Grants & residencies: Tristan Meecham - Art Collector

Issue 63, January - March 2013

This profile appeared in the Grants & residencies feature, part of the annual special issue 50 Things Collectors Need to Know 2013.

Tristan Meecham, Fun Run. Performance. Photo: Sheridan Mills

$30,000 Creative Australia grant, Australia Council

On the morning of 5 January 2013, one peculiarly orange man, his bad tan barely covered by hot pants and nipple pasties, will mount an outdoor stage in Hyde Park to signal the opening of the Sydney Festival. To start the proceedings, the audience will be briefly introduced to the story of Pheidippides, the Greek messenger who ran 42.2 km, full bolt, to Athens in order to announce the Persian’s defeat in the battle of Marathon – before dropping down dead. In homage to Pheidippides, Tristan Meecham will run on a treadmill for five hours or so until he clocks up the requisite 42 km of the modern marathon.

But this homage to Pheidippides is just as much homage to P-Diddy, with Meecham channeling the all-up-in-your-grill bling of R&B entertainers and the supersized theatrics of corporate sporting events. To help him through this endurance test, Meecham will be flanked by hot dancers (in Kanye shades and Sparkle Motion outfits) and a cavalcade of local sports groups (previous cameos include hard-nut triathlon squads, big-hair-yeah-yeah aerobics troupes and the Grey Panthers, a winsome seniors’ dance outfit).

Fun Run has been commissioned to open the 2013 Sydney Festival after previous iterations at the 2011 Darwin Festival and the 2010 Next Wave Festival. Meecham holds degrees in both drama and visual art – he was awarded the inaugural Richard Pratt Scholarship for Outstanding Acting Student at the Victorian College of the Arts – and is part of an increasingly prevalent group of live art practitioners whose projects straddle disciplines in unconventional ways and whose work is often presented in distinctive site-specific contexts. Such innovative projects require support and, like many such interdisciplinary works, Meecham’s have found assistance from the Australia Council as well as incubation spaces such as the City of Melbourne’s Arts House, which has built a strong community of artists and audiences interested in such genre-busting arts practices.

In 2013, Meecham will turn his attention to subverting the game show format, creating another spectacle that has found developmental support through an Australia Council grant as well as from Brisbane’s Powerhouse, Arts Queensland and City of Melbourne’s Arts House. “What would you do to win?” Meecham posits in his early notes for Game Show. “Does what we risk determine what we value? Double or nothing! Deal or no deal! Spin the wheel! Win his fridge! Win his CD collection! Win his eczema cream! Kiss the chicken!
Welcome to the game show!”

Phip Murray

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