Shaun Gladwell’s spatial performances exemplify the potential in taking back and re-inhabiting the empty transit zones of urban space. Both Tangara and Woolloomooloo Night, as well as much of Gladwell’s oeuvre, are interventions in particular urban locations that are devoid of activity when not being occupied for very specific, time-limited purposes.
In Tangara, the artist uses the generally overlooked architecture of an empty train carriage as his support for a physically demanding performance. In Woolloomooloo Night, a desolate petrol station is inhabited by a capoiera dancer and a curious group of seagulls. Both of these locations are transformed by these acts of physical theatre and illustrate the potential inherent in all of us to rethink and affect our surroundings. Rather than urban rebels to be hauled away by the Cleanaway truck (a very fitting coincidental symbol in Woolloomooloo Night), Gladwell’s performers boldly assume a presence that equally threatens and liberates the public self we protectively shield from difference and disruption in urban communal space. (Angela Plohman, excerpt exhibition text LIVING THE CITY)