Memory Go Round Stimulates the Senses
Wednesday 13 October 2021
The Memory-Go-Round project was driven by the stories of disabled artists from VALID led by artists Zya Kane and Takashi Takiguchi in partnership with Belgium Avenue House and Yarra City Council. The creative team presented the work of Memory-Go-Round, intended to be a live immersive multisensory performance the team were able to pivot to create a series of short films, presented on zoom accompanied by a sensory pack delivered to audience goers.
VALID is an award-winning organisation that has been at the forefront of advocating for people with a disability in Victoria. VALID aims to empower people with intellectual disability to exercise their human rights and citizenship status within their local communities; inform and influence the policies and practices of disability service agencies, governments and have control and influence over the decisions and choices which affect their lives.
In 2020, VALID focused on an initiative called ‘Stories from Home’ based on responses to prompts sent in lockdown. the Memory-Go-Round project extended these stories and others into immersive/sensory experiences and engaged with other disabled/non artists in the VALID/BANH and Yarra community.
The project aimed to share a process of storytelling through the exploration of the senses. Through this process the artists were able to open storytelling beyond the written or spoken words, to create a multi-disciplinary, sensory presentation where smell, image, sound, texture and taste envelop the audience.
Stay tuned for the next stages of Memory-Go-Round here
Community Arts Officer Olivia Allen caught up with the creative team led by Zya Kane, to get an insight into the creative experience.
How did the project start?
The Memory-Go-Round project was dreamt up by theatre maker, Zya Kane who has been exploring sensory theatre and how to create a process to create stories using the senses. The idea was shared with a group of PAGs (Performing Arts Peer Action Group) from VALID while in a lockdown ZOOM meet and generated a lot of interest. From here we applied for the Annual grants to Yarra City Council and were successful!
What is the process behind the show?
The project is very much driven by the process of exploring the senses with the artists, the artists drive the stories, memories and creation of their own piece. Each artist chooses a memory they would like to turn into a sensory story sharing and then we explore how they want to do this depending on their sensory interests, what has come up in sharing, ideas and how things are remembered. We include as many senses as the artist chooses to attempt to create a memory sharing that others can experience and feel through the senses.
Some words from the performers about the experience...
Tammy - "I loved it! Made me happy and proud, it was great fun and I enjoyed myself so much. I want to do more.”
Barry - "I enjoyed it, the whole thing... It was great seeing everyone and to have a nice audience to see what we did. Shame we couldn't do it in person like we planned, maybe we can do that, and I can bring some stuff from my garden!"
Gerard – “I'd like to do it again; it was really interesting… different. I need to be patient with myself! Next time I will plan my makeup better, maybe get some new stuff.”
David - "It was so great to continue, and I want to thank everyone. It was great to see the stories come to life and see everyone's pieces and have an audience see it too.
I really liked learning a new way, as an artist to tell a story through the senses. I would love to do it live the way we planned it, it's a great experience to share."
Maddie - " It was an amazing, unique experience. I really enjoyed it and seeing the pieces like that put together. It would be good to do more; I'd love to and connect. Thanks to everyone, I hope we can do more."
How you were able to pivot in response to the lock down and what positives came out of it?
We had come up with a COVID plan when applying for the grant. Luckily, we did get to start all together at "The Factory" supported by BAHN Neighbourhood House and spent 4 of 8 sessions exploring the senses and getting to know each other. The group were positive about continuing when the choice was made with the team, and we held firm that art continues no matter what!
Luckily the creative team were flexible and came up with ways from parts we had filmed and recorded in early sessions (luckily!!), individual processing with each artist and some families and bending creative thinking to find a way to reach the expectations of the project.
There were so many positives, meeting up once a week on ZOOM together and then with individual artists gave a sense of connection and continuity.
Some people were having a hard time and it gave a moment to see others' faces, lift each other's spirits, create art and share!
We found a way of creating that we wouldn't have thought of if not pushed to the situation and feel inspired to continue exploring ways to create sensory/immersive stories that can be experienced at home.
What do the performers love about performing and what they get out of it?
Tammy -" I get nervous, but excited. It's a good energy. I feel happy. I'm glad I got to watch it. I was nervous watching it!"
Barry - " I love it. I'd like to be an artist. I like to make people laugh too, makes me feel good seeing that."
Gerard - "I feel good once I get it right!"
David - " I like learning different techniques as an actor. I feel I grow each time I perform."
Maddie - " I would love to do more. Can we do more?"
Memory-Go-Round would like to acknowledge the custodians of the land on which this work was created the Wurundjeri peoples.
Co-creators/performers of the VALID PAG's - Tammy Smith, Barry Robinson, David Baker, Gerard Langridge and Madeleine Prasad.
Artistic Director - Zya Kane
Film and Sound Design - David Hansen
Creative Producer - Takashi Takiguchi
Again, a big thank you to our partners and supporters: Yarra City Council, VALID - PAG’s group and Belgium Avenue Neighbourhood House.