REVIEW: Arts House Presents METAPRAXIS

Only for musical initiates

By Myron My

The talent and skill of everyone who performed at Metapraxis was of a high calibre and I do not wish to take anything away from them in that respect, but as a mere music-loving audience member and not an actual musician, I left that evening feeling unfulfilled by the performance.

The opening act by James Rushford and Joe Talia had me very confused as to what they were trying to accomplish. At one point, I thought I was watching an experimental band performing at a late-night underground club, and felt very uninspired by it.

The choreography of Metapraxis was beautiful, and experimentally playing instruments using traditional and non-traditional methods (such as having fingers for the violin instead of a bow) was intriguing to watch.

There were certainly some captivating moments but sadly, these were just a few moments. “The Long And The Short Of It” for example included a cut-up video of a 5400km long ‘Dog Fence’ being bowed – the longest string instrument in the world. It was interesting to then see this combined with conducted improvisation of hand signals and caption cards.

The Australian premiere of Jani Christou’s rarely performed 1966 masterpiece, “Praxis for 12” was the stand-out of the night with a world of what I can only describe as chaotic calmness created successfully.

It is obvious a lot of time and effort has been put into this performance and the precision with which everyone played is phenomenal. Local string quartet Atticus are to be commended on their skill and talent – as are all the performers – but ultimately, I didn’t feel a connection to the pieces and this is the downfall of this work, in failing to connecting the music to the listener and viewer.

Christou described a ‘metapraxis’ as an “action that goes against the implied logic of an art form – a destabilisation, an implosive gesture, a push against the norms. Metapraxis is a bold venture into this experience.” Unfortunately, I simply felt like a surfer who waited for that big wave to come and take me on a ride – but for me, it never came.

Venue: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall

Season: Until 21 July 2012 | 7:30pm

Tickets: $20 Full | $15 Conc

Bookings: 03 9322 3713 or online