Two Ballarat performers are inviting the community to go on a journey with them as they explore new themes in their upcoming artists' residency.
Punctum Inc, a live arts organisation based in Castlemaine, has been working with artists in the region for more than a decade with a focus on experimentation and trying new techniques in the performance space.
Now Ballarat-based poet Megan J Riedl and piano artisan Rae Howell will be working with Punctum to develop work around the theme of contested sites.
Artist director Jude Anderson said the residency was all about taking risks with performance work.
Over the past 15 years, the Punctum team has worked with more than 400 artists.
"What's common is they're all wanting to step into new and unknown areas of their practice," Ms Anderson said.
"The residency is a period of experimentation."
Ms Anderson said the work of Punctum was to highlight contemporary performance that "wasn't necessarily as celebrated as other creative arts practices".
She said they were invited to create work that was "site responsive in Ballarat".
Ms Anderson said she wanted to work with local artists to expand their practice.
The program creates a safe space for artists to try out new things.
"We learn from our own experiments in live arts and contemporary performance, we fold that back into the knowledge that we share with artists," Ms Anderson said.
A difference about this residency program is that the audience has the opportunity to go along with the artist during the creative process, watch and give feedback about the experiments.
"There's feedback or conversation dialogue with the audience and that helps the artist in the next step," Ms Anderson said.
She said often audiences only ever got to see the final product of a performance.
Ms Anderson said this could be great for both the artist and the audience - the performer can get feedback on their work and audiences get a rare glimpse into the creative process.
"We've got audiences who almost prefer that because there's a real dialogue," she said
"There's a relationship that is shared between the artist and the audience [which is] one of generosity and reciprocity."
The residency lasts for two weeks in May when the studies will take place, but Ms Anderson said both Ms Riedl and Ms Howell had already started brainstorming ideas and floating some collaboration concepts.
Ms Riedl will be drawing inspiration from the published voice of women in Ballarat as she explores the residency's contested site theme.
Ms Anderson said there was a particular poet from the gold rush that would be a focus.
"What does it mean to have a voice as a woman in Ballarat and be published?" Ms Anderson said.
Themes and questions surrounding power and voice are starting points for Ms Riedl's exploration.
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Ms Howell is a composer, pianist and also tunes pianos.
Her contested site will be the piano and what it means when a piano comes to the end of its playing life.
"Ray is often dealing with that moment of the end of a life of a piano, as much as she does bring it to life through her tuning ... for her, the contested site was the moment you need to say a piano can't be tuned anymore," Ms Anderson said.
Ms Anderson said old pianos were often inherited or represented a sentimental place in people's lives.
They can turn into symbols of family, history or musicality.
More information will become available through Punctum's website closer to the date.
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