Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Lifestyle - Sara Fitz­patrick

YOU might feel it when pen­ning a poem, watch­ing a film or star­ing into the eyes of a loved one.

It is that mo­ment when you are so en­gaged in what you are do­ing that you en­ter a place where noth­ing ex­ists but you and the sub­ject at hand.

Brett Smith’s new ex­per­i­men­tal per­for­mance, When You’re Here, I’m Nowhere, is a one-on-one sound and light jour­ney draw­ing on this con­cept.

In the 15-minute act – part of the Prox­im­ity Fes­ti­val – he will try to cap­ture that feel­ing, 12 times a day, and in­vite a stranger to do the same.

Smith said his mo­ment of ‘nowhere’ came while pre­par­ing food.

“When I cook, I just kind of for­get about the world and I’m in that zone,” the South Perth sound de­signer and com­poser said.

“My show is based in a stair­well in the Art Gallery of WA (AGWA) and I’m us­ing light and sound as a way to guide the au­di­ence mem­ber into my space.”

Now in its fourth year, the fes­ti­val runs over 12 days with artists em­bed­ded into the daily hap­pen­ings of AGWA’s col­lec­tions, hall­ways, board­rooms, rooftop and hid­den lo­ca­tions.

“The gallery is a very in­ter­est­ing build­ing in it­self – it’s very bru­tal – and when you stand out­side, it is very un­invit­ing,” Smith said.

“There are two sets of glass doors and when the first set closes the out­side noise dis­ap­pears so you are in­stantly in a space that feels and sounds very dif­fer­ent to the out­side world.

“When you are in the main sec­tion it is al­most like be­ing in the mid­dle of a space­ship with all th­ese hard an­gles and lots of tri­an­gles that you don’t see nor­mally in ar­chi­tec­ture and so you get swal­lowed up in this re­ally quiet, beau­ti­ful place.”

This is the first year Smith has par­tic­i­pated in Prox­im­ity and ad­mits the process is daunt­ing.

“The only other time I’ve per­formed for some­one – just me and them – was for an ex-girl­friend,” he said.

“I work with a cover band and we had a gig at which I’d sung some backup vo­cals and she said, ‘you don’t sing, I don’t be­lieve you, sing me a song.’

“Then it was this re­ally bizarre and in­ti­mate mo­ment where I was freak­ing out a bit and just had to sing her a song.

“Ul­ti­mately it was re­ally en­gag­ing and I think that was why I was at­tracted to the fes­ti­val – it is a very en­gag­ing and in­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence and it will be dif­fer­ent for ev­ery­one, ev­ery time, so for them and for me it is scary and won­der­ful.”

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