Meeting Places: Locating Desert Consciousness in Performance


Over the period 1999-2005, choreographer and dancer Tess de Quincey and a team of international artists conducted a series of art-laboratories and performances in and around the Central Desert town of Alice Springs. These art-labs culminated in the 2005 performance of Dictionary of Atmospheres, staged during the Alice Desert Festival. Drawing upon practice-based research conducted while interning with de Quincey during the development and staging of Dictionary of Atmospheres, Anderson contemplates the way in which moments from the production illustrate the artist’s approach to and articulation of place. Meeting Places offers meditation on the nature of experience as it manifests in serial site-specific art encounters in desert locations.
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Biographical Note

Mary Elizabeth Anderson is an assistant professor in the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre & Dance at Wayne State University. Her research explores dimensions of popular participation in performance, with particular focus on placemaking, teaching artistry and reflective practice.

Table of contents

Prologue. Dream/Archive: The Australian Central Desert as Generative Environment
Chapter One. Dream Disrupted: Figuring the Displaced Thing in Dictionary of Atmospheres
Chapter Two. Spectacular Failures: Site-Specific Festival Performance as a Problem-Idea
Chapter Three. De Quincey in Alice: Transposing Place in the Central Desert
Epilogue. Stretching Time, Writing ‘Groundless Forms of Meaning’: Inviting an Aporetic Consciousness of Reflection into Performance’s Aftermath


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