[End of April. Beginning of May] Jennifer Callaway’s reflections

“Last Spring I was involved in a strange performance outside the State Library of Victoria. It was a kind of intersecting collaboration devised by 默契 (Moe Chee) and inviting The Hi God People – featuring compelling sound and movement from Clinton and Chun-Liang, and surrealist ball games amongst the rest of us. We developed a bizarrely eventually harmonious connection with a heckler. And Chun-Liang struck me as an incredibly engaging dancer, flowing with and against all surrounding phenomena.

“This Autumn, Moe Chee ran a whole week of unauthorised State Library forecourt shows entitled End of April, Beginning of May. This time, there was a distinctly political flavour swelling in the earlier part of the week – security guards expressed concern and multiple warnings about interacting harmlessly with any of the monuments, performers read from and circulated torn infringement notices. And then beautiful rituals were performed in the wee hours. Two of the seven guiding principles for the week were ‘We seek interaction with audiences/passersby, but we do not force it.’ and ‘We embrace potential confrontations without provoking them.’

“On Friday eve 11pm – 12.30am, peak hour for the swarms of party people, it was my turn to join. I wanted to swim through the night, and wore a vintage bathing cap, goggles and thermals. I packed a faux metal detector, tiny tiny micro rake to clean up individual leaves around the feet of passers-by, a feather duster to briefly demonstrate gently/cheekily to security staff a high and safe regard for the statues, and a little paper cup megaphone. Responses from ‘the public’ ranged from delight and requests to participate, to cowering and an instance of confused brief verbal lashing.

“We performed as satellites to each other for the first while before eventually drifting into a much closer orbit. By this time, we were all in a trance – Clinton and Chun-Liang were exhausted and unwell from a long week, and I’m a natural tripper. I don’t recall much of what happened during this phase, I was lying on concrete and Chun-Liang hovered over me. We were all making sound. It felt transcendental. This part was filmed.

“The following afternoon we gathered for a picnic in the same spot. Was it a show or not? Shani popped sherbert in her mouth close to our ears while Clinton drummed on food. Ernie Althoff showed up and posed with an umbrella. Chun-Liang climbed all over everyone as they read aloud from books. A guitarist played nearby. Carmen filmed the sky and captured the sounds.

“‘What did we achieve?’ asks Clinton… I guess… an interesting time lapsed record of all hours of the day in all weathers in a central place over a week… small public expressions of alternative world views and individual quirks… new neural pathways and knowledge from the social experiments… fulfilling of self-dares and challenge… synchronicity and solidarity with each other and some members of the public… but it seemed more for us than any audience member… an adventure.

“Thank you everyone.”

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