Typically my writing revolves around the thing I love doing the most; sitting in a darkened cinema while eating a choc-top and watching a new film unfold on the big screen. So when I was given the opportunity to attend last week’s Supercell Festival of Contemporary Dance, I was apprehensive to say the least.

My apprehension was thoroughly misplaced however, as Charles Ball and Scott Sneddon’s performance artwork The Farthest Possible Distance You Can Be Away Away Away From Me (or The Farthest Possible Distance) eloquently portrayed the wonders and limitations of contemporary relationships.

Founded by Kate Usher and Glyn Roberts in 2017, the Supercell Festival was held at both the Brisbane Powerhouse and the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art. It celebrates dance by bringing national and international artists and audiences closer together. With the tumultuous state of current political and social affairs, Supercell 2018 sought to employ the visceral power of dance and the lived experiences of the artists to open up conversation about one’s place in the world.

The Farthest Possible Distance was an interstate collaboration between Ball and Sneddon, with the latter communicating with us via Skype from his Melbourne home. Sneddon’s long distance relationship formed the basis of the performance, while Ball helped us navigate strings arranged around the room like an Indiana Jones booby trap.

Interacting with those around us while negotiating these obstacles illuminated the tremendous potential and unfortunate truths of technology-dependent couplings.

While I was somewhat hesitant to engage in this new performer-audience dynamic, Sneddon was generous in disclosing his personal anguish. Listening to his past electronic messages to his partner, all the while resting my hand on the shoulder of a perfect stranger, poetically demonstrated our instinctive need for connection.

The Farthest Distance, while demonstrating the expressive possibilities of online collaboration, powerfully signalled the centrality of emotional and physical companionship to the human experience.

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