Artist Biographies

Gretel Taylor is a dancer, curator and researcher based in Naarm/Melbourne and Corhanwarrabul/ Dandenong Ranges. She has performed extensively as a solo artist, in collaborative contexts and facilitating community-based projects. Her performance and curatorial work is often site-responsive, inviting audience-participants’ immersion in place and activating decolonizing and ecological themes. In 2009 Gretel completed a practice-led PhD exploring relationships between place, body and identity in Australia. Recently she has evolved a dance-place-video practice with Laki Sideris, including Plateau (Iceland) featured in Head On (Sydney, 2019). During the 2020 Lockdown she curated Poetics of Home screendance series (City of Melbourne & Dance Lens). Past Yarra Ranges projects include Dances with Lyrebirds, with Kate Baker (2015) and live art/performance exhibition Force of Nature at Yarra Ranges Regional Museum (2018). Gretel is currently Research Fellow at Deakin University’s School of Communication and Creative Arts.

Murrundindi is the Ngurungaeta or Head Man of the Wurundjeri Clan of Melbourne, a descendent of William Barak. Murrundindi conducts Indigenous education programs in schools throughout Melbourne, sharing his extensive cultural knowledge of plant use, dance, language and music. Murrundindi has worked at Healesville Sanctuary on the site that was Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve, for many years, contributing significantly to their cultural program.

Djirri Djirri are the only Wurundjeri female dance group, and also Traditional Custodians of Narrm (Melbourne). Djirri Djirri means Willy Wagtail in Woiwurrung, the language of Wurundjeri people, the Traditional Custodians of Narrm (Melbourne) and surrounds. The Willy Wagtail, Spirit Bird, gave us dance! Many of our group have danced since they were young children, while others have learnt as adults. Our dances are created to honour our Liwik (Ancestors), Kerr-up-non (Family), Biik (Country) and animals. We are all related by blood through  one woman, Annie Borate, William Barak’s sister. We teach our dancers to also sing in Woiwurrung language, our Mother Tongue.

Gülsen Özer is an Australian performance and interdisciplinary artist of Turkish (patrilineal) and Aboriginal (matrilineal, Barapa Barapa) descent. Özer’s practice combines dance, choreography, sound art, video and static images and often results in immersive installations in public spaces. Creating mixed media, interactive and conceptual art works, Özer uses the power of live performance and installation design, to facilitate a re-enchantment of embodiment, relationships, and presence. 

Abi Li Zhen has a BA in Contemporary Dance and Choreography and danced in a full-time dance/ education company, Footnote, in New Zealand. She’s toured and taught in Europe, Japan, Australia & NZ, and taught Contact Improvisation at tertiary level. She lives in Melbourne, where she works as a freelance photographer and is reconnecting with her love of dance after a long break. Abi is inspired by Contact Improvisation, Authentic Movement and regularly dances in nature as a personal practice. 

Caroline Ellis completed her BFA (Hons) in Dance at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2019. During her time at VCA she worked with renowned choreographers including Giedeon Obarzanek, Sandra Parker, Lee Searle and Phoebe Robinson. Her practice is grounded in contact improvisation, asking “what if” and seeking joy. Caroline has participated in arts exchange programs in Singapore, Hong Kong, France and the Cook Islands, and is constantly seeking to learn and diversify her practice. 

Viv Rogis is a teacher, choreographer & performer with 25 years’ experience. A graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts with a Masters in Visual Culture Research Methods, she is a founding member and Assistant Director of Mirramu Dance Company and the producer of a site-specific professional development and presentation platform; Circling the Brink. Rogis has fulfilled a number of roles supporting youth dance, working as Assistant AD at The Australian Choreographic Centre, QL2 Centre for Youth Dance and working with students at VCA. She was a board member of Ausdance ACT for a number of years a lecturer in dance at the University of Western Sydney. Vivienne has performed widely internationally extensively in Asia and South East Asia and has developed a significant body of dance film works.

Dani-Ela Kayler is a Melbourne based performing artist and educator. She has been creating, collaborating and performing devised, process-based performance works with colleagues and independently for the past 15 years, locally in the hills, across Melbourne, interstate and overseas.  Dani-Ela has performed choreographed, improvised, and site-specific dance works at Melbourne Fringe Festivals, the Malthouse, North Melbourne Town Hall, Dancehouse, Crack Theatre Festival, as well as found spaces both urban and in nature. She has presented site-specific work for hillsceneLIVE (since 2013), PAVEfestival (since 2013) and DanceX (2016). Dani-Ela delivered site-specific youth arts project HERE ME in 2019, activating public spaces in Belgrave, funded by Yarra Ranges Council. Dani-Ela creates work that is visceral, playful and intimate, seeking to create memorable live performance experiences, usually with some element of audience involvement.

Environmental Performance Authority (EPA) is committed to deepening audiences’ experiences of place through site-responsive, participatory, ecological performance. Our artists hark from varying backgrounds in sound and installation art, dance, theatre direction and performance academia. A shared Body Weather training practice underpins our work, which is often structured as guided experiential walks, exploring ecological, cultural and historical layers of place, as well as odd and wondrous local features. Since forming in 2013, the group has created works around Melbourne’s CBD (‘Body of Water’, 2013 & ‘M47’, 2016), at Altona Coastal Reserve (‘Distal Fragments’, 2014, ‘Explosive Measures’, 2015) and performed along the entire 80km route of Mountain to Mouth arts walk (You Yangs to Barwon Heads, 2018). We conducted ‘Sensory Line’, a 6-hour walking performance across Moreland for MoreArt public art programme in 2018. In 2019 EPA had a residency at Testing Grounds, Melbourne CBD, investigating ecologies of the city, and led audiences on ‘A Blind Date with Blind Creek’ for Immerse Public Art Program, Knox.

Tammy Wong Hulbert is a visual artist, curator and academic focused on exploring the complex and often fragmented spaces between cultures in a globalising world. She expresses these ideas through her artistic and curatorial projects, which focus on socially engaged practices working with various urban communities. Tammy currently lectures in Curating Contemporary Art & Expanded Curating in the Masters of Arts (Arts Management) program for the School of Art, RMIT University, in Melbourne. Tammy Wong Hulbert and Marnie Badham are artist-researchers who together examine everyday attachments to public space through socially engaged artworks.

Marnie Badham has a twenty-five-year history of art and social justice practice in Australia and Canada, her research sitting at the intersection of socially engaged art, community-based methodologies and the politics of cultural measurement. She is currently focused on a series of creative cartographies registering emotion in public space; expanded curation projects on the aesthetics and politics of food; and a manuscript The Social Life of Artist Residencies: connecting with people and places not your own. Marnie is Senior Research Fellow at the School of Art, RMIT University in Naarm/Melbourne.