Opening tonight, Phillip Adams BalletLab (PABL) proudly presents New York City-based queer writer, director and choreographer, Jack Ferver in residence at PABL’s new venue for contemporary art and performance, Temperance Hall in South Melbourne. Presenting Ferver’s work Mon, Ma, Mes (Revisite’) we spoke to Ferver before opening night about how the residency was going, how he is finding Melbourne and his work and performance styles.
His work often examines personals and psychological, socio-political issues and other strong themes of self and the world around us.
“In my early training, the ideas of catharsis and the importance of art being efficacious were deeply impressed upon me. My first fascination was with classics and psychology, and that remains today. I believe that art has the innate ability to dispel loneliness, to give voice to that which we try to keep secret” he said.
“An artist is like the stomach of society, we digest the indigestible. Mirrors are frequently used in my work, as that is another role I see myself as; A mirror. And as happens with mirrors, you don’t always see what you would like to see. All art is political; it’s either waking you up or putting you to sleep. Now, more than ever, we need to be woken up. We need to see our selfishness and dissociation. We need to make friends with our internal multifaceted characters. We are seeing (again, as happens with history) what happens through “divide and conquer””.
He’s deeply artistic and poetic in the way he speaks and describes his works.
“People are easier to divide when they are also divided within themselves. By showing the fractured person vis a vis these clamouring personas, in all its humour and pathos, I’m seeking to ventilate and create a space of discovery and deeper conversation as to why and how we create our frictional psychologies. It’s up to each person to find how they may work with it” he said.
This work is different to the range of performances he has previously presented in New York.
“This one is a solo. And it’s minimal. While I’ve done another solo, and am sure I’ll create others, this one is stark. I’m the medium. No lighting or new music composition or fancy costume. It’s a different kind of gauntlet to get through. I refer to the work as an “emotional formalist solo”. I inhabit states of being quickly and exactly. This work has and continues to have many discoveries for me. There is a whole section that I created and perform through dissociating myself from my body” he said.
This is his also first time in Melbourne.
“I’m in love with Melbourne. I’ve never been anywhere that reminds me of the feeling I had when I first arrived in New York. I’m trying to figure out how to be here more. I’ve found a very familiar sense of humor here. A sense of humor is so important. It shows the wit in seeing things as they are. There is also a great feeling of artistic and academic vitality here” he said.
He has a really simple, beautiful message and vision to share with audiences- That they aren’t alone.
He doesn’t want to give away the format of the performance, but it’s part lecture, part performance, and he worked in different ways to devise this as a choreographer and director, but he doesn’t want to give it all away.
“I’ll say that in this work I look to inhabit and indict the narcissism of artists (or anyone) who thinks they are really “important”. However, as I made it, it felt too easy to have it just be a nasty joke, so I also explore how and when someone might become like that. I use everything from psychoanalysis to films to my own history to circle in on how the super ego can take over, and what’s underneath” he said.
He’s the first international Artist in Residence at the Temperance Hall venue with Phillip Adams BalletLab, and he’s in love with being here.
“Phillip has been the true meaning of a curator. He is nurturing and supporting me and my work. I have also found in him a very kindred spirit. We come from similar entry points and so our discourse is always rapid fire, as well as frequently laughing till tears. I have found in him, and Temperance Hall, a home. The process has been a dream. I have full access to the space which has allowed me to expand and go deeper and darker with the work. There is so much vulnerability required of me in my work, and this has been an ideal place to be able to access that” he said.