performance & experience design

Changing Pathways (2018)

A site-based audiowalk of the Westmead Precinct, 2018 This project follows on from my work using the ephemeral and lo-fi medium of binaurally recorded sound to investigate experiences of place. Commissioned by the University of Sydney to make a site-based response to the Westmead Precinct in Western Sydney to introduce humanities and social sciences students … Continue reading Changing Pathways (2018)

Cella (2018)

Cella is devised and performed by Narelle Benjamin and Paul White, and came out of somatic research the two began in 2015 when Paul was working with the Pina Bausch Company in Germany. Cella takes its name from the Latin, ‘small room,’ and also references cells, the basic structural, biological units of all living organisms. Narelle says, in … Continue reading Cella (2018)


“At the still point, there the dance is…” – TS Eliot Still Point Turning is a ‘danced poem’ exploring our experience of time. From the profane world of clocks, schedules, alarms and itineraries to the grand arc that is our life – birth, death, growth and decay. To how we experience time in a dream or in … Continue reading STILL POINT TURNING (2014)


In this new work from choreographer Narelle Benjamin, two solos, individually crafted for the amazing dancers Kristina Chan and Sara Black, are performed in the same space with separate but overlapping timelines. The audience sits in traverse, and a large floor projection accompanies the dance. Nellie looked towards photos by the American photographer Francesca Woodman as … Continue reading HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT (2014)


Ontosoroh is a collaborative piece between Ade Suharto (dancer/choreographer) and Peni Candra Rini (vocalist/composer) with three musicians from Surakarta, Central Java. The work is motivated by the character Nyai Ontorosoh from This Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Indonesia’s most celebrated author. Conceived and written whilst he was in exile as a political prisoner in Buru Island, … Continue reading ONTOSOROH (2013)

IN LIEU (2011)

credits Pictures from the final dress rehearsals before the premiere performance season of In Lieu, OzAsia Festival, Adelaide Festival Centre 6-7 September 2011. Director, Choreographer & Performer: Ade Suharto Musical Director, Composer and Performer: David Kotlowy Visual Artist and Performer: Mawarini Scenic & Costume Designer: Justine Shih Pearson Lighting Designer: Dave Gadsden Gamelan In Situ: Emily … Continue reading IN LIEU (2011)


Choreographer Ade Suharto and composer David Kotlowy were artists in residence at Nexus Multicultural Arts in Adelaide in October developing the piece. I went across for a week to develop preliminary costume designs (sketch from my notebook below) and made some trial pieces for a showing of the work in progress in a double bill … Continue reading IN LIEU SHOWING (2010)


binaurally recorded audio walk 30 minutes This is an audio walk. These walks always tend to be tied to place, a rumination on or exposition of place. But I started wondering what if they weren’t? What if it was about placelessness, an any place or no place. A narrow gap left between two buildings just … Continue reading A PLACE CALLED LOST (2006)


digital animation, 4:3, colour 3:15 minutes This short animation was made as part of a masterclass with New York artist Raul Vincent Enriquez. It was designed to be watched by one person at a time, peering into a little screen in a dark capsule, eating rosemary and chili infused mozzarella on toast which I had … Continue reading YOUR TOAST IS READY (2005)


credits directed by Ingrid Voorendt produced by Parallelo at the Auditorium, Art Gallery of South Australia set & costume design by Justine Shih Pearson lighting by Geoff Cobham performers Zoe Barry, Naïda Chinner, Helen Omand, Astrid Pill, Jason Sweeney, Solon Ulbrich Reviews RealTime DB Magazine Back


digital video, 4:3, colour 7:10 minutes Trick of Shade is a layered, elliptical journey through the Greek myth of Pandora’s box. Building around the moment of transgression, Pandora’s fall from grace, the film ponders the precipice of indecision and the moment that curiosity soils innocence. credits directed & edited by Justine Shih Pearson featuring Naida Chinner … Continue reading TRICK OF SHADE (2004)


Naïda’s full-length work was made in residence at the Artspace, an odd-shaped gallery high up within the Adelaide Festival Centre complex. The audience sat in wooden chairs arrayed through the space, very close to the performers. A playful world-weariness, a slightly tarnished innocence and a storybookish sadness were hallmarks of the piece. I made costumes … Continue reading THE PAPER BOAT (2003)


Ade Dancing: Golek Manis is an un-narrated, impressionistic documentary featuring Australian-Indonesian dancer Ade Suharto. The film follows the structure of the classical dance Golek Manis, preserving the introspective focus and pace of the Javanese movement style. At the same time, it captures a period at the end of 2002 when Ade had just returned to Australia … Continue reading ADE DANCING: GOLEK MANIS (2003)


Jo and Cathy’s show takes as its form, variations on La Folia – on recorder, homemade chimes, a surprisingly tuneful plucked cactus, pieces of bubble wrap. The last growing into a 1950s Hollywood-esque tap sequence, in costumes made from bubble wrap. I was inspired by Busby Berkeley and Esther Williams, picture research of MGM’s stars … Continue reading ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR (1999)


A bilingual (Mandarin and English) production based on real-life experiences of sweatshop workers in New York\’s Chinatown, I utilised a variety of puppet construction techniques – rod puppets like this one, as well as performing objects and large hinged characters which were manipulated by several puppeteers as in Bunraku. The puppets interacted with live performers. … Continue reading AMERICAN TIEN (1998)