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Ostinato – a short repeated pattern

  • in development for 2025

A new work as a result of Ms Kitteridge & Bok Choy for the Modalities of Listening research project.


Building on LRT’s previous works ‘the foul of the air‘ and ‘The Reckoning‘, Ostinato examines the denial that occurs during acts of violence asking : When is it ever possible or even permissible not to notice a tragedy as heinous as that cruise ship incident? When so many fellow cruisers are under the influence, who can tell whether one is merely ‘sleeping it off’ or in mortal danger? Unless it’s deemed newsworthy for a few short cycles in the media, who even cares? And so goes this short, repeated pattern.

The developments for this work have taken place through a jazz concert series Ms Kitteridge & Bok Choy which brings together Sydney’s most inspiring jazz improvisers across generations, featuring women at the forefront of the development.

Ostinato weaves Auslan, musicians and performers within a hotel setting. This ‘hotel’ allows the audience to move freely amongst the performers to witness what She says and how She is listened to.

The narrative is inspired by personal letters, lived experience, and the book Good Soldier’s Don’t Rape by Megan Mackenzie, Professor of Gender and War. Her findings based on interviews conducted in a hotel room have implications not only for those seeking to address, reduce, and prevent sexual violence in militaries but also for those hoping to understand rape culture and how patriarchy operates more broadly.

The auter, Michelle St Anne has long described her childhood as growing up in a war zone, and this work creates a powerful representation of home, as a military base to understand our inability to shift rape culture through the agitation of the ears.

Ostinato sits in the genre of European giants Bausch & Ensemble Modern with unique Australian idiosyncrasies. Sometimes a concert, sometimes dance, sometimes interview, – challenging yes, timely yes, confronting yes, because art can shift our comfort with turning away.

Two glass doors revolve in a circular enclosure. A woman is flushed onto the dark stage by the revolving door and darts between the empty chairs, then disappears stage right. So begins Pina Bausch’s Cafe Mueller.  As women tumble into the room which one of them will be deemed newsworthy a metaphor of how the media treats the ‘scandals’ of sexual violence against women.

Take a journey with some of Sydney’s most inspiring jazz improvisers set in a world of beauty, elegance, discomfort and rage.

image: Sharon Smith 2004