“Blackness in the white imagination has nothing to do with black people.” Claudia Rankine
Crawl Me Blood is a sound and video installation produced by Aphids and designed by Halcyon Macleod and Willoh S. Weiland to take place in a botanic garden setting at night.
Aphids will bring this performance to the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival for five shows from Wednesday 29th August until Saturday 1st September.
The Melbourne iteration of Crawl Me Blood is presented in association with the Salamanca Arts Centre, Vitalstatistix and Performing Lines. The show debuted in April earlier this year at the Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens Hobart, Tasmania.
Taking its inspiration from Wide Sargasso Sea – a work of modern fiction written by Caribbean author Jean Rhys – Crawl Me Blood is the result of a rigorous six-year process of research, writing and development. ‘Crawl me blood’ is a Caribbean phrase that means ‘the secrets that you sense but are not told’. This interpretation invites an Australian audience to unpack their own views on race and gender in the ferment of a post-colonial world.
Contained within the manicured boundaries of the botanic gardens, the audience are given a map, a small FM transistor radio and perhaps a nip of rum. As a group, they move to a series of different locations in the gardens where, imbued by the atmosphere, smells and sounds of the gardens at night, each audio scene unfolds.
Presented as a pre-recorded radio drama adapted from Rhys’ novel, the audience follow the story of a young Australian woman as she travels to the Caribbean for her grandmother’s funeral where she must reckon with the reality of her colonial inheritance.
Crawl Me Blood has been co-created by Halcyon Macleod and Willoh S. Weiland with composer Felix Cross, performers Natasha Jynel, Zahra Newman, system designer Matt Daniels and video artist Lucy Benson. The team of Australian artists all have connections to the Caribbean region (Trinidad, Belize, Jamaica, Barbados) and their experiences contribute to the content of the radio drama.
“Ultimately this process has led us to look more deeply into the gardens we have made here in Australia, the land that lies beneath us. Every Botanical Garden in Australia is rare jewel at the centre of the city, each is a uniquely colonial space that illuminates our shared history of both violence and beauty,” says Willoh S. Weiland.
The work is bookended by two original video works to be viewed in an enclosed space such as a conservatory or greenhouse. These stunning and confronting video works speak to the core themes of race and gender in the work. It is scored by original music composed by Felix Cross and a collection of evocative contemporary and traditional music drawn from the Caribbean region including Dancehall, Ragga, Calypso and Soca.
Crawl Me Blood
Presented by Aphids
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Wednesday 29 August – Saturday 1 September, arrive at 6.45pm, show begins at 7pm each night
Additional show on Friday 31 August, arrive 9.15pm for 9.30pm start
Tickets available here $30pp