“Beckwith is something of a trailblazer”

The Age Chloe Smethurst 2013

Bio Blurb

MEGAN BECKWITH combines live performance & multi-media to develop works that explore the relationship between the physical & virtual. She investigates this relationship by combining contemporary dance and 3D animation in a choreographic process that layers one over the other, re-working the human figure into new forms that both fascinate and horrify. Reviewing her 2013 work ‘Parallax’ in The Age, Chloe Smethurst described Beckwith as a “trailblazer”. Her practice explores the idea of physicality and technology through the figure of the cyborg and augmented reality. Her current work asks: how does the body react within a distorted reality and how does virtual reality affect emotions through the use of stereoscopic 3D illusions. Recent performances installations such as Parallax, Time For Tea, and Closer, placed the live human body within virtual stereoscopic environments.

 

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Qualifications

Currently completing a PhD at Deakin, University

2007, Graduate Diploma (Secondary Education). La Trobe University

2004, Master of Animateuring (by research). First Class Honours. Victorian College of the Arts

2002, Postgraduate Diploma of Choreography. Victorian College of the Arts

1999, Bachelor of Dance. Victorian College of the Arts

Vocational Qualification

2010, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. International Partner Solutions Institute

VIT Registration Number

316843 Full Registration

Awards and Prizes

  • Winner of the Australia Post Art Prize, for the dance work Torso, 2016
  • Short listed for the National Library Creative Arts Award, 2015

Lecturing in Dance and Technology

2012 – Current

Performance Technology (Isadora) Unit at Deakin University (ACD211)

In this unit dance and drama students are introduced to the interactive theatre software Isadora. The students create live dance and drama performative projects that integrate Isadora into live performance.

2010 – 2014

Ballet for Contemporary Movers Dance Technique (ACD105)

 Lecturer and tutor for the ACD105 Ballet for Contemporary Movers Dance Technique Unit at Deakin University.


Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Parallax: Dancing the Digital Space by Megan Beckwith and Prof. Kim Vincs

In ISEA 2015: Disruption: Proceedings of the 20th International Symposium on Electronic Art, in Vancouver, Canada. 

For full paper please see: http://isea2015.org/proceeding/submissions/ISEA2015_submission_260.pdf

Stereoscopic Theatre: The Impact of Gestalt Perceptual Organisation in the Stereoscopic Theatre Environment, by Megan Beckwith and Prof. Kim Vincs

In ISEA 2013: Resistance is Futile: Proceedings of the 19th International Symposium on Electronic Art, ISEA International Australian Network for Art & Technology, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, pp.1-5.

For full paper please see: http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/handle/2123/9745


Conference Papers, Talks & Demonstrations

Space, Megan Beckwith, presented at ACMI  X for the OpenLab, Hosted by Media Lab Melbourne, Melbourne, 2016

Virtual Drag, Megan Beckwith at Melbourne VR Meetup #6, Melbourne, 2016

Parallax: Dancing the Digital Space, Megan Beckwith & Prof. Kim Vincs, presented at the 21st International Symposium on Electronic Art, Vancouver, Canada 2015

Parallax, demonstration of the performance work Parallax, in the International Workshop on Movement and Computing (MOCO), Vancouver, Canada 2015

Stereoscopic Theatre: The Impact of Gestalt Perceptual Organisation in the Stereoscopic Theatre Environment, Megan Beckwith & Prof. Kim Vincs, presented at the 19th International Symposium on Electronic Art, Syndey 2013

3D Perspectives from Leonardo de Vinci to Steroscopy, Megan Beckwith and Prof.Kim Vincs, presented at the Nation Dance Research Forum, Ausdance National, Tertiary Dance Council of Australia, Melbourne 2012

The Sexualised Body, presented at the Erotic Screen and Sound: Culture, Media and Desire conference, Griffith Centre for Cultural Research, Brisbane, February 2011

The Use of Digital Media and Dance in the Classroom, presented at DADs: Dance Across the Domains, Many Cultures, Primary and Secondary Confrence, Ausdance Victoria, Melbourne, 2011

The Imagined Body: the Cyborg, presented at the Fourth Annual International Asian Cultural Studies Association Conference, Bangok, Thailand, November 2010


Transmedia, Dance, Theatrical Performances and Installations

Virtual Drag, Feb 2016

Role: Animator, Choreographer

 Virtual Drag is an immersive exhibition of 3D scans of drag queens and kings via virtual reality headsets by artists Alison Bennett, Megan Beckwith and Mark Payne. In this work they have explored the potential of 3D scanning to create hyper-real cyberspace encounters with some fabulous drag performers. The audience moves through a series of worlds inspired from not only the animated models but also the real people the scans were taken from. Epic landscapes, disintegrating rooms and black voids create the landscapes that the audience and each character inhabits. Virtual Drag has already generated a small buzz internationally in new media art circles. It has been featured on the uber cool UK based blog Prosthetic Knowledge, and picked up by Tumblr Radar. The computer game culture magazine KillScreen noted that the convergence of virtual reality and drag ‘realness’ opens a rabbit hole of accelerating conceptual possibilities.

Presented at:

– Unit Festival presented by Unicorns in Tech, Berlin, 2016

– The Kaleidosope World Tour, presented by WIRED, Melbourne, 2016

–  The Middsuma Festival, Melbourne, 2016

– Storia Salon in the Australian International Conference, Melbourne, 2016

– Kingston Arts Pop Up Bar/ Pop Up Lab, Kingston Arts Centre, Moorabbin, 2016

Publications:

Motherboard: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/inside-berlins-queer-tech-festival-unit?utm_source=mbtwitter

Kill Screen: https://killscreen.com/articles/virtual-drag-or-how-to-queer-virtual-reality/

The Creators Project: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/virtual-drag

Pony: http://gaynewsnetwork.com.au/pony/alison-bennett-s-virtual-drag-opens-for-midsumma-20257.html

Concrete Playground: http://concreteplayground.com/melbourne/event/virtual-drag/

Prosthetic Knowledge: http://virtualdrag.net/prosthetic-knowledge/

Bubble, Feb 2016

Role: Bubble Designer and Dance Performer

Conceived by artist/choreographer Megan Beckwith, ‘Bubble’ creates an alternative space for performance art. Featuring guest appearances by Jessi Lewis and Jonathan Homsey, Beckwith channels the kooky and sublime.

– Midsumma Festival, Testing Grounds, Melbourne, 2016

Torso, January 2016

Winner of the Australia Post Art Prize, 2016

Exhibition showcases the works of twelve highly talented finalists across diverse mediums such as film, sculpture, photography and painting. Exploring the theme Identities, the exhibition will focus and examine the relationships between socio-political issues and personal experiences within the queer community.

Parallax: Anaglyph 3D in  MOCO, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Vancouver, Canada 2015

Performer & Animator

This performance of Parallax was in Anaglyph 3D.  Parallax incorporates dance, 3D animation and stereoscopic illusions in one performance.  The idea was to layer these three elements into one performance that creates a series of illusionary states that dancer inhabits and becomes part of.  The audio design was created by Jacques Soddell.

Yes/No/Maybe: The Engine Room at the Capital Theatre, 2015

Performer

Yes/No/Maybe is a visually illuminating live art performance for audiences, which draws on Reality Theatre and live, participatory art techniques. Produced by Punctum Inc. Directed by Alex Walker and Sarah Austen

Receviers, 2014

Megan created the Isadora interactive performance sound and video scape for this theatre work.

An absurd, dark, sci-fi comedy, Receivers explores the world of idealistic farmer Hedrick who, after years at agricultural school, simply cannot make things grow. Written by Gareth Ellis, directed by Amanda Falson, premiered in 2014 at the Feat Theatre, Melbourne

Parallax within the Substation Season of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, 2013

Choreographer, Animator, Performer

This public performance was a work in progress of the practical component of my PhD. It combines contemporary dance and 3D animation and stereoscopic illusions within one performance. For a review of this show please see:

http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/dance/dance-review-parallax-20130927-2ujeq.html

 “3D” in the Melbourne Fringe Festival at the No Vacancies Gallery Space at Federation Square, Melbourne, 2011

Choreographer, Animator and Performer

This small event was my first “3D” stereoscopic animated work and included two short solos, Time for Tea (3D) performed by Megan Beckwith and Closer performed and choreographed by Step Hutchison. For a review of this work please see:

http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/dance/a-dance-assault-in-three-dimensions-20111002-1l3oo.html

Time for Tea (3D) performed at the Salon Series, 2011

Dancer and Animator

A Victorian woman drinks a cup of tea and is digitized in a 3D world of blue and sepia. In a group showing of solo works at Studio 202, Melbourne

Pageant & Pandemonium Opening Performance at the Castlemaine State Festival, 2011

Assistant Coordinator and Choreographer

The Artistic Director of Punctum Inc., Jude Anderson, led the development of this project for the opening of the Castlemaine State Festival. My role was to liaise within more than 15 different community dance groups and choreograph elements of each individual performance.

Shirt off My Back by Punctum Inc., 2010

Dance performer and video technician

This show was a performance installation where audience exchange an old shirt for a new reworked one. The audiences’ hands were video captured during the exchange and then invited to watch an interactive dance performance where their hands feature in the video element. Residence part of In Habit, Abbotsford Convent performed at Off the Curb Gallery, Melbourne. Produced by Punctum Inc. Directed by Jude Anderson.

Miss Friday’s 50/50 Dance Class – For all the world and her partner, 2009

Dancer/Actor

Welcome to Miss Friday’s Tango Class the audience participates in the class that takes humorous and disturbing twists and turns. Performed as part of the Castlemaine State Arts Festival

Bug, 2009

Dancer and Animator

This was a live contemporary dance performance that integrated oversized 3D animated insects in dance. What would happen if the Bugs took over the world.  Performed as part of the International Animation Festival, 2009.

Render, 2009

Choreographer, Animator, Collaborator

Live Arts Incubator Residency at the Engine Room at the Capital Theatre explored the use of the Wii remote as a video motion-tracking device within live performance.  Created in collaboration with Aaron Veryard, this project was supported by Punctum Inc. and funded through Regional Arts Victoria.

Closer – Next Wave Festival Sweet Region, 2008

Animator and Performer

Created and  performed in collaboration with Seung Hi Lee and Calum Healy,  produced by the Next Wave Festival as part of the Sweet Region program  premiered at the Back Box Theatre at the Melbourne Arts Center, 2008.

Emma’s Dynasty by William Yang, 2007

Animator

Megan created the 3D animated dragons for this theatre work performed at the Street Theatre Canberra.  Winner of the 2007 Canberra Critics’ Circle Award for Theatre described as ‘ A visually splendid and insightful theatre piece that had impact for a very wide range of audiences’.

 “An inspired journey… the target audience will love this. Writer William Yang and director Kate Shearer have created a visually and emotionally rich piece” Alanna Maclean Canberra Times, July 3 2007

 1 in a 100 Directed by Carol Woodrow in association with the Street Theatre, Canberra, 2007

Animator

Megan created the 3D animated ducks that featured in this show.

The multimedia production takes us on an honest, courageous and compassionate journey into one young Man’s mind, to the place where borders are shifting and battle lines are being drawn.  Directed by Carol Woodrow

Shack – Endangers Species by Punctum Inc., 2007

Animator/ Dance Performer

Megan performed and created the animation and dance movement for the dance element of Shack in collaboration with the director Jude Anderson.

Repercussions in Movement Directed by Kim O’Connell, Music by Gary France, 2007

Dance Improvisation Performer

Repercussions of Movement, an audiovisual meditation on movement, with music and soundscape by Gary France, concept, film design, text, movement, voice Kim O’Connell, sculpture Jutte Feddersen.  Season at the Castlemaine State Festival.

Bubble Trouble, 2007

Choreographer and Bubble Design

Performed by students of Over the Moon Dance Studio based in Castlemaine.  Shown in the CBD gardens in the Castlemaine State Festival.

Bug, 2006

Dance, Animation by Megan Beckwith, audio design by Jacques Soddell

Organ transplants are one of the great medical and technical achievements. It is this success has led to an ever-increasing number of patients and crises in organ supply. What may happen in the future? If insects could be used as donors what may happen physically or psychologically to the human host.  Created and performed in  a 4 week Alan’s Walk Artist Run Space Residency.

The Pepper Green Farm Festival, 2006

Choreographer

An instillation dance performance at the Pepper Green Farm Festival as part of farms cultural festival, funded by Festivals Australia.   A 5 hour performance by 25 dancers presenting in teams of 5, performed  by students of the Bendigo Senior Secondary College and Over The Moon Dance Studio.

Bodywealth, 2006

Performance of the 4 animated solo performance installations, Torso, Arm, Foot, Head at the Commonwealth Games Festival, Bendigo

Boneidol, 2006

Dance, Animation by Megan Beckwith, audio design by Jacques Soddell

We are cyborgs humans with technological modifications that defy age and mortality. One day we will live indefinitely.  Performed in February at Allan’s walk artist run space, Bendigo and March at the  E-scape Sound and Film Festival, Commonwealth Games Cultural Festival

Fourcast: Tent City – residency, Dahlia & Arts Festival,  2005

March 17-19

The tent city was a night time installation/performance for people to reflect on the diverse and multicultural origins of Eaglehawk and community life in a Tent City. Created in collaboration with Tamera Marwood, Jacques Soddell, Megan Beckwith and Matt Burne as Fourcast.  Residency at Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts Festival, ending in 3 days of performance/installation at the old tennis courts in Simpson’s Rd Eaglehawk. Supported by Festivals Australia.

Mrs Tute, 2005

2005  April 1 – 10

This artists in residence during Castlemaine State Festival at Tute’s Cottage. A new waterless fountain for each day of the Festival! Provisional, participatory and intimate, these works are informed by ecological, social and personal histories. The studio and installation of art works took place at the Cottage.   Created in collaboration with Tamera Marwood, Jacques Soddell, Megan Beckwith and Matt Burne as Fourcast.

The Oz Opera, 2005

Choreography for the production of the Beggar’s Opera performed at the Murdoch Studio at the Opera Centre, South Bank.

Cyborpyg  at the Play House, 2005

Performance of the 4 animated solo performance installations, Torso, Arm, Foot, Head in the Play House Theatre of the Arts Centre, Melbourne.

Eye Spy, 2005 

Performer and Animator

There is someone or something always watching, this work questions survelliance in the digital age. The Allan’s artist Run Space Residency, Bendigo.  Funded by Bendigo City of Greater

Gas Connection, 2004

Dancer/ Actor, directed by Jude Anderson Presented at the Gasworks Art Park, the ancient Bendigo Gasworks, and the Furphy Factory. The Gas Connection received funding from the Australia Council, Arts Victoria, Regional Arts Victoria, The City of Greater Bendigo, Riverlinks Shepparton.

Public Fourcast, 2004

Created in collaboration with Tamera Marwood, Jacques Soddell, Megan Beckwith and Matt Burne as Fourcast

1 month residency at dudley house, Bendigo  Fourcast is a small company of site specific regional artists comprising who collaborate across diverse art forms.  Their work addresses water management issues facing Central Victorian communities and relate to the site within which they are created.  Public Fourcast was  presented as a part of the 2004 Bendigo Summer in the Parks Calendar of Events.

Time for Tea, 2003

Dance, Animation and Stereoscopic Illusions by Megan Beckwith, audio design by Jacques Soddell

This work explores the idea’s of loss and isolation.  Created within the original Victorian home, this work explores the plight of many gold rush woman with little water, a profound loss of culture and isolation in an unforgiving and alien environment.  The work questions what to do when there isn’t enough water for a cup of tea?  The Victorian woman is immersed in a 3D water environment that she can not drink.  Developed as part of Fourcast Residency at Tutus Cottage, Castlemaine Festival.

Fourcast, in collaboration with Central Victoria ABC Radio, 2003

Created in collaboration with Tamera Marwood, Jacques Soddell, Megan Beckwith and Matt Burne as Fourcast

Megan performed an improvised dance performance that was called and described by Jonathan Ridnell.  This weather-based multimedia installation was based on their residency at tower studio in nov 2002.  The art installation was broadcast live on central victoria ABC (91.1 FM and 107.9FM) as part of summer in the park season.

3# Conjectural Module, Tower Studios, 2002

Created in collaboration with Tamera Marwood, Jacques Soddell, Megan Beckwith and Matt Burne as Fourcast

This month residency was at tower studio, Queens college, university of melbourne.  Tamara Marwood, Todd Baxter, Megan Beckwith and Jacques Soddell worked on a weather-based performance/installation, November 6-29, 2002.  Third in a series of 6 conjectural modules is a project coordinated by Sandra Bridie in Tower Studio at Queen’s College, Melbourne University between September 2002 – February 2003.