On March, 2014, Catherine Ryan and I, with choreographer Ashley Dyer, presented a development showing of Nothing to See Here (Dispersal), a stylised performance about the maintenance of public order in our society, as part of Arts House’s Festival of Live Art program. There were two performances, the first at North Melbourne Town Hall’s Main Hall and the second at the Meat Market’s Oven space.
Dispersal was a choreography of crowd dispersal in which a team of twenty-two performers employed the techniques of crowd controllers, security guards, ushers and police to circulate, maneuver and divide the audience. Over approximately 45 minutes, the audience was denied the possibility of freely assembling, and through a number of means its members were progressively delayed, detained, herded and removed from the performance. What was left behind were cleared-out spaces and voids, demarcated with barrier tape, in which it was declared there was ‘nothing to see’. The final few audience members left in the room were grouped together and ‘kettled’ in temporary fencing.
For this work we commissioned the philosophy researcher and poet, Gene Flenady, to reflect on the political capacity of the work. Copies of this essay, which was accompanied by an absurd feedback form, were made available to Dispersal’s audience members as they exited the work.
The essay can be read here: thefuturesofthepast.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/essay-by-gene-flenady-read-the-fine-print
Photos by John Possemato.