triple alice, 1999-2001

Triple Alice 1999, Body Weather Laboratory

Triple Alice 1999, Body Weather Laboratory

Triple Alice was a gathering around the Central Desert of Australia—a gathering of a hard space and in virtual space. Triple Alice engages with the nature of artistic practice for the new millennium and takes the Central Desert as fundamental in its mapping of the future of artistic, cultural and media practice.

Held over three consecutive years, Triple Alice convened a forum and three live, site- and temporally-specific laboratories staged over three weeks each year. The forum and laboratories were accessible through a website which was integral to the event. Triple Alice is an open-ended project that took place at Hamilton Downs on the edge of the Tanami Track in the Northern Territory. Over the three years of the project, Indigenous and non-indigenous performers, visual artists, scientists, writers, web designers and theorists converged on Hamilton Downs for the Triple Alice Forum and Laboratory to hothouse a wide range of conceptual, cultural and critical issues. Out of these interdisciplinary, collaborative laboratories new works emerged, combining dance and movement, installation, text, photography, A/V and electronic media. These works were developed and presented both on location and also at arts institutions and cultural events around the country to generate further dialogue and exchange within Triple Alice.

Triple Alice 1 brought together more than 85 artists on site each day over the three weeks of the laboratory. There were three laboratories operating simultaneously—BodyWeather, an open ended physical research workshop; Writers—poetry, literature, text and theory; and local Territory Artists & Guest Speakers—from a range of different fields. Exchanges between the laboratories and each of the disciplines represented occurred via cross participation in each others labs and via collaborations between individual artists and groupings, while a range of poetry readings, discussions, slide-showings and performance events show-cased the work of those present and engendered dialogue, discussion and the initiation of processes that fed into and between each lab.

Triple Alice 2 was a small and intimate meeting. It comprised the Alice Springs Hothouse which included a performance in the Ilparpa claypans, followed by presentations, slide showings and discussions at the Watch This Space Gallery—as well as the on-site lab at Hamilton Downs. Triple Alice 3 was the third in a series of on-going forums and laboratories to be held in the Central Desert. The purpose of the laboratories is to draw on a fertile bed of cross-cultural, interdisciplinary practice from both Indigenous and non-indigenous traditions in relation to the Central heartland of Australia. It embodies a sustained commitment by a core group of artists to uncover a new cultural practice. It was held over a three-week period. Three simultaneously interlocking laboratories brought together different bodies of practice in relation to the place, focussing on visual, physical and textual disciplines whilst building on the experiences and information gathered during the first two years. (Text courtesy of De Quincey Co.)

credits: Triple Alice 1: The BodyWeather Laboratory facilitator Tess de Quincey, participants more than 50 from all over Australia as well as from Denmark, France, Holland, Germany and the UK. The Writers Laboratory participants Martin Harrison, Gay McCauley, Ian Maxwell, Peter Snow, Julia White, Angelika Fremd-Wiese, Gerd Christiansen. The Central Australian Laboratory facilitators Watch This Space, Desart, Christine Lennard and Gallery Gondwana, participants Cath Bowdler, Marg Bowman, Joy Hardman, Pam Lofts, Kim Mahood, Pip McManus, Ann Mosey, Rodd Moss, Dorothy Napangardi, Polly Napangardi Watson, Ann Oooms, Kirin Finane, Terry Whitebeach, Michael Watts, Nokturnl and Frank Yama, Denise Allen, Peter Latz, Dick Kimber, Arthur Ah Chee, Peter Toyne and Steve McCormack. Triple Alice 2 participants Francesca da Rimini, Sam de Silva, Sarah Waterson, Sophea Lerner, Michael Schiavello, Mari Velonaki, Peter Snow, Karen Vedel, Russell Emerson, Amanda MacDonald Crowley, Essar Gabriel, Kristina Harrison, Victoria Hunt, Marnie Orr, Lee Pemberton and Tess de Quincey.

performances: Triple Alice 1, September 20-October 10, 1999; Triple Alice 2, November 10-20, 2000; Triple Alice 3, September 17-October 7, 2001


reviews/articles – realtime

triple alice
realtime, realtime 30, april-may, 1999

triple alice: catching the weather
keith gallasch, realtime 35, february-march, 2000

edge, desert, reticulation, information
martin harrison, realtime 35, february-march, 2000

hot talk in central australia
stuart grant, realtime 47, february-march, 2002



About Performance devoted an entire issue to Tess de Quincey’s Triple Alice project, Each of the three laboratories was facilitated and documented by staff and students from the Department of Performance Studies, University of Sydney. The issue contains essays and other artworks by participants and observers, casebooks and a photo-essay.


About Performance 5: Body Weather in Central Australia, editor Gay McAuley

gay mcauley

from observer to participant: reflections on the triple alice experience
kristina harrison

burning point: overview description of triple alice
tess de quincey

edge, desert, reticulation, information
martin harrison

triple alice 1: a participant’s perspective
sarah dunn

performance making in alice
peter snow

access all areas: reflections on triple alice 1
ian maxwell

how to say (roughly…very roughly) what sort of a thing a triple alice 3 is, having attended one
stuart grant

drawings and texts
julia white

sky hammer
martin harrison

body weather at hamilton downs: a photo essay
russell emerson, gay mcauley, garry seabrook


© RealTime; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 January 1999