Ashley Dyer tremor

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Ashley Dyer

Presented by Arts House

Wed 16 November – Sun 20 November, 50 minutes

Post show Q & A: Thu 17 November

Artist Statement

Ashley Dyer

TREMOR: a seismic shaking movement of the ground before or after an earthquake or volcanic eruption.

TREMOR: involuntary shaking of the body or limbs, as from disease, fear, weakness or excitement.

Tremor is premised on a word play that draws out connections between the two above definitions of the word ‘tremor.’  For us, they led to imagining a man-made world, highlighting the stresses that man has placed on both the environment and people.

Formally, Tremor began over three years ago as a series of artistic collaborations. Together with one artist at a time, I explored the sonic, movement and haptic potential of vibration. Coming out of a similar process to my previous work Life Support, I asked each collaborator to treat vibration as an abstract material—in the same way that a sculptor treats clay or a painter treats paint, I asked them to discover the materials’ potential as a manipulable medium. We experimented with video game controllers, children’s toys, mobile phones, sex toys, speakers, sub woofers, bass shakers, and tactile transducers. 

We tried to simulate earthquakes and liquefaction. We played with the resonant frequency of objects. We broke things.  We researched, dismantled and augmented existing technology.  We abused science and scientific ideas in order to find the art we were most compelled towards.

Tremor is an invention. It is a custom built, roughly 8 by 8 metre vibrating platforms comprising 15 shake tables - earthquake simulators.  Erected on this space are over 270 poles, strips, or sheets of aluminium, brass, copper and sprung steel.  When we charge the platforms with sub-sonic and inaudible sound and the metal on the space begins to move or 'dance'. 

The movement of these dancing poles and metal is then choreographed. The platforms also gives off additional audible sound that become the sound composition for the performance. We make the wooden boards resonate, the steel bases vibrate, the poles of metal, and even the springs sing.  We have built a dancing orchestra of wood and metal.

Immersed within this grassland of metal poles, dancers, Kristy Ayre1, Nat Cursio2 and Jo White3 move in mesmeric but simple patterns. Their movement complements the overarching motion and sound of the kinetic sculpture/musical instrument. 

Importantly, the vast majority of the sound in this performance comes acoustically from the shake tables with only sporadic use of amplification.  It is also important to note—without trying to diminish the talent or significance of the wonderful Nigel Brown—the sound design was a joint effort.  Without the expertise of set designer, and builder, Jason Lehane, lighting designer Travis Hodgson, or the tireless work of James Hogan and Lindsay Templeton, Tremor simply would not sound or move the way it does.

Together, we have created a fully playable instrument: an instrument that can be automated and/or improvised live.  Tremor is a kinetic sculpture and performance where vibration is heard through our ears, seen through our eyes, felt through our bodies, but understood with our imaginations.

Creative Team

Lead Artist: Ashley Dyer
Sound Designer: Nigel Brown
Principal Dancer: Kristy Ayre
Dancers: Nat Cursio and Jo White
Set Design: Jason Lehane
Lighting Design: Travis Hodgson
Production Management: The Rubix Cube
Performers and Assistants: Lindsay Templeton and James Hogan
Associate Producer: Kristina Arnott


ASHLEY DYER (Lead Artist) is a performance maker, producer and workshop facilitator based in Melbourne, Australia.  Although not classically trained as a dancer, singer, actor, visual artist or writer, over the past ten years he has developed his practice extensively in these areas often borrowing from those traditions. His practice consists largely of asking questions and solving personal riddles in order to discover better questions and new riddles.  His work is heavily influenced by artists, groups and performances that emerged out of Sydney's Performance Space between 1985 and 2005. Some of his most notable public work has involved materials such as: falling objects and smoke, and presenting, choreographing and composing them in relation to a dancer's and the audience's bodies. This includes: And then something fell on my head... (Next Wave Festival, 2010) and Life Support (Dance Massive, 2013).

More recently, he has been a lead, or key artist on a number of ambitious political projects: SK!N (George Town Festival, Penang, 2015; Bangsar, 2016; OzAsia Festival, Adelaide, 2016); The Chat, (La Boite, Brisbane, 2015; Arts House, North Melbourne, 2016); No More Public Space Only Public Order (Water Cannon, Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart, 2016), and Nothing to See Here... (Dispersal) (Festival of Live Art, Arts House, 2014). He has made work for, and performed in works in a diverse range of contexts both nationally and internationally; sometimes as a dancer, performer, dramaturg, musician or collaborating artist. In 2013, he was awarded a two year Creative Australia, Fellowship by the Australian government’s peak organisation the Australia Council for the Arts. 

NIGEL BROWN (Sound Designer) works with sound across performance, recording and design for many mediums. Elements of instability and negotiation are central to Nigel’s practice. Sound is approached through delving into the unknown: an unstable constructed instrument, an unfamiliar environment, an improvised encounter; and responding to unexpected results.  Currently, based in Taiwan, as a solo artist and ensemble member, he has performed in diverse contexts across the globe.  This includes several dance and theatre works.  Together with Dyer and Lehane, he designed, constructed and composed sound using the installation (set/instrument/kinetic sculpture) that is Tremor.  Each night, he performs the installation live: playing the multi-channel object like a musical instrument/orchestra and making it move in patterns like a choreographer/puppeteer.  

KRISTY AYRE (Principal Dancer) has collaborated and performed for Chunky Move for over a decade (2001-2012) mostly in works by founding Artistic Director, Gideon Obarzanek. She has also previously performed for Lucy Guerin Inc, Shelley Lasica, Frances D’ath, Itoh Kim, Prue Lang, Natalie Cursio, Dario Vacirca, Lee Serle, and Luke George, appearing in numerous prestigious venues and Arts Festivals worldwide.  Additionally, Kristy is the Executive Producer of Phillip Adams BalletLab, a member on the Board of Next Wave and Head of the Green Room Awards Association Dance Panel. She previously Co-Produced the 2015 National Dance Forum, alongside Kath Papas, and was an Associate Producer for the 2012 and 2014 Next Wave Festivals. For Tremor, Kristy is the principal dancer and created much of the choreographic material in collaboration with Dyer.

JASON LEHANE (Set Design) is a director, designer, lighting designer, and performer who has been in theatre since 1983. He has worked with a diverse range of professional arts groups including All Human Theatre, the Victorian State Opera and the National Gallery of Victoria.  Jason has been working with Barking Spider Visual Theatre since 2007, in various creative roles that include: lighting designer, performer, puppet maker, set designer & director.  Lehane joined the Tremor project last year during the second stage development.  Working with the team, he then consolidated and augmented the existing disparate design elements to create and construct the installation (set/instrument/kinetic sculpture) that is Tremor.  Consequently, he ought claim credit not just for 'the set' within the performance but also partially for the sound design and choreography that wouldn't be possible without his work.

TRAVIS HODGSON (Lighting Design) is a Melbourne based lighting designer who has designed lighting for Speak Percussion (Transducer; Circuit; The Black of the Star; Driftwood), Ashley Dyer (Tremor; Life Support; And Then Something Fell On My Head; Somewhere Between Sleeping and Waking, Daydreaming and Living), Matthew Day (MASS; Intermission; Thousands; Cannibal), Sonia Leber and David Chesworth (We are printers too; We, The Masters; Richter/Meinhof-Opera). Travis has also designed lighting for Matthias Shack-Arnott, Natalie Cursio, Martin Del Amo, De Quincey Co, Team Mess, Quiver New Music Ensemble, Linda Luke and Peter Fraser. Travis was nominated for a Green Room Award for De Quincey Co’s Embrace: Guilt Frame (Sydney Theatre Company) and Matthias Shack-Arnott’s Fluvial (Arts House).  His has designed for theatre, dance spaces, installations, public spaces, music venues and galleries across Australia.  He and Dyer have a long standing collaborative relationship of over ten years.

NAT CURSIO (Dancer) creates choreographies, curated programs and developmental platforms under the umbrella Nat Cursio Co. Her work has been presented in Taipei, Seoul, Busan, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Limerick (IRE) and around Australia. Recent projects include: at least for a while anyway (with Daniel Crooks - Carriageworks, LightMoves, ACMI); Recovery (with Shannon Bott and UK-based Simon Ellis - The Substation, choreographer-in-residence);  Blizzard (The Substation, choreographer-in-residence); Private Dances (Next Wave Festival 2010, Darebin Arts 2013, Freespace Fest Hong Kong 2014). Nat is currently in development for Tiny Slopes, a work about learning to skateboard and continuing collaboration with Nicola Gunn on Playing Shop, a live art work for children aged 6-10. Other collaborations include: movement direction for Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday (Ros Oades/Malthouse Theatre); co-devisor, performer for Green Screen (Nicola Gunn/Sans Hotel/MTC); and performer for A String Section (Reckless Sleepers, Belgium/UK). Joining the Tremor team during the second stage development, Nat participates as more than just an ensemble dancer, offering experienced and valued contribution to the creation of the dancing and performance as a whole.

JO WHITE (Dancer) a Melbourne based performer and teacher. She danced with the Hamburg Ballet for four years, performing in all productions in Hamburg and abroad. Between 2002 and 2014 she was a member of Phillip Adams BalletLab, performing in most works and touring extensively with the company. Jo has been involved in numerous artistic collaborations with artists in Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Tokyo. Over the past eight years she has taught ballet and contemporary at the Victorian College of the Arts and has been a regular teacher at Lucy Guerin Company and Chunky Move. Most recently Jo has been working with Jude Walton, Shelley Lassica and Ashley Dyer and has begun to develop her own choreographic practice. For Tremor, Jo has worked both choreographically and as a dancer.

JAMES HOGAN (Performer/Production Assistant) is a sound designer, musician and performance maker from Melbourne. He has worked with artists such as Rob Reid (The Well, 2014), Daniel Schlusser (Menagerie, 2013) and Ashley Dyer (Life Support, 2013) and has explored highly collaborative processes for performance making. Currently living between Australia and Europe, his more recent works focus on writing and performance in public spaces. He has also worked on Masterclass (Left Bauer, 2015), Richard II (MKA/Speakeasy, 2014), Room of Regret (The Rabble, 2013).  James is both a performer and a contributing artist on Tremor.

LINDSAY TEMPLETON (Performer/Production Assistant) is a designer and set builder from Moe. Currently based in Melbourne, his recent work includes Softly Pouting While Walking Into Breezes (Monash Uni Student Theatre, 2015), Sexy Dead Schoolboys, (Kissing Booth, 2015), Fraternal (Kissing Booth, 2016) SK!N (TerryandtheCuz, 2016) and Psychopomp (Barking Spider Visual Theatre, 2015). Lindsay is both a performer and contributing artist on Tremor.

KRISTINA ARNOTT (Associate Producer) is an independent producer with an interest in live and participatory art. In 2016, Kristina produced The One (Shannon Loughnane, Melbourne Fringe Festival) and was a participant in Melbourne Fringe’s 'Compass' professional development program for emerging producers.  She also volunteered at Arts House as a Festival of Live Art Assistant Producer for works that include Crush (Sam Routledge & Dylan Sheridan) and Hotel Obscura (Triage Live Art Collective), and was Assistant Stage Manager for The Inaugural Annual Dance Affair (St Gabriel’s Hall Reservoir, True North Arts). For Tremor, Kristina has provided marketing support, sourced costumes, and provided general assistance where needed.

THE RUBIX CUBE (Production Management): Founded in 2010 The Rubix Cube is a company designed to foster collaboration and increase the professional development of Artists in Australia. Based out of Melbourne, the company provides design, technical, logistics and safety solutions on a wide range of projects and has excess to a key pool of talent who have worked all over Australia and around the world on works ranging from large-scale government sponsored events to experimental fringe theatre. Our collaborators have created and worked on projects such as ‘Avast and Avast II The Welshman Commeth’, ‘And They Called Him Mr Glamour’ and ‘Doku-Rai’ projects in theater by The Black Lung Theatre. ‘Thyestes’ by The Hayloft Project, ‘My Lingam Speaks’, ‘Klue,Doh!’, ‘The Bee Project’, ‘Flatland; an Adaptation in Dance’, ‘Welcome2Flatland’ and 'SK!N' cross-collaborative performance projects with TerryandTheCuz in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ‘Come Away’ and ‘SONG’ experiential works in performance by Ranters Theatre and ‘In Two Minds’ and ‘Rainbow Vomit’ for Dance North. The Rubix Cube is committed to the Production and Future Tour Management of Tremor.

Thank you

MONASH University Student Theatre (MUST), Yvonne Virsik, Selene Bateman, Lucy Guerin Inc., Trent Dyer, Jim Stenson, Tom Howie, Robyn Meagher, Matej Matejka, Agnieszka Cwielag, Gardzienice, James Brennan, Angela Hiijas, Rimbun Dahan, Penelope Barlau, David Franzke, Ranters, Zoe Scoglio, Chris Heywood, Sime Knezevic and Alisdair Macindoe.

Special thank you to artists who contributed on previous stages of the project: Sam Pettigrew, Matthew Kneale, Nick Roux and Martin del Amo.

In loving memory of Miklos Janek and Anna Raetz


This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

It was first developed as part of Ashley Dyer's Creative Australia Fellowship.

Creative Victoria, MUST (Monash University Student Theatre), Auspicious Arts and City of Melbourne through Arts House and Arts House's Culture Lab program.




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