Hyperreal Tales visits RAG, Capalaba

Visit Redland Art Gallery this August for some Hyperreal Tales, a video installation featuring  twelve interweaving stories, drawn from the experiences and imaginations of people accessing  local health and disability services in the regional New South Wales.

Three years in development (2013-2015), Hyperreal Tales premiered at the Shoalhaven Art Centre and Regional Gallery, NSW in March 2016.

Director/choreographer of Dance Integrated Australia, Philip Channells and Sydney based filmmaker Sam James’ long-running work with 19 people between the ages of 10 – 65 has had magical results.

It all started when, as an artist in residence at Bundanon Trust in 2011 with Restless Dance Theatre, Philip Channells offered to run some dance workshops for the local community.

“At that time Bundanon was looking to develop a cohesive arts project to connect with the local health sector, a project that had a long-term vision, something that could evolve over time,” Channells said.

“Bundanon put out a call to the local networks to begin the process. It was quite flexible and open, dependent on the uptake and interest of the community.”

Over the three years that followed, the participants became inventive story tellers, using movement as a starting point, sharing their ideas and insights and participating in creative explorations.

“Making connections over a three-year period allowed us to get to know people not only as creatives who eventually became subjects of the portraits in the films, but as people living their real and sometimes imagined lives,” Channells said.

The final result was a video installation of five viewing screens with twelve interweaving stories, told through dance, images, illustrations, words and music.

Filmmaker Sam James combined location and studio shoots, using a chroma key backdrop to transport performers into virtual, hyperreal landscapes.

James said the hyperreal is pretty much standard life – the merging of the virtual and actual in our everyday lives.

“One thing I enjoy the most about working with community, most of whom wouldn’t consider themselves professional artists, is the way that experimentation through visual recording of movements, drawing, writings, objects and landscapes all mean something to someone.

“The collation of all these little parts starts to reveal deeper layers of dreams and the psychology of a person. A portrait begins to form,” James said.

The Hyperreal Tales installation format is accessible – suitable for wheel chair users – and includes captioning and audio description options.

Hyperreal Tales opens at Redland Art Gallery, Capalaba on 12 August and continues until Tuesday 3 October.

Image: Sam James, Still from Hyperreal Tales – John van Doom’s Story 2015, film still. Courtesy of the artist and Bundanon Trust.

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