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Seeking Basic Needs and Other Tales of Excess

By Ben Ashley on 01 Feb 2018

Human beings are defined by motion. Like birds, we have a constant need to flock together and migrate. From the particles that make us to the decisions we make, our lives are a perpetual state of movement.

Renée Newman’s Seeking Basic Needs and Other Tales of Excess takes this kinetic energy and puts a thoroughly unique spin on the audio tour.

Handed a pair of headphones, an mp3 player and a map, you’ll set off on the streets of Northbridge and become lost (figuratively) in the brilliant audio landscapes of sound designer Ben Collins.

The chaos of modern existence is stripped away as you are encouraged to immerse yourself completely. It is a decidedly rare chance to truly observe your environment.

Once your mind is reset and you become acutely aware of your own body, you will begin to hear a series of diverse stories.

These raw personal tales are a study of migration, the human condition and the true meaning of home. These people, from all corners of the world, are united by a single desire. To move.

The stories are augmented and reflected in the vibrant multiculturalism of Northbridge.

You begin to realize that the slight discomfort you may feel in wearing oversized headphones and staring at the sky in the middle of town is utterly insignificant compared to true feelings of alienation and yearning.

If you’re anything like me, however, you may find it difficult to avoid the many distractions from the outside world, and at times I had to forcibly stop my mind from wandering.

Similarly, the juxtaposition of the personal accounts and the mindfulness guidance can also shake up the immersion unexpectedly. I found I was most engrossed when seated, shamelessly people-watching and transfixed by the stories being told.

The introspective journey will make you question the borders that separate us and the dangers of regression and stagnation.

The universality of the theme – the pursuit of our most basic needs – is relatable and thought-provoking.

You don’t need to be a practised yogi, but an unwavering focus will allow you the most enjoyment out of this piece.

17 Feb 2018
PICA Galleries at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts
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Ben Ashley

Ben Ashley

Ben is an avid writer who hopes his extensive interests make up for his lack of real employable skills. He holds a diploma of Sound Production, a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and sometimes attempts to make friends by quoting obscure word origins. So far he has had no success.

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