Interview: Kelli Mccluskey talks Deviator

Posted by Fiona de Garis, March 22nd, 2013

We have a soft spot for pvi collective. From 2008-12 they were part of the Performing Lines WA family as one of our core artists. They introduced us to the power of public intervention, the power of taking risks and most importantly, the power of fcuking things up once in a while. In their latest work Deviator, pvi invite audience members to take over the city and transform it into a playground. Adapted on-site with a team of local artists called the “motherfcukers”, deviator activates philosophies around revolution, positioning ‘games’ as a potential trigger to alter the official narratives of place. I had a chat with Kelli Mccluskey of pvi collective to find out how the fcuk Deviator works.

Words: Sarah Rowbottam (SR) and Kelli Mccluskey  (KM)


SR. Let’s start from the beginning. What prompted you to make Deviator?
KM. deviator really came from a desire to shift our participatory practice into a terrain where we [pvi] were no longer the interventionists, bringing our audience members along with us for the ride, but to rather hand over that mantle of responsibility to the audience, so they have agency and autonomy within a work. as such they would become the interventionists and we would facilitate and support their experience.

SR. Who are the motherfcukers?
KM. the motherfcukers are an elite team of sly mischief makers who are out on the streets deviating in solidarity with audience members. they play the deviator games, monitor the deviators and have the capacity to award and deduct points to any player they see deviating. they also give the audience members the feeling that the city is truly occupied and hopefully embolden them to play each game with courage and conviction.

SR. What’s your process for coming up with Deviator games?
KM. each deviator game is drawn from a classic children’s game but has been twisted slightly to have either a social, political or spacial agenda which challenges the traditional narratives of public spaces. so for example a game like ‘spin the bottle’ will see a player spin a bottle in a retail area of the city, then go on to undertake a public exorcism of whatever building the bottle faces, aiming to get the ‘sweat’ out of these shops. ring-a-ring-a-roses asks you to undertake some seed bombing in an attempt to bring some nature back into the concrete jungle of the cityscape. some games are highly physical, others like quiet time ask you to lay down in public and just reflect quietly on this environment, something which we never think to do during a busy working day.

SR. What has been a satisfying moment during Deviator thus far?
KM. seeing sweaty, exhilarated people head back into the venue, looking at their scores on the leader board and going to the front desk to book in again to beat their friends!


SR. How have passers-by responded to the work?
KM. mostly it is with curiosity and good humour, perhaps taking the odd photo of players guerrilla pole dancing in the cultural centre or hopping across traffic light intersections in a sack. others scan the qr codes to find out whats going on. if general public scan the codes it takes them to the pvi website with info about the work. some even join in! I love this additional layer of ‘audience’ as our audience members become the performers for general public.

SR. Northbridge can be quite a chaotic and unpredictable thoroughfare (especially on a Friday or Saturday night); what strategies and tools do motherfcukers have for dealing with challenging situations?
KM. yep, this is a very important strategy to cover and it feels very much like planning a military operation, as we need to know where everyone is at all times and make sure they are armed with tools for dealing with difficult people or uncomfortable situations. there is a buddy system so each motherfcuker has a team mate who they check on and message within the work, making sure they are safe and happy. deviator cards have been made to hand out to curious people who want more information. our producer is roaming the streets with a killer smile and a clip board full of permits to deal with any security / police issues. and back at hq we are able to send text messages to players and audience members within the game advising them on any situations that may be arising to be wary of. it’s a very live, fluid performance and we are finding the motherfcukers best weapon of choice is a smile, it sounds simple but its empowering, releases endorphins and can be quite disarming!

SR. What drives you to make site-specific, immersive and interactive experiences in the public sphere?
KM. with much of our work, we situate ourselves and our audiences in public space and for us this very notion of ‘public’, traditionally meaning something that ‘belongs to the people’ is something that is becoming increasingly controlled and replaced with beaurocratic systems, rules and regulations that most people know nothing about. its only when you challenge this that you find a startling minefield of official do’s and don’ts that are deeply restrictive and for us at least sit in direct opposition with the spirit of freedom of movement, behaviour and speech that we are entitled to as individuals. the politics of public space for us is a loaded topic and the more we dig, the uglier it seems to get. but having said that a work like deviator really uses the notion of play, something which is inherent in all of us, as a vehicle to explore and confront this issue in a playful, joyful, hopefully liberating way.

SR. On the topic of permits, restrictions and making performance experiences in the public sphere – how does Perth compare to other cities you have worked in?
KM. well it certainly sits on the more conservative side lets put it that way! I think that official governing bodies have a long way to go in understanding the full potential of popular lingo that is thrown around such as ‘space activation’. from our perspective their needs to be more trust, more generosity and less fear.

SR. If you could let loose in a city without permits or restrictions, what would you do?
KM. dance a dance to the idea of revolution

SR. And lastly, why should the people of Perth deviate from the norm?
because its fun

because you can

because life is short

because without deviation from the norm, progress can never happen.

deviator promo from pvi collective on Vimeo.


19 – 24 March 2013

PICA & The streets of Northbridge

deviator is inspired by the situationist’s psycho-geography and ‘the coming insurrection’ an anonymous book written in 2007 which is part anti-materialist manifesto and part manual for a modern day revolution. deviator activates philosophies around revolution, positioning ‘games’ as a potential trigger to alter the official narratives of place.

watch the how to play deviator movie here:

Australian Theatre Forum 2013 Funding Guidelines

Posted by Fiona de Garis, March 8th, 2013

So I hear that the Australian Theatre Forum 2013 received more EOIs from independent artists in WA than they did from any other State. Now the State Government of Western Australia is getting behind the charge with this funding imitative to assist with your transport and accommodation costs in Canberra.

Applications close March 22.

Read all the guidelines from the Department of Culture and the Arts below. If you have questions please contact Elaine Seymour, the Performing Arts Project Officer at DCA. I am just a relay station (and cheer squad for your efforts!)

I hope you are ALL selected and receive funding.

Fiona de Garis – Producer


Australian Theatre Forum 2013 Funding Guidelines (from the Department of Culture and the Arts)

The Department of Culture and the Arts is offering a limited funding pool for WA theatre practitioners and arts workers to attend the Australian Theatre Forum 2013 (ATF2013). The forum will be held at the Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra from 28 to 31 May 2013.

ATF2013 is aimed at professional theatre practitioners, producers and commentators and is open to all parts of the industry — independents and project based collectives, small to medium and major companies, producing venues and festivals. The theme for the forum is ‘To the heart of it’ and will focus on the question of ‘what’s not possible’ and includes keynote speakers, panel discussions, artistic tours and working sessions.

The forum objectives are to:

Foster the development of Australian theatre through inspiration, reflection and critical dialogue.Provide an opportunity to gain a national perspective on Australian theatre practice through the forum.Build leadership in the Australian theatre sector.Foster connections across the theatre sector, and provide an opportunity for national networking

 The Funding Opportunity 

The Department is committed to the development of local theatre and is inviting WA theatre practitioners and arts workers to apply for a limited funding pool to attend ATF2013.


Who can apply?


 Who can not apply?



What can I apply for?

Applicants may apply for a contribution to the cost of travel (including ground transport) and accommodation. ATF2013 registration is not eligible.


 How much can I apply for?

Metropolitan based applicants – up to $1,000.

Regionally based applicants – up to $1,200.


How do I apply?

DCA requires applicants to submit:

Support material:


Closing date

Friday 22 March 2013, 5pm   Applications may be posted or hand delivered by 5pm. No electronic submissions (including fax) will be accepted.


Post to:

Australian Theatre Forum, Project Officer Performing Arts, Department of Culture and the Arts, PO Box 8349, Perth Business Centre, Perth WA 6849


Deliver to:

Australian Theatre Forum, Project Officer Performing Arts, Department of Culture and the Arts, Level 2 Reception (enter off Murray St), Gordon Stephenson House, 140 William Street, Perth



The Department will notify applicants via email or telephone by Friday 12 April 2013.


Standard Artflight provisions apply to this program; unsuccessful applicants have no claim against DCA for monies expended in anticipation of the application result. Applicants are advised to make themselves aware of cancellation provisions regarding ATF2013 registration, accommodation and airfares.


Contract and acquittal

Successful applicants will be given a grant contract and will be required to acquit the funding. Refer to the DCA Arts Grants Handbook for information regarding acquittals. Payment of the grant will be conditional on submission of evidence that the registration process has been completed.  Email confirmation is acceptable.


IMAGE: Courtesy of the Australian Theatre Forum 2013