Freedom and Restriction - An interview with Caitlin Mackenzie

Caitlin MacKenzie Caitlin Mackenzie is one of four dancers in 'The Human Detained'  at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art on October 30th. She is one of the leaders of MakeShift Dance and I caught up with her to get her thoughts on the project so far and find out what else she is up to!

Angus Wilson: Hi Caitlin! It's been great working with you and I'm really looking forward to our show in October. We are performing together in Steve Newcomb's 'Kicking Gaols'. Firstly, Let's find out a little more about you! What are your current projects? What are you working on at the moment?

Caitlin Mackenzie: At the moment I am having a ball working for Brisbane Festival as a movement director for the Arcadia space down at South Bank. I'm working with groups of volunteers who activate different areas of the space through movement and street performance. It is really fun! I am also about to go into a short but incredible residency at Metro Arts as part of After the Lights, which culminate in a short showing by Gabriel (who is also dancing in 'The Human Detained') and myself. A bunch of forums and activities will also be taking place throughout the day to shed some light on artists and mental health.

AW: I went to a MakeShift Dance Production earlier this year called 'one two ten' was inspired by a concept introduced to you whilst working in Korea. I had a really great night.... could you tell us a little bit about that project and concept?

CM: Yep! Well it was actually an idea that was gifted to us from the Five Arts Centre in KL, Malaysia. Gabriel and I traveled there in 2013 for a residency through Asialink. making great connections with a group of  producers and artists. They said we should take the structure of the show home to Aus to test on different audiences. So we curated a bunch of hugely talented local artists across music, dance, theatre and visual arts and asked them to devise a two minute solo which they would also need to perform on loop throughout the show. We held the show in the heritage listed building on Shafton Avenue thanks to support from the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts. We had such a fabulous response to the work from both artists and audiences and I hope it can exist again somewhere down the track.

AW: So now to The Human Detained,  how is it being both the dancer and choreographer for Kicking Gaols? What has been your experience working with Steve and myself on the piece? 

CM: It has been awful! No only joking :P It has been great. Choreographing and performing is always challenging because you need to be the outside eyes whilst being the 'body' or performer at the same time. That's why being able to talk with and share ideas across art forms is a really important part of this collab. It seemed very clear from the start of our process that we all have different strengths and I think we are pulling them together really well.

AW: How much do you find such a strong title as 'The Human Detained'  effects your artistic choices for the work?

CM: I think, while it is strong, it is also broad. My take on the title is really about looking at freedom and restriction. I suppose it has become evident through the different works, that those ideas can be approached quite realistically and on a global scale but also abstractly and on a personal level.

AW: Finally, you are a local to Brisbane, what are your five favorite places to hang on a day off?

CM: I am. I would say... 1. Picnicking at Kangaroo Point. 2. New Farm markets on a Saturday morning. 3. Do some yoga at Core Yoga and then grab a coffee at West End Coffee House right below. 4. Antique and vintage shopping at the Woolloongabba or Paddington Antique centres. 5. Hanging out in my backyard ;)