins 1 & 2
Alexi Kyrkilis-Kalathas - Cello 1
Ffion Stoakes - Cello 2
Jade Nye - Alto Saxophone
William Base - Bass
Ollie Ledi Hanane - Drums