Ninny Nurdles has a holy experience

When we initially explored ideas for using movement and text for a performance, we all assumed we’d have a live audience, a space to utilise and the backing of the Sydney Biennale to support us. When the spread of COVID-19 led to the closure of various locations and the banning of public gatherings, we had to be resourceful and adaptive to how we could continue staging this work with the Sisters. 

In order to continue generating work and experimenting with ideas of religion and environmentalism, we all collectively agreed that filming each other when and where possible and filming ourselves individually would be best.

This way we could continue developing the project remotely, allowing separate streams of content to flow in from both Sister GlitterNullius and Sister Ninny Nurdles. 

Kim and I had agreed to do our initial shoot back in early March. The first portion of this film experimentation can be referenced to that event. Packing my costume, a towel, and one of my lavish pairs of plastic sunglasses, we had some fun filming and brainstorming new prospects.

Sister Ninny Nurdles could be found on Port Kembla beach rolling amongst and skipping over waves, confusing locals passing by. This was the first opportunity I had to workshop movements as well as images and tableaux scenes I’d thought to incorporate. This would be the basis for me to develop the character of Sister Ninny Nurdles and how she fit within the context of Plastic-Free Biennale

Juundaal and I had also briefly discussed travelling to other locations to capture film, including ideas of cemeteries, recycling centres, garbage tips and so on. Other locations are still yet to be decided, and we would love any suggestions or ideas, so feel free to reach us through our contact tab. 

The editing process is one that is laborious and tedious, usually taking tens of hours. The first edited version I had constructed contained music by Andrea Bocelli’s great ‘Time to Say Goodbye’. 

After debating copyright ethics, I decided to cut the audio, and focus on strengthening the films relationship to plastic-waste and the hypocritical paradox we find ourselves in being completely entrapped by plastics. I sourced some nurdles, and other various pieces of plastic from Kim and tried to film scenes that would emphasise the importance of being conscious of how we continuously tarnish our planet. 

Continuing to play around with editing in these segments, I have finally reached the first public version of film experimentation, using a sombre track to place hold whatever audio is generated over coming weeks. 

Generally, the filming process has been a pleasant one, filming in either a pair or individually all captured on my iPhone 8. Kim has assisted my shoots a couple of times now, and Dylan my partner was my temporary cameraman in the backyard yesterday. 

It’s through these filming workshops I’ve been able to develop the character of Sister Ninny Nurdles, where I’d usually do so in the performance space or a rehearsal room. Taking the character out into the public and experimenting with movement scores of dancing, running, leaping, walking, draining (or standing stationary and disassociating). I’ve concluded what her mannerisms are, and how she interacts with the world around her. It’s all still a work in progress, however. 

After capturing all of my plastic content, I decided to separate the nurdles I had mixed together during the filming process. Four colours, tiny, molecular sized pieces of microplastics, what a great idea. This was to me, almost like a re-enactment of a Marina Abramovic exercise I’d heard of where she had given herself six hours to count grains of rice. It took me three hours in total to sort through which led to a one-minute time-lapse, and some minor nerve damage in my right hand – but, hey, it’s all God’s good work being done. 

Sister Ninny Nurdles signing off. 

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