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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 27 April 2019
12 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 27 APRIL 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Acclaimed harpist Mary Doumany meets cult thereminist Miles Brown in an exciting experimental collaboration Mary Doumany The Narcoleptor to perform live as part of the VOLATILIS installation at the Rosslyn Gallery A n extraordinary installation at the Rosslyn Gallery has become the source of inspiration for classical harp virtuosa Mary Doumany and curator Miles Brown's new outfit, The Narcoleptor. Last Wednesday saw the harpist join forces with the well-known City of Melbourne curator and thereminist at the opening of VOLATILIS. The new duo, performed a celebratory live score as part of the installation, exploring the journey of heartbreak, growth and rebirth through the visual metaphor of a constructed volatile landscape. That landscape is documented by contemporary queer filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist Jenna Eriksen from Aotearoa who travels through Iceland, Australia and New Zealand in an attempt to create a cathartic response to traversing emotions through space. Eriksen's unique images, informed by a sense of connection, affinity and belonging to a place, become the trigger for Doumany and Brown, who surrounded by projections, they too are being exposed to for the first time, improvise on stage creating the perfect soundscape to immerse the audience. At the centre of an 83 square metre landscape installation with a seven metre hand rendered pastel glacier and seven minute projection loop, this performance solidifies the artists' coming together after their first joint performance in September last year. COMING TOGETHER Doumany, a second generation Greek Australian, has been playing the harp since she was 12 years old. Coming from a family with a very long musical tradition stemming back many generations, Doumany was exposed to the sounds of the bouzouki and the balalaika during her upbringing, while also going to the opera and learning piano and ballet. "My mum's father used to play piano for the silent movies in Sydney and my father's family played traditional instruments while both my parents loved to sing," she says. "My father took me to see (Mikis) Theodorakis perform when I was six years old and I can to this day remember seeing a very dramatic tall guy, waving his arms in the air while all those sounds were coming together and being mesmerised." It is that feeling of being in awe that she has tried to experience throughout her career, both as an artist and as a receiver of art. The same desire brought her together with Brown, just a little bit over a year ago. "I was performing with Philip Brophy who's an expert in Japanese Manga Anime; Miles happened to be there and asked me if I wanted to have a play. We had a session at his place which was fun but it wasn't until we played live at the Make it Up Club that we realised we could create a duo. "We felt we found something great; we were so happy with the sound of it that we decided to master it and make it an LP," Doumany explains, describing the project as the melding sound-worlds of their iconic instruments creating a dream-state effect. "We listened to it afterwards and it's got a bit of a horror movie vibe, something reminiscent of Diamanda Galás, something from the beatnik era ... it is a bit sci-fi, feels somewhat like Susperia," she says.
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