Aviary Paradis
Aviary, A Suite For The Bird by Phillip Adams Balletlab

Premiered at Melbourne Festival, Arts House North Melbourne Town Hall 2011. Toured at MONA FOMA, Theatre Royal Hobart 2012 and Teo Otto Theater Remscheid Germany 2014

Phillip Adams Balletlab, a contemporary dance performance organisation commissioned the design and construction of a jungle paradise for the finale of their latest work - ‘Aviary, A Suite for the Bird’.

‘Aviary, A Suite for the Bird is a soaring treatise on the impulse toward spectacle and display, a flamboyant dance performance of exotic birdlife and uncommon adornment… The finale is a staged courtship of avian behaviours and in particular the New Guinean birds of paradise and the bowerbird…’ - Phillip Adams

Research included the bowerbird’s extraordinarily complex courtship and mating behaviour, where males build a bower to attract mates, often festooned with a variety of brightly-coloured man-made and natural objects. The males spend hours arranging these collections, often colour-coding them to attract females.

The handcrafting creation of the two bower nests replicated the behaviour of the bowerbird by gathering urban materials and reimagining them into alluring spatial and immersive worlds via precise articulation of intuitive pecks, wefts and warps. Recycled materials such as nylon bird netting, hydraulic hose, trailer reflectors, cable ties were hand-woven into black netting via an intuitive if not hypnotic state of mind over a period of three months.

A variety of references informed the anachronistic form and pattern of the bower nests and environment, including Yves Klien’s monochrome ‘Blue Epoch’ artwork ‘IKB 191, 1962’, modernist Architect Gio Ponti’s seashell patterns within hotel Parco Dei Principi, temples & tepees and the weaving habits of New Guinean tribes.

The jungle paradise was reinforced with a perforated silver reflective backdrop and green foliage clippings collected from local gardens and erratically dispersed throughout the duration of the finale.

Photography Peter Bennetts

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