October 5, 2020

Kat Kats

Kat Kats #3

Authored by: Bryce Ives

2020 Feels

October 2019. My partner and I travel halfway around the world, from Melbourne to Nicosia, intrigued to discover more about this mysterious festival that takes place in and around the Buffer Zone.

The best way to understand something is to experience it up close and personal. So our spontaneous trip to visit the Buffer Fringe Festival exceeded my expectations.

We experienced a genuine fusion of creative energy that was inspiring, and we also encountered Cyprus, and I fell in love.

Fast forward twelve months. October 2020.

Our hometown Melbourne is in lockdown. The rules are strict, and the fines are massive. Melbourne has been in various forms of lockdown since March.

Travel is now unthinkable. Flights in and out of Australia are scarce and ridiculously expensive. (Often Australia feels secluded and isolated from the rest of the world, but the almost complete shutdown of aviation now makes us realise just how far away Australia truly is from the rest of the world.)

Trump is in hospital. Borders are closed. Things are getting weirder by the day.

Kat and I are now parents. Neo Stella is eight months old. When we were in Cyprus, she was just bouncing energy inside Kat’s body. Today she is a force of nature and dominates so much of our energy. Most of Neo’s life has been experienced alongside the lockdown and global pandemic.

And, perhaps most surprising, we’re creating a piece of work for the Buffer Fringe Festival, even though we know we won’t be in Cyprus by December.

So although this creative investigation begins with source material from 1962, the 135+ letters written between Kat’s grandmother and grandfather from Cyprus to Australia, our process cannot be in isolation from everything happening around us.

These letters are the teenage voices of Neo Stella’s great grandparents, and I’m thinking a lot about legacy and lineage and place and culture and notions of home. So Neo and her connection to culture are regularly in my thoughts

We are also trying to make work virtually and from a distance. Most of our process is in shorthand around Neo Stella’s quiet moments where we have quick conversations about complex ideas. We also regularly Facebook chat with Kyriaki, our collaborator in Cyprus.

And COVID and the global pandemic remain in our thinking. Kat’s grandmother ended up hospitalised in June, with an unrelated illness, but her age and the risk of COVID was at the forefront of our minds. There is a strange duality reading the words of a sixteen-year-old from 58 years ago and to be visiting that same person, in a highly managed COVID situation in the hospital in 2020.

There is also something wonderful and terrifying about trying to create a piece of work with your partner, particularly during the most challenging year imaginable – with a new baby, little support because of a global pandemic, and all of the usual and unusual experiences of being new parents.

So all of this is influencing the process, and the process is also intrinsically our energy at any given moment.

So where are we?

Well, we have just made some big decisions about the work. Everything we had pitched to Buffer Fringe is going to change, we’re not going to do a durational work reading all the letters, as we had planned initially, and we are not going to do a stream between Melbourne and Nicosia.

A new energy is emerging, and we are reconfiguring the work.

Tonight we Zoom with the Buffer Fringe to explain this twist in the road. I’m excited, I’m nervous, and I’m interested to hear how the team will respond to this new idea emerging.

I’m sure we will tell you more in our next post…

Kat and I at Buffer Fringe 2019