James Batchelor mixes together science and art on a research vessel 4,000km from mainland Australia.

James Batchelor is a dancer and choreographer taking the art form to new corners of the earth. His latest creative venture has taken him as far as sub-Antarctic Heard Island, 4,000 kilometres out to sea on the Australian research ship RV Investigator. “I think it’s really quite a beautiful thing that artists can be a part of this voyage because, of course, we have a completely different way of dealing with different conventions, and the dialogue between art and science is very rich,” Batchelor said in an interview with the ABC. “It’s been quite challenging because I have to find a way to practise in this space which is quite confined. It’s quite different, and I think also for the crew and the scientists are not used to having a dancer on board.”

Joining Batchelor on the ship is South Australian visual artist and sculptor Annalise Rees, who is producing work as part of her PhD. Professor Mike Coffin, the voyage’s chief scientist, recruited the two artists for the voyage that is researching underwater volcanoes for the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies in Tasmania. “Art enriches science, and science enriches art,” he explained. “These two collaborative artists epitomise our goal of translating nature into knowledge.”

When he’s not out on sub-Antarctic voyages, Batchelor is an award-winning choreographer and performer based in Canberra and Melbourne. His performance aims to inspire critical thought and reflection on the contemporary world through the mediums of movement and visual arts. In 2014 he was the Dancehouse Housemate resident, producing the performance installation ISLAND, which won both a Green Room Award for Concept and Realisation and a Canberra Critics Circle Award (Dance).

Adelaide-based Annalise Rees works in the medium of sculpture, and won the 2005 Adelaide Bank Award for the most outstanding arts graduate in South Australia following her studies in Visual Art with Honours. She’s been an artist in residence at Sanskriti Kendra in India, 24HR Art in Darwin, Newington Armory in Sydney’s Olympic Park, among others, and in 2007 she was the first international artist to be invited to Japan to participate in the Daikanyama Installation Project in Tokyo, where she was awarded the Jury Prize. Rees is currently undertaking a PhD at the Tasmanian College of the Arts, researching the significance of the unknown in drawing-based enquiry.

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James Batchelor

Annalise Rees

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