Review from Labyrinth City
Nicola Morton is an inspired globe trotting-but-locally-based artist with, lately, an interest in time travel, hypnosis, physics, AI, memories, happiness (really hard to pin-point here) and an obsessive streak easily confused with an encounter with the Pink Light… Focusing on her live shows however, they (and like her installations/rituals) are entirely inviting & unpretentious with equal parts of injected confusion & humor, the complex undercurrent of truly inventive ideas set up against a celebratory, near-jubilant backdrop of manic-enthusiasm and the audience being as big of part of the performance as herself through mandatory group participation. From a writing & musical background too, mind, of very selected note a band back in the Euro states, journals and a daedalian arrangement & composition set against a multi-tiered set of rules, a la Cobra, in Life Is A Rubik’s Cube.
Impossible to capture with just a microphone, I’ll have to explain this one: Nicola’s presenting ‘Love Hypnosis Exchange’ – a group activity performance involving several hundred stickers, rules, a/v, breath, hypnosis, your heart. Although this performance was done last week at the Judith Wright Centre tonight’s the authoritative as she skipped a few segments last time: Nicola asks the audience to synchronize our heart beats and breathing so that we are all as one here, we yell ‘crack’ each time our heart beats whilst she does a short, quiet improvised piece with a bowed guitar. The third segment sees her request the audience take a handful of stickers each, about a hundred I think, and to listen to her instructions: She’s going to count to eight whilst you spin around toward people and then a loud beep will sound signifying that you have to swap stickers onto the closest person. There’s going to be a hundred eight-second spins, one taking one second to complete a revolution so yes as it was pointed out eight hundred revolutions. On the ceiling there’s projected visuals and a timer, noise too but I’m focused on the exchanges on the floor. Nicola spins around and through the audience with a keyboard & microphone until the end.
Photos by Isrohan Alvarez and Rin Healy
The thing I took from this performance is happiness; I couldn’t stop smiling. The manipulation: Breathing, your heart beat in synchronicity with the people around you there’s a sense of belonging (who doesn’t want that?) and swapping stickers, or anything, coupled with the confusion of the show itself (bonding together trying to figure it out) you’re bound to the room’s collective effervescence forcing you to realize that there’s really nothing between us at all – any barriers once created by our stupid preconceptions, opinions of one another can be quashed by simply exchanging a smile & a silly little sticker. I don’t know what you thought of it or was though.