Dancers and musicians with a projected image of the Story Bridge 2003

Bridge Song

'Bridge Song' is a dance, media and live music performance with themes stemming from an artistic exploration of Brisbane's iconic Story Bridge. Bonemap collaborated with Clocked Out's Vanessa Tomlinson and Eric Griswald to produce a series of performance interventions.

The cantilevered Story Bridge, designed by John Bradfield that opened in 1940, creates a transport link between Fortitude Valley and Kangaroo Point. The Bridge is a physical manifestation of the city's urbanisation. As infrastructure, it services the passage of people, trade, and commerce from north to south and south to north. It forms a physical and metaphoric structure that intertwines the scale of human ingenuity and labour with the frenzy of human transportation. It is a site of intense movement; close to 90,000 vehicles per day traverse the road deck suspended by steel girders held together by over 1,000,000 rivets and bolts. It represents the city's engineering triumph over the natural attributes of its setting. There are also aesthetic qualities providing visual reference points that frame the city historically and contemporaneously. Beyond its civic symbolism, the bridge evokes the sentiment of navigating and overcoming change. As a structure connecting points, it is analogous to a passage, transforming ideas from one realm to another.

The bridge crosses a river that has, over millennia, cut its way through the rhyolite cliffs of what the Indigenous Turrbal people called Meeanjin. The kinetic motion of the water is perpetual against the transient progression of commuters. Many individual determinations drive a stream of rubber, steel and flesh across the bridge. The river waters beneath the span are on a single-minded journey to the sea. A dance of contrasts between ancient and urban—the temporal and the temporary with each a peak and tide. The water below the bridge appears unfathomable in time but for a sparkling surface upon which patterns of light play. In this moment of glistening and urban movement, the scene fuses into a unified experience.

Bridge Song uses the tensions between a place's built and natural attributes, the body, and its relationship with its surrounding structures. A stage for blended media to tell the ambiguous story of the fragile perceptual relationships between ecological and human forms. Bridge Song embodies choreographed and improvisational dance exploring the body as a site, live music and projection/new media design to create stage images that provoke and delight perceptions of time and place. The unique qualities of mediated live performance – the virtual and the visceral, extend the potential layers of audience empathy and engagement.

The Bridge is a lifeline
Between North and South
It is a trajectory
Passing over
The river
The water
Is a depth
I do not know
And knowing
There is no truth
I look down
Into the

Bonemap: Rebecca Youdell and Russell Milledge
sound: Clocked Out: Vanessa Tomlinson, Eric Griswald

Jondi Keane (critical essay)| Sulja Nezovic – Totem Designs (fabrication)| Christian Green (stage manager)| Lisa McClymont (assistant stage manager)| Vanessa Mafé (documentation)| Cheryl Stock – QUT creative Industries (outside eye)| Yuri Nezzovic (floor crew)

2003 Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Meeanjin | Brisbane

Arts Queensland, QUT Creative Industries

Mary Ann Hunter: The bridge: between iron and flesh

QUT Creative Industries, Arts Queensland

Video documentation to come:

Dancer and musician with a projected image of the Story Bridge