The University of Melbourne
6 files

Never Tilt Your Chair

posted on 2024-06-25, 03:59 authored by KATE NEALKATE NEAL, Vanessa Tomlinson, Louise Devenish, Leah Scholes

Never Tilt Your Chair is a 25minute performance work for four percussionists and over 300+ pieces of tuned EPNS cutlery. Never Tilt Your Chair creates a shimmering sonic landscape abstracted and built from our most humble of companions, the knife and fork. Using gesture and etiquette from the history of dining, Never Tilt Your Chair comments on the labyrinth of rules and regulations associated with our interaction and use of cutlery at the table.


Australia Council for the Arts;New Work;

PICA;Organisation funding;

TURA;Organisation funding / producer;

Creative Victoria;New Work;


Add to Elements

  • Yes

NTRO Output Type

  • Original Creative Work

NTRO Output Category

  • Original Creative Work : Other


Perth, Australia


PICA - Perth Institute for Contemporary Art

Start Date


End Date



Performance, original score, instrument design, post-instrumental practice, expanded field

Research Statement

This field of research explores the convergence of various artistic disciplines. Terms like "expanded field," "new discipline," "post-instrumental practice," "visual music," and "music-theatre" are often used interchangeably or in relation to specific aspects within this broader interdisciplinary context. This work makes a significant contribution to this field by the re-contextualised theatrical sonification and actuation of domestic objects (cutlery/glass). Innovative performative creation and movement is notated in the score and inspired by the labyrinth of rules and regulations associated with our interaction and use of cutlery at the table. Using gesture and etiquette from the history of dining, rules and taboos created fertile ground for actuation: never tilt your chair, never lick the knife, never clink the teeth, never spit, always cross the fork. "If you cannot swallow a piece of food, turn round and throw it somewhere" Erasmus, 1530. The work involved significant instrument design and construction, drilling and tuning over 300+ pieces of cutlery. What evolved were three racks of tuned microtonal cutlery over 6 octaves for three players, as well as a remotely motorised shimmering cutlery chandelier over a table setting. New language, symbology notation and script were developed and scored for three percussionists, who actuate movement and object based sound creation and notation. This work was well received and reviewed by arts reviewers in WA, VIc, NSW. Finalist for the 2018 Art Music Awards for Performance of the Year. "The performers lick and kiss knives, put their elbows on the table, throw napkins to the floor, sniff, rub their noses and chew with mouths open, astounding.. - Laura Hanigan, Real Time , 2017 "The tapping of cutlery handles on the table, the neat and dexterous use of tines and serrated edges for contrasting sounds, the syncopated thumps of chair legs on the floor and elbows on the table top.....filled my head with remembered childhood admonitions ." Nerida Dickinson, Arts Hub, 2017

Size or Duration of Work



Kate Neal, University of Melbourne

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