“Beckwith is something of a trailblazer”

The Age Chloe Smethurst

Bio Blurb

MEGAN BECKWITH combines live performance and 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

2017, Ph.D. 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

  • Small Gems Commission for Parallax, Gasworks Theatre Consortium, 2017
  • Winner of the Australia Post Art Prize, 2016
  • Short listed for the National Library Creative Arts Fellowship, 2015 & 2016
  • Virtual Drag, in collaboration with Alison Bennett, funded by Australia Council for the Arts, 2015
  • Deakin University Post Graduate Award for PhD research, 2011
  • Live Arts Incubator Residency Punctum Inc, Wii Mote in Collaboration with Aaron Veryard, 2008
  • Render, Creative Arts Grant, funded by the Greater City of Bendigo, 2008
  • Fourcast, Artist Residence in collaboration with Jacques Soddell & Tamara Marwood, Castlemaine, State Festival, 2004

Academic and Education Experience

2018,  Tutor, Visual Communication Unit, University of Melbourne

2018 – 2017,  Teacher, Dance Specialist, Distance Education Center Victoria

2016 – 2013 Lecturer, Performance Technology (Isadora, ACD211), School of Education and Communication,  Deakin University 

2016 – 2015, Teacher, Dance Specialist, Emergancy Teaching, ANZUK Melbourne

2014 – 2011, Lecturer, Ballet for Contemporary Movers Dance Technique, School of Education and Communication, Deakin University

2010 -2001, Teacher Dance Specialist, Bendigo Senior Secondary College

2010 – 2007, Rock Eisteddfod Coordinator, Bendigo Senior Secondary College

Publications, Talks, Conference Papers and Demonstrations

Book Chapter

Virtual Drag, Bennett, Beckwith & Payne, The Additivist Cookbook, edited by Morehshin Allahyari & Daniel Rourke, Vilém Flusser

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Queering Virtual Reality with Drag Realness by Alison Bennett, Megan Beckwith & Mark Payne, Journal of Transformative Technologies (JoTT)

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.  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.  http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/handle/2123/9745

Published Report

National Dance Forum Report, by Megan Beckwith, Kim Vincs and Jorden Beth Vincent, Ausdance National, Canberra, 2013

Conference Papers, Talks & Demonstrations

Queering Virtual Reality with Drag Realness, Beckwith, DiGRA Conference, Swinburne University, 3-6 Jul 2017

Augmenting Live Performance with Stereoscopic 3D, DiGRA Conference, Swinburne University, 3-6 Jul 2017

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 Stereoscopy, 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

Parallax

Role: Animater, choreographer, dancer

The 3D animated dance performance explores transformation, identity and place. A woman drinks a green drink and enters an illusionary world in which she is transported through a series of abstract spaces. Each object she encounters creates different physical and emotional problem the woman needs to negotiate. In each world she sees herself from different perspectives, creating an effect of parallax.

Presented at:

  •  Gasworks Arts Park, South Melbourne, March, 2018
  • The Pop Up Bar, the Kingston Arts Centre, Moorabbin, Feb, 2018
  • Burrinja Arts Center, Upway, Feb, 2018
  • Season Opening of Culture Tracks, Lunch for YarraRanges Season Program, The Memo Theatre, Healesville, Feb 2018
  • Season Launch, Gasworks program launch, Gasworks Theatre, Jan 2018
  • DiGRA Conference, Swinburne University, 3-6 Jul 2017
  •  PhD Presentation, Motion.Lab, Deakin University, Melbourne, 2016
  •  International Workshop on Moving and Computing, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Vancouver, 2015
  •  The Substation, New Port as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, 2014
  • The National Dance Forum, Deakin University (work in progress showing), 2013
Virtual Drag

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:

Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival, Bristol UK, 19-24 Sept 2017

– International Day of Drag Celebration, presented by CinemQ, Shanghai, China, 27.7.17

out_of_body, curated by Drive-Thru, Thisisit.com, 14-24 Jul 2017

– TWIST360º, VR Headset Gallery, Seattle, 2016

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

– The Kaleidoscope, Summer Series, Kaleidoscope World Tour of cinematic VR, London, New York, Berlin, Los Angeles, Seoul, San Francisco, 2017

– 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/

Atisidasophibia, VR: The Fear of Cuteness in Carnival Electro Live # 1 Phobia, The Engine Room, Bendigo, 2016

 The an extreme or irrational fear of all things cute.  The hybred installation included:
– 3D animated anaglyph dance performance, performed by Chloe Dallas and the Bendigo Cheer Squad
-VR installation
Torso

Presented at:

  •  Gasworks Arts Park, performed by Claire LeskeSouth Melbourne, March, 2018
  • Burrinja Arts Center, performed by Claire Leske, Upway, Feb, 2018
  • Winner of the Australia Post Art Prize, 2016
  • Shortlisted, Australia Post Art Prize, 69 Smith St Gallery, Melbourne, 2016
  •  Newport Substation, the Melbourne Fringe Festival, performed by Kara Burdack, 2013
  • The Commonwealth Games Festival, Bendigo, 2006
  • The Playhouse, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne, 2006
  • North Melbourne Town Hall Fringe Hub, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Melbourne, 2005
  • The Hybrid Space, the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, 2004
Arm

Presented at:

  • Gasworks Arts Park, performed by Claudia Rightmire, South Melbourne, March, 2018
  • Burrinja Arts Center, performed by Claudia Rightmire, Upway, Feb, 2018
  •  Playhouse, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne, 2006
  • Commonwealth Games Festival, Bendigo, 2006
  • The Hybrid Space, the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, 2004
Bubble Performance Installations
  • Bubble Noir, Beckwith, Hidden Agenda, the Trocadero Arts Space, Melbourne, 2017
  • Bubble Four, Beckwith, Testing Grounds, Melbourne, 2016
  • Bubble Trouble, Beckwith CBD Gardens, performed by student of Over the Moon Dance Studio, State Festival, Castlemaine, 2007
  • Bubble Girl, Beckwith, Bendigo Gallery, 2006
  • Bubble Girl, Beckwith, ABC Arts Show, ABC TV, 2001 https://youtu.be/ogiL8msPVJA
  • Bubble Girl, Beckwith, the Melbourne Festival, 2001
  • Bubble Girl, Beckwith, Steps of the State Library, Melbourne Fringe, 2001

Other Work, Performances and Collaborations

I am looking in a room, by Alison Bennett, dance performance/choreography by Megan Beckwith, Trocadero Gallery Studio Windows, West Projections Festival 11-27 August 2017, https://www.westprojections.com

Evita, choreographic adviser/consultancy by Megan Beckwith, directed by Terry Carroll, produced by the community focused and regional performance group CT Productions, the Capital Theatre, Bendigo, 2016

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

 “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.

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.