Tag: Matthias Schack-Arnott

Arts House Presents ANICCA

Elusive, engrossing and enlightening performance art

By Myron My

In Buddhism, anicca (impermanence) is seen as the first of three marks of existence, and evokes the idea that existence is, by nature, evanescent and inconstant. With his new show, Anicca, composer and performer Matthias Schack-Arnott manages to bring these beliefs into the thoughts of his audience as we reflect and ponder on the transient nature not only of moments in our lives, but of life itself.


While his previous show Fluvial had its own impressive concept and visual design, Schack-Arnott has truly outdone himself with the design of the instrument for this performance. An array of bamboo sticks, pebbles, shells, felt and other tactile items are glued on to a flat round surface and with the use of a motor from an electric pottery wheel, Schack-Arnott gets the instrument spinning, where it begins to resemble a large roulette wheel. This variable-speed rotating instrument created with engineer Richard Allen has no name, and this adds to the mystery and wonder of the show.

Schack-Arnott teams up with Eugene Ughetti for this performance to use cymbals and bamboo sticks to scrape, strike and interact with the objects on the spinning wheel. Even though they are on stage together and using the same instrument, Anicca could almost be described as a solo performance with two performers. They may be occupying the same space yet there is little acknowledgement of each other, reminding you of the singular journey we ourselves are on.

Through their precision timing and expert speed, Schack-Arnott and Ughetti create music that quickly fades in and out, disappears or suddenly changes into something completely different. The exceptional lighting work by Richard Dinnen similarly creates an ever-changing environment where nothing is constant, and at times, where the performers are shrouded in darkness and mystery.

Schack-Arnott continues to build on his reputation as a musician and composer who is not afraid to experiment with what music can be, as well as what it can make people feel. Anicca is an incredibly thoughtful and inspiring piece of music that creates an opportunity for audiences to open themselves up, be vulnerable, and to consider and embrace the fleetingness that is life.

Venue: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne

Season: Until 6 November | Thur-Sat 7:30pm, Sat 2pm, Sun 5pm

Tickets: $35 Full | $30 Conc | $25 Student

Bookings: Arts House

Image by Bryony Jackson

REVIEW: Arts House Presents FLUVIAL

Hypnotic, evocative and engrossing performance

By Myron My

It begins with a single chime that resonates through the room. It lingers in the space, bringing a calming, meditative state over the audience, and just as it ends another one begins and another and another.


I can only begin to wonder how composer and performer Matthias Schack-Arnott even began to visualise his installation for Fluvial. It consists of two rows about five metres long, of various metal rods, aluminum tubing and glass bottles running parallel to each other. A number of bottles and chimes hang from above with fishing wire, seemingly floating in the air. The pools of water along the rows and the name of the show itself, make this “river of percussion” a sight to behold.

Planted between the two rows is Schack-Arnott, our sole percussionist. As he slowly travels his way down, he creates a variety of sounds, some harmonious and some chaotic but even these latter create a sense of stillness in your mind. He is completely in the moment and the focus and concentration on his face is evident. You get the impression that every single drop of water splashed out of the pool and every clinking glass have been meticulously planned by Schack-Arnott.

The lighting design by Travis Hodgson works very well with the environment that is being set up. There is only a low light following Schack-Arnott, with everything else remaining in darkness. The only exception to is the sharp flashes of light that are formed by the materials on display. The feeling that the past and the future are not worth thinking about and our focus needs to be on the present is prevalent in the piece.

It’s no surprise that Fluvial won Schack-Arnott the 2014 Green Room Award for Outstanding Work by an Emerging Artist. It’s an enchanting piece of work that allows you to slow down and not only truly appreciate what you are watching and hearing, but also reflect on the effect it is having on you.

Venue: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne

Season: Until 17 May | Thur-Sun 6:30pm, Fri 8.45pm, Sat 3.30pm, Sun 4pm

Tickets: $30 Full | $20 Conc

Bookings: Arts House