Blak is a psychological work that explores the complex social issues that surround us in the contemporary urban world we live in.
Blak is a psychological work that explores the complex social issues that surround us in the contemporary urban world we live in. It is a world that is blurred, layered and at times contradicting. The richness of this work is its exploration of moments and ideas that live in the grey areas of our lives that often don’t get talked about. Beauty and pain live side by side and it is within their shadows that I found the inspiration to create the visual world for this work.
Blak is very internal and its heart comes from the experiences of Stephen, Daniel and the dancers - what they feel, see and encounter. Sometimes it’s personal and close, other times not, so from a design perspective this throws up a lot of different challenges. The first is to get inside this clan and listen. As an urban clan we shared a trip to NE Arnhem Land in February and our shared experiences ‘on Country’ helped build the bond between us all and shape the work. Spending time on Country fills you up. It’s an experience that you want to hold on to and it reinforces why we are telling these stories.
Every time you start a new work the story being told dictates the rhythm of the creative process. Blak has been about discovering what is happening on the inside – inside your mind and body. The design journey has reflected this and it has taken time for the design to fully reveal itself.
WHEN IT DID EMERGE, THE COMPLEXITIES OF THE WORK SUDDENLY HAD A VISUAL WORLD TO LIVE IN, AND ALTHOUGH BLAK HAS A DISTINCT URBAN FEEL, THE CONNECTION WITH COUNTRY, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY IS STILL RUNNING DEEP THROUGH ITS BLOOD.
The design challenge for Blak has been to take these internal, emotional states and create a world that they can live in and that unifies the sections of Scar, Yearning and Keepers, but also allows them to have their own sensibilities. There is a complex emotional heaviness to this work. The design has to reflect this in some way without being heavy handed and also allow for joy and sadness to live together in the same moment.
I have enjoyed exploring contemporary urban materials like plastics to create the visual world for Blak. It is a material that holds qualities that allow it to transform and not reveal itself all at once. Hopefully the design for Blak holds qualities that allow the audience to experience consciously and sub-consciously what is within the shadows; that which is rarely talked about.