NO, you’re not having a crazy dream about Waldecks, you’re in the lush heart of the art installation/dance show Hundreds + Thousands.
Audience members bring their own plants and are surrounded by plants during the tactile show that blends dance, video, sound and art.
The work is the brainchild of Luke George and Daniel Kok, who both perform in the show and choreographed it.
“Hundreds + Thousands is a story for people and plants,” George says.
“It’s very important to us that people know it’s also for the plants – they’re not just there for decoration.
“Over the course of the performance, plants will be brought into the performance area and placed in different arrangements as the work slowly dissolves into an exhibition.
“We want people to pay attention to what plants ‘see’. There will be a strong sense of everything breathing together as you sit amongst a makeshift garden.”
With live “vocalisations” from Alice Chang, smoke machines, atmospheric lighting and a deconstructed piano accordion, the show is set to be a surreal affair.
But at the heart of Hundreds + Thousands is a simple message about the environment and how plants can help us chill.
“The climate crisis is something that pervades our minds and we’ve woven this feeling into the work,” George says.
“We want people to feel a sense of intimacy, openness, calm and connection – the kind of feeling you get after a yoga class – but there’s also this urgency and concern for the state of our environment.
“We’re both plant lovers but the work does contain this tension between the beautiful arrangements of the plants, which is then intruded upon by plastics and other human elements that filter into the natural experience.”
The show is a trans-Indian Ocean affair with George hailing from Melbourne and Kok from Singapore. The creative duo have already received praise for their show at last year’s Rising Festival in Melbourne, where they reimagined Andrew Krakouer’s 2011 Mark of the Year and examined Melbourne’s obsession with AFL and the social issues connected with the sport.
Kok has an an MA in solo/dance/authorship and is artistic director of Dance Nucleus in Singapore, which focuses on trans-local partnerships in Asia and Australia.
George’s art is informed by queer politics and he has performed and collaborated with performers and artists across Australia, Asia, Europe and North America.
“The idea for the show [Hundreds + Thousands] first came to us in 2018 but had to be dramatically adapted thanks to covid-19,” George says.
“We’ve shown it online at Liveworks in Sydney and at the Singapore National Gallery.
“We’ve also responded to the pandemic – how people feel being at home, and the place that plants played in our lives at home.”
Aside from all the environmental issues, Hundreds + Thousands is lively and lots of fun with George citing Paula Adbul as his unofficial dance mentor.
“I never went to dance school so I’d never even heard of a choreographer until I saw Paula Abdul’s videos on VHS,” he says.
“I must’ve watched these 100 times…”
Hundreds + Thousands is showing at PICA in Northbridge from October 13-15.