PA2014 Interview #01

Matter copy


Australian Artist Mick Douglas interviews Mathilde Polmard on the work she is creating with MOM for The Performance Arcade 2014.

MD: So Mathilde you’ve been working with The Performance Arcade for three or four times now?

MP: Since the first year, so this is the fourth year.

MD: And this year is curated around the idea of being ‘In Construction’, and it seems to me that you’ve been a part of that long term construction of the Arcade for quite a while. How has your work developed through The Performance Arcade?

MP: In terms of ‘In Construction’?

MD: In terms of your work being involved each year.

MP: This year is with a new person. The work is fed by Oliver Blair, who is joining our team. But I think mainly what we have always have had in mind for the Arcade is that the work becomes alive when people interact with it. So the preliminary stages are just formalities, and the real stuff happens when the Arcade opens and people interact. So we’ve always kept in mind that our works weren’t complete without the public, without being in that location, without the Arcade being there. That’s great because it’s the best way to test a work and see the interaction. So it started with Cooking Class [PA2011-2012], that was totally dependent on people, we needed people to create that feast with us. And then the cups [Above Our Heads, PA2013] were interactive as well. This is also a different level of interaction between people and the work, that has developed over the years. But we are always mindful that people make the work, people make it what it is, and we kind of set the scene and then they play.

MD: And so this work that you are doing this year is called Matter Matters. Tell us about this.

MP: It’s about earth and soil and matter. There’s a lot to it, and not too much. We like the idea of showing soil, being so raw, being one material that we use, and this reflection on sustainability and the planet we live on and how we use it. Using matter in a raw form, and showing that just that one material that we step on every day can make such amazing thing s is kind of a reflection for people. So yeah, raising awareness about sustainable issues but in a quiet way, in a subtle way, in a hinting way. We all have different interpretations. Our work is quite open. All three of us talk it in very different ways, and we have different approaches, so we all kind of wait for it to happen, and the bigger idea comes out afterwards. Like the cups turned out as an instrument that all these people played. But we never looked at it that way and we fed other ideas through it. So its kind of all these threads that create this web, and in the centre is the work. So what I get out of Matter Matters will be very different from Margarita probably thinks of it and Oli, and what people read in it. Yeah, so its this idea of this ground we step on every day and what we do with it, also the idea of having it loose and then having it compact, and how man-made things is taking nature and taking things putting it in square boxes.

MD: So in each of your works that you’ve been involved in, the role of the audiences or psople and participation is there. How have you seen the audience for The Performance Arcade change over its three or four years. Is it changing?

MP: It is less timid. I think the location of the Arcade has really helped as well, because the first year was around the corner along Taranaki Wharf, and it was very corridor-like, kind of like a museum. It created a museum wall that you couldn’t really touch or interact with, and there was also a taped out area. So it was quite gallery-like and then the architecture started changing, opening and moving, with the stage on the other side. It just became more like a villagey and lively, we gave it more to the people. Before it was about the artists, and its now your playground, this is where you come and play. So people are more allowed to play and join and try and see and come back. So its more theirs and I love how we give that to the people of Wellington, and in such a special spot. So the audiences are more and more going for it I think. With the cups it was magical, because we didn’t know how much people would play with it, whether they would enter or not, and they just loved it and went all over them and played with them. That was like an entry to the inside of the Arcade opening up this other side we hadn’t had before. This year having the double storey, and you bringing more, and growing, and the free music sessions as well bringin more people in is going to be great. I think it is going to be great.

Mick Douglas participates in The Performance Arcade 2014 courtesy of our International Programme Sponsors Bolton Hotel.

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  1. […] contributes to The Performance Arcade 2014 courtesy of International Programme Sponsors Bolton Hotel. Find out more about his work here […]

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