Yellow brick  /  Steps  /  STEP 41 | A Score for Surface

STEP 41 | A Score for Surface

with Michelle Mantsio and Phoebe Whitman22/01/24, 18/01/2025 Steps Upcoming

A Score for Surface is a collaborative proposition by artist-designers Phoebe Whitman and Michelle Mantsio. Can a moving shadow touch or move us through a space? How do techniques of construction and capture impact the rolling affect of such an event?

This driven enquiry will experiment with surface materiality as a sequence of assemblages. How do we understand surface? When exploring surface in the context of materiality, what is created? What draws our attention? Where are the malleable moments that provide scope for developing affect? How does this influence the impact and potential of relational connections between surface and environment? How do we create a heightened attentiveness to the stable and adaptive qualities available?

The duo will develop A Score for Surface as an active archive working with the five canons used in rhetorical education. It will work with: inventio (invention), dispositio (arrangement), elocutio (style), memoria (memory), and actio (delivery). Additionally, they will engage with the history of rhetoric in Athens. In doing so, this residency aims to be an active porous score that engages with embodiment implicitly and explicitly. Given our research interests on surface, embodiment, and tactility, how might we generate a fertile discussion about how these qualities exist?

The score will be developed using durational processes, including walking, diagramming, set design, and conversation. How can this time be used to actively experiment and extend this language of surfacing we are developing? The project will explore the tacit, performed, and challenged relationships emerging through the materialisation of a score for surface.



Work 1 (images 1 – 4)
Title: Attention Seeker
Details: (1) Accompaniment I, 2 and 3: Audience dancing with work; (2) Installation of Accompaniment I, 2 and 3, Movement Drawing and Condor Ave Breathing Accompaniment; (3) Accompaniment I, 2 and 3 and Condor Ave Breathing Accompaniment Detail; (4) Movement Drawing: Plan for exhibition install.
Year: 2022
List of Materials: wool and cotton weave, stainless steel frame on wheels x 3, vinyl floor drawing and sound, 3 minutes 35 seconds

Work 2 (image 5)
Title: The Flood
Detail: Slide 32
Year: 2018
List of Materials: Performance lecture, 10 minute duration

Work 3 (images 6 – 8)
Title: Short Cuts
Details: (6) Installation overview; (7) Bing, Bang, Bong Cubby Detail; (8) Detail.
Year: 2018
List of Materials:

  • 2 Chairs, 2018, wool embroidery on polyester mesh
  • Globe Décor and Financial Advisors, 2018, wool embroidery on polyester mesh
  • Cash Converters, 2018, wool embroidery on polyester mesh
  • Remote Control, 2018, wool embroidery on polyester mesh
  • Busy, busy, 2018, wool embroidery on polyester mesh
  • Curtains, 2018, wool embroidery on polyester mesh
  • The Canoe, 2018, wool embroidery on polyester mesh
  • Bing, Bang, Bong Cubby, 2018, mixed media
    This installation includes a five and a half metre black weave which is a portrait of two different instances of running to exhaustion. A continuous weave, the stitches notate a breathing pattern which describes an interplay between anxiety and exhaustion.
    Consisting of three parts:
    Digging a Hole, 2018, wool embroidery on polyester mesh;
    Black Hole, 2018, hand dyed and hand-woven wool weave, aluminium frames, acm panels, echopanels, vinyl and steel chair;
    8 x 10 ft, 2018, aluminium frames, black synthetic grass and neon flex led lighting.

Michelle Mantsio is an artist, designer and lecturer whose practice is research-based. Her focus is at the intersections of body, pattern and repetition through multi-level assemblages. This is explored by developing contemporary art and design projects focused on how the body is implicated through spatio/temporal conditions and its impact on agency, autonomy, connection and becoming. She works within the intersection of art and design through video, installation, performance, textiles, and design.

Michelle has participated in numerous residencies, workshops and thinks tanks, including Room to Create (2018-2021), Yellow Brick (2018), Body as Site (2017), To Note (2015), Always Lift Inkrollers ... (2013) and Future Academy (2006-2008). Michelle has exhibited in Australia and overseas. Most recently Attention Seeker (2022), La Trobe Institute of Art, Petite Miniature Textiles (2022), Wangaratta Art Gallery, Unfinished Business (2018), ACCA, and Nauhaus, (2019) Melbourne Design Festival. Michelle is Coordinator of Design Studios in the Interior Design program at RMIT University. She is a member of research group the Kinomatics Project.

Phoebe Whitman is an artist, designer and educator. Her practice involves painting, sculpture, photography, and installation. Approaching various sites and situations through observation, intervention, arrangement and re-presentation, she engages in processes to incite occurrences and potentialities with surface. Through research, site-writing, studio production, material arrangement, and mark-making, she produces projects exploring the diversity of surfaces for sensation and encounter through ideas of duration, becoming and assemblage. Underlying her work is an interest in materiality approached through experimental, material-led and open-ended processes.

Phoebe studied painting at RMIT, Melbourne, where she completed a BA in Fine Art (Honours) in 1999 and later studied a BD in Interior Design (Honours) in 2005. In 2021 she completed her Doctorate by Research PhD, tilted Surface Encounter. Alongside Phoebe’s full-time academic position at RMIT University, in the School of Architecture and Urban Design, where she is the Program Director of the Interior Design (Honours) program, she has contributed to numerous group exhibitions, symposiums and publications.