Kate McIntosh, the New Zealand-born artist-in-residence at the Kaaitheater, is reprising four of her creations. Get ready for funny, interactive theatre that judges science, experimentation, group work, and sensitivity on their merits.
“Both my parents are scientists, so growing up I shared their experimental viewpoint on the world. The piece Dark Matter (2009) came about after I did some reading about quantum physics. At the time, quantum physics was quite new to the general public and I was really fascinated by the fact that these new scientific proposals were also challenging on a philosophical level. Like the fact that atoms are mostly empty space, which reduces your own body to a piece of dust. Or the fact that there are multiple layers of time, not only the one that we occupy. Dark Matter is very much about the tension between knowing these challenging and in a sense spiritually liberating facts, and the concrete socio-political reality we find ourselves in. But it is also fun as I enjoyed contrasting the almost inconceivable scientific thoughts with clumsy amateur science experiments.”
“In his 2012 book Together, sociologist and former musician Richard Sennett explores how people with different perspectives and value systems but who live in proximity to one another find ways to cooperate. That was an inspiration for my series of performances that invite the audience towards agency, participation, and physical involvement. It is not about aiming to find consensus, but about trying to let a group find ways to do things together even while there are points of disagreement. This is clear in Worktable (2016), but particularly in In Many Hands (2017). Sennett also talks about music rehearsals, and how without speaking, the musicians hold responsibility for their own art but at the same time are receptive to what is going on around them. In Many Hands is about delicate physical contact between the members of the audience, who can think for themselves but also connect to what their neighbours are doing and thinking.”
“Worktable was particularly inspired by New Zealand, where I come from. I was there in 2011 when the big earthquake in Christchurch destroyed the centre of the city. Luckily, there were few casualties, but in my hometown of Wellington, which is actually most vulnerable to earthquakes, from that moment on people walked around thinking every ten minutes about where they would shelter if the long-expected Big Earthquake struck. Running these scenarios of the whole thing coming apart in your brain was stressful but also strangely exciting. Because you were constantly imagining huge change. The idea that these old Victorian buildings could suddenly be atomised was in a sense liberating. Worktable is, in a miniature version, a way to meditate on those sentiments. What if you chose to open up or hit to pieces an object that has always represented recognizable ideas or familiar functions, and then to reshape it in an unfamiliar form?”