Photo shoot with David Collins and Aimee Smith for Accidental Monsters of Meaning at the WA Museum.

Posted by Morgan Leek, March 23rd, 2011

Accidental Monsters of Meaning. Photo David Collins. Performer Rhiannon Newton.
Photo: David Collins Performer: Rhiannon Newton

A few months ago independent choreographer Aimee Smith approached me to take the reins of the marketing and media for her new work – Accidental Monsters of Meaning.

Having worked previously with Aimee in 2010 on her first full length solo work Breakings at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, I was more than happy to step up to the job.

Accidental Monsters of Meaning is a performance with a twist. For this work Aimee has decided to turn the Western Australian Museums Temporary Exhibition Space into quasi dance installation, inviting the audience to navigate through the space, like they would at a exhibition or museum, and engage with the work at their own pace.

Emerging from display cases, five dancers twist and turn through imagery of consumer culture, are remotely controlled by the audience and travel through an Arctic wonderland.

Accidental Monsters of Meaning continues Aimee’s interest in the impact mass media has on modern life. According to Aimee, “The work delves into the contradictions which exist in humans – our instinct for survival and yet our species’ inability to comprehend its own demise. The beauty of this work is its ability to allow the audience to view humans and our behaviours as we would any other specimen.”

When Aimee first asked me to market this work with a limited budget we quickly agreed that the best way forward was to focus our energy and resources on creating a set of strong promotional images that would speak to our large and diverse audience: museum patrons, contemporary dance supporters, visual arts goers, and the general public.

This work has one big edge (of course there are others) from a marketing point of view: it is a contemporary dance installation presented in a venue not traditionally associated with dance. Leveraging off this unique situation, my approach for marketing the work was fairly simple: to take the inherent properties associated with ‘the museum’ (that is, animals and specimens on display) and merge them with contemporary dance in a clever and creative way.

Museum of Natural History
Photo: Sarah Rowbottam

Working with local artist David Collins, who is known for using taxidermy animals in his artworks, we headed to Guilford’s best kept secret taxidermy museum – The Academy of Natural History. Run by a lovely chap by the name of Michael Buzza, who kindly let us move and re-position the animals, we created a set of images which positioned the dancer like a specimen (or animal) on display. The results were stunning and thanks to the persistence of Stephen Bevis, Arts Editor from The West Australian – we were able to land the holy grail of prime media positions – the Today cover.

The West Australian's Today Cover, Accidental Monsters of Meaning

To top it off, we brought John Macliver from Cut & Paste DVD into the space to make a snappy 30 second promotional video which we sent viral earlier this week.

My tip for marketing? Strong promotional images, a viral video campaign and finding the right creative minds for the job.

Big thanks to David Collins for stepping up to the role of photographer and directing the shoot, Rhiannon Newton and Aisling Donovan for performing in the shots, Abdul Abdullah for assisting, Ainsley Canning for setting up the display cases, John Macliver for his filming skills, Aimee Smith for her creative vision and the Western Australian Museum for putting up two massive billboards of the image at the Mount Lawley Subway South Bound and 269 James Street, Northbridge. If you happen to go past please take a picture and post it here! We still haven’t had a chance to swing past.

Accidental Monsters of Meaning will be at the Western Australian Museum – Perth from this Friday 25th March until Sunday 3rd of April (10am – 2pm weekdays, 12pm – 4pm weekends). Entry is FREE!

Visit or for more information.

Written by Sarah Rowbottam, Communications Manager for Performing Lines WA.

Filed under Aimee Smith

Tawdry Heartburn's Manic Cures at WOMADelaide

Posted by Morgan Leek, March 12th, 2011

Last week James Berlyn performed 83 shows of Tawdry Heartburn’s Manic Cures in four days at Australia’s best world music festival WOMADelaide.

A massive 1700 secrets donated by Festival punters filled the ever expanding Wall of Secrets. A selection can now be viewed online here.

What are your favourite secrets from WOMADelaide? Share them in the comments box below.

Tawdry Heartburn will be heading to Tasmania’s Ten Days on the Island between 25 March – 3 April. During Ten Days, Tawdry Heartburn will take a road trip between Hobart and Devenport, visiting nine communities on the way. Passers-by can enter one of Tawdry’s road-side mobile polling booths and divulge a secret via his mechanical “gossip machines”.

The booking hotline is now open!
To book an appointment with Tawdry, phone the Manic Cures hotline on +61 [0]447 330 644 between Sat 19 – Wed 23 March 2011 4-7pm (EST).

James Berlyn’s performances at Ten Days on the Island are supported by the Department of Culture and the Arts.

Filed under James Berlyn