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Intimate, thoughtful and engaging, Bridge Song leads us on a journey across bridges through the lens of urban and environmental ecology. As a live art work Bridge Song illustrates the fragile relationship between our humanity and our environs. It reveals visual and aural impressions rendering and politicising the links between a body and its surround.

Bridge Song is a unique new media performance for solo dancer, musicians and projection design. It brings together a group of committed artists whose energy and excitement for developing this collaboration is complemented by highly developed idiosyncratic styles. The Story Bridge inspires Bridge Song because we immediately recognise this structure as the iconic image that scenically identifies Brisbane. Just as many other cities have their identity-as-postcard bridge, the image has cultural value just as much as the structure. This fixed perception of place is what this work seeks to challenge and resist, perhaps only succeeding to add more images to the postcard archive. Bridge Song does not focus on the history of the bridge nor the city that surrounds it. Instead, the project investigates the site as a living environment, or more specifically, the interrelationships of environment and moment within the precinct of the Story Bridge. Rather than representing the Bridge as a scenic backdrop, the artists reference the site as a provocation between the hard mechanistic surfaces of our built environment and the subconscious landscape represented through the fluid and softer textures of the river – through the riverscape. The process has involved a durational relationship with the body and surround while working with time as a sculptural element, experiencing and documenting surfaces as they are influenced by meteorological events. A number of themes have emerged through this creative process reflecting both intangible metaphysical phenomenon and the physical vis-à-vis industrial aspects. The work also resists a narrative thread; meaning is constructed and communicated through a synthesis of mediated signs and sonic events. As such it requires a different kind of appreciation and aesthetic, one that could be described as live art or multidisciplinary performance art. Bridge Song unfolds around eleven events or responses:

Under the Bridge
Newspaper Spirit
Urban Sky to Mangrove Forest
Video Water
Globe Head
Bridging the Gap
Building Bridges
Edge of the Abyss
Flesh Kaleidoscope

Why Bridge Song?

Bridges are industrial infrastructure; as such they suggest a symbol of human triumph over nature. A great utility of transport and metaphor, uniting opposites and embodying the unknown. The metaphor of the ‘bridge’ is a cliche. The journey of life is described as ‘many bridges to cross’ while the past is ‘water under the bridge’. Other expressions are mixed metaphor, to describe a journey or transformation – "to cross a bridge" suggests a change effected through the duration of time to reach the other side. The bridge can represent a linear challenge as in – "cross that bridge when I get to it", irrespective of what is on the other side. There is finality, as ‘bridges’ get ‘burnt’ as they are crossed. The ‘bridge’ symbolises commitment as one is compelled to cross. In a narrative or musical structure phrases called ‘bridges’ focus the story or sound as it progresses toward the next movement or theme. This linear metaphor of the ‘bridge’ is binary but, if the metaphor is unpacked, a deeper meaning is possible. A meaning that is non-linear, perhaps borne out by metaphysical sensation.

The bridge as a marvel of engineering technology and structural design is the great industrial triumph over nature. The bridge becomes signature landmark icon of the River City, duplicated experience in cities around the world. The bridge is also the flight path carrying memory and loss, the site for suicide and metaphysical contemplation. The great industrial structure one of the largest single structures in the city is a place of contradictions and symbols. As symbol of industrial progress and a metaphorical symbol of change. The view from the ‘bridge’ is gazing on the surface of water, which our eyes can not penetrate, the unknown – the symbol of the unconscious. And from a height the distance is sensation. Climbing the bridge is seeking sensation a symbolic flight path and trajectory across the abyss.

Metaphors allow for different ideas to be communicated through phrases of resemblance, to help illuminate, interpret and understand meaning, as a link between visualisation and understanding. A way of describing actions between seemingly disparate things; with a purpose in visualising and joining agendas. This linear use of metaphor is much like a line between two points, or a bridge.

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