Plastic Belly // Meet Courtney + Itamar
Itamar Freed and Courtney Scheu are a visual artist and dance artist who collaborate and create work that proposes a certain narrative or fantasy that emerges from a specific site. Freed and Scheu play between reality and its artistic portrayal to create a dream like space. They are creating work across forms in dance, sculpture, video and photography. Itamar and Courtney's work, Plastic Belly, is one of our June Homegrown artist commissions, available to watch online here.
Who are you and what do you create?
We are Itamar Freed and Courtney Scheu, we are a visual artist and dance artist respectively.
We have been creating art collaboratively since 2017.
We are engaged.
We value sitting in nature and watching the light change, the birds, the trees. We consider this a fundamental part of our collaborative practice.
What materials and techniques do you use?
We use whatever medium is the most appropriate for conveying our ideas – 3D printing, algorithm based creations, dance on film, dance live, photography, sculpture and any combination of the previous.
For Plastic Belly we are working on-site, with performers, a bright blue tarp, sandbags, a drone and cameras. The changing beach landscape continually shifted the work as we adapted and responded to the changing environment.
What kind of inspirations go into your work?
Our work often shares and investigates our connection to place and the natural environment to bring up conversations around people and the environment, the portrayal of nature internationally and our impact on nature.
We are also interested in the work of the old masters, how art historically has informed our perceptions of humanity today.
In dance, we are excited by creating situations that place the performer in the present moment. This is sometimes through improvisation scores, internal narrative, set or space and the structure of the work.
In what space do you like to create most?
We most often create on site, in nature. Where we are is always inherent in what we create. For us, the complexity, movement and detail of the environment and natural landscapes is incredibly inspiring.
What has been your favourite or most important work to date?
One of our favourite collaborative works has been created through a residency in Florida, AIRIE – Artists in Residence in Everglades. Across the period of a month we lived in the Everglades National Park experiencing the space and spending time with biologists, hydrologists, park rangers, python hunters and locals. We collated our experiences into creative work that includes a photographic library, sculpture, a portrait series and dance films.
The sculpture, Portrait as Everglades, places people at the centre of the water management issues of the park. Through this residency program we became advocates for this unique wilderness environment.
Plastic Belly explores human connection, at a point in history when it is more relevant than ever. Has your understanding of or desire for connection changed over the last few months, and how have you adapted your life to still find connection in these strange times?
We have spent a lot of our lives away from our families and people we love as we are from different countries. So we have been questioning what connection means for us and how it changes with distance for some time. The closing of international borders and cancellation of flights has been very difficult and stressful.
For us a big part of human connection is shared experience and communication of experience, in person or digitally.Over the past few months we have searched for small ways to retain connection. More frequent phone calls, sharing photographs of the day-to-day and Courtney has begun teaching online yoga classes for her relatives twice a week, which enables time together and conversation.
We are also connecting with local artists through the Collaborators in Residence program, Creative Spaces Sunshine Coast. We will create new collaborative work together and mentor others through this program.