Aphids presents Crawl Me Blood

The secrets that you sense but are not told

“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. The work is co-presented by the Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens where it will show as part of their bicentenary celebrations from 11 April – 14 April. The Tasmanian iteration of Crawl Me Blood is presented in association with the Salamanca Arts Centre, Vitalstatistix and Performing Lines. Aphids will also bring the work to the Royal Melbourne Botanical Gardens in spring this year.

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 and system designer Matt Daniels. 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 Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

April 11-14, 2018

Arrive 6:15pm for a 6:30pm start

Tickets available here ($30pp)

Limited capacity, booking essential