THE SPILL FESTIVAL OF PERFORMANCE IS AN INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF LIVE ART, ACTIVISM AND PERFORMANCE PRESENTING THE WORK OF EXCEPTIONAL ARTISTS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE.
An evolving work by indigenous Australian performance and installation artist Sarah-Jane Norman, bone library considers the living essence of so-called “dead” languages.
For 3 days, the artist will inhabit a room in the Think Tank where she will set about the task of hand-engraving a complete dictionary of the languages of the Gadigal and Cammeraygal people, the lost pre- Colonial languages of the Sydney region, onto the prepared bones of sheep and beef cattle. The bones of these totemic beasts of European pastoralism are repurposed as vessels of tactile “memorial”, forming the basis of a layered and haunting reflection on the tension between western taxonomy and its modes of preservation, and the more visceral terrain of cultural grief.
Sarah-Jane Norman is an artist of Wirajduri, Wannarua and British heritage. Shifting in scale between discreet, intimate works and large scale installations, and deploying a variety of media, from durational movement and task-based work, to sound, moving image, sculpture and text, her core interest remains with the body: the body as a spectacle of truth and a theatre of fantasy; a siphon of personal and collective memory; an organism with which we are infinitely familiar and eternally estranged, a site where histories, narratives, desires and discourses converge and collapse.