Posted by Morgan Leek, March 23rd, 2011
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.
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.
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!
Written by Sarah Rowbottam, Communications Manager for Performing Lines WA.
Filed under Aimee Smith