REVIEW: ‘FEAST’ and Failure at Roller Door Projects

October 10th 2018

Sïan Kelly, Blood Moon (www.siankelly.net | @siankellyartist)

FEAST is Roller Door Projects’ debut exhibition, an “atypical dinner party […] set with trays of moreish movements, fresh emerging artists and marinated ideas.” Artistic nourishment is always tantalising. Seán Maroney spoke with producer Kate Stodart to get a taste of the new space’s promise.

Roller Door Projects will offer a space for mixed disciplines of emerging artists to be exhibited without the spectre of perfectionism or elitism that hangs over traditional gallery formats. As such, authentic experimentalism is encouraged, and dialogue between practitioner and audience member hopefully feels unintimidating.

 

Seán Maroney:   How did the idea for Roller Door Projects come about? 

Kate Stodart:   The whole project space came about because everyone [living in the space] was really keen to use the space for more than just living there and hanging out. We were equally keen to utilise the space and equally keen to support Sydney’s arts scene and culture scene rather than just complain about it.

The idea of Roller Door Projects is to support emerging artists in experimental practices. For example, with FEAST I reached out to a whole bunch of people I admired and said “hey, you’re going to have free space, would you be interested in doing something you’ve already done or just creating something weird and new?” and everyone ran with the weird and new thing which is fucking great. […]Everyone was keen to try new things and push their existing practices […]that’s something that Sydney wants, and that’s what – that’s going to work.

SM:   It sounds like a sincerely experimental space that can facilitate experiment’s failing.

KS:   Yes! Oh my gosh yes. Failure is fucking great. I’m so sick of people being like “yeah fail go for it” and then you fail and they’re like “let’s never work with you again.”

 

 

Both audience and artists took to the night with relish. The evening’s ‘menu’ featured performances from Sïan Kelly, Rattus Rat, and Tallulah Rose, experimental video and film by Billie Posters, and a live reading from Soo-Min Shim. All the artists delivered on Roller Door Project’s promise for vulnerable, potentially unpolished experiments, but my highlights were Rattus Rat and Soo-Min Shim.

Rattus’ Taste of the Warm Night Air is a dialogue between performing artist and painting. There’s a painting of a bipedal anthropod with a watermelon for a head and genitals. Rattus enters the space with a quarter of a watermelon covered in fake blood. They augment the painting with the viscera of a watermelon and blood they chew on. Strange and fun, this exemplified what Roller Door Projects’ space might produce.

 

Rattus Rat, Taste of the Warm Night Air 

Soo-Min Shim’s Live Reading was intelligent and personal, provocative and inclusive. She told the audience that it was not meant for their ears, that it was for her and the person it was written to. She expressed the desire of wanting the piece to avoid becoming victim to gendered, racialised, or nationalized analyses. The impossibility of that desire fruiting hummed between the words.

SM:   So one of the site’s goals is where failure is totally /

KS:   / Failure is fine. Yes. And in order for that to happen, for failure to actually be fine, is that the physical space allows for that.  It’s a residential warehouse. There are couches and bean-bags and cushions so everyone will be really relaxed, it’s not people standing around with a champagne in our hands and a boojie canapé in the other hand. […] There are signs of people living there, no matter where you look. There’s not so much of an audience sitting back from the artist vibe because […] they are wandering around, they are part of the audience, they’re just a regular person. […] I’m hoping that people will feel more comfortable in talking to each other and to the artists, that the artists will feel like another audience member after or before their performance.

 

Tallulah Rose, It’s All In My Head 

Roller Door Projects offers an alternative to mainstream independent spaces. Its challenge will be the availability and frequency of use. While its residential space offers a domestic subversion of gallery-norms, its primary purpose is of course to facilitate its residents. Its schedule will be irregular, so we are to expect no “monthly” or “quarterly” type program. FEAST has shown that Roller Door Projects is a fantastic new space that has the capacity to foster emerging artists’ practice in an accessible and intimate format.

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