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Beautiful City

Beautiful City

“Mind takes form in the city, and in turn, urban forms condition the mind.” (Lewis Mumford, ‘The Culture of Cities’, 1938)

Urban planning shapes our cities; does it also shape our selves?

Incorporating live dance, music and video performance, Beautiful City explores the frantic energy of city life in contrast with the haunting beauty and emptiness of the New Zealand landscape.

This exciting new multimedia work by Robert Appierdo features ‘improvography’ by some of New Zealand’s leading contemporary dancers, including Justine Cooper (Strident) and Kristian Larsen, and a live original soundtrack by Eden Mulholland.

“Beautiful City emerged as an idea six years ago when I was living in London,” explains Robert. “I became fascinated with how the city had magnetically drawn in 13 million people. Later, living in Wellington, I began to see how the organic shape of a city can affect the people living there. I am still amazed at how alive and yet lonely a city can feel. Where we live has a huge effect on how we perceive the world and ourselves.”

In 2005, Robert filmed eight dancers in an inner city car park, the results of which became a short film that was screened earlier this year as part of the “Making Art Public” exhibition at the Wellington Arts Centre. The concept grew to incorporate live elements, and in May 2006 the live performance of Beautiful City premiered at the Moving Image Centre in Auckland as part of the Interdigitate New Media Festival.


Visual Artist/Director: Robert Appierdo
Robert Appierdo has a background in design and has worked as a VJ for more than seven years. In the late ‘90s he was part of the Channel Zero collective that created visual environments for DJ Qbert, Che Fu and DJ Noise. Since then, Rob has provided visuals for international acts such as Thievery Corporation, DJ Hype and Quantic Soul Orchestra, as well as touring New Zealand and Australia performing live visuals for Rhian Sheehan and Module (LOOP). He has collaborated extensively on projects with local theatre companies, including live visuals for A Clockwork Orange (AK05) directed by Andrew Foster, Perfume (Silo), Lost Property (Claire O'Neill and Francisco Rodriguez/Fidget Co) and Certainty (Kristian Larsen, Stab Season). In 2005 Rob won Best Cinematography at the Radio Active 89FM Handle the Jandal competition for the Fly My Pretties’ music video “Lucky”. He is currently working with contemporary chamber orchestra group Stroma. Rob grew up on Auckland’s North Shore and is currently based in Wellington. For more creative projects by Rob, see

Sound: Eden Mulholland
Eden Mulholland has been composing music for dance and theatre since 2000. His recent credits include collaborating with artists Claire O'Neill and Francisco Rodriguez/Fidget Co (Belgium) on the experimental theatre project Lost Property, Malia Johnston with the nationwide tour of Miniatures, Touch Compass Dance Trust short films, Atamira Dance Collective and Curve dance collective. During 2006 Eden will be composing original work for Michael Parmenter as part of the project arising from his 2005 Creative New Zealand Arts Fellowship. Eden graduated from UNITEC's dance programme with a National Diploma of Contemporary Dance in 1998, and danced for choreographers Ann Dewey and Sean Curham and as a member of Touch Compass and Black Grace companies. Eden is also the guitarist/singer songwriter for Motocade, who recently performed live on Top of The Pops.

Dancers: Kristian Larsen, Justine Cooper, Lisa Wilkinson, Paul Young, Kelly Nash

Beautiful City Tour Dates

Wellington: Bats Theatre, Wed 6 – Sat 9 September (part of the Dance Your Socks Off Festival). Price: $16/$12 conc.
Dunedin: Burns Hall, Wed 4 – Sat 7 October (part of the Dunedin Fringe Festival). Price: $10/$7 conc.
Auckland: Galatos, Wed 11, Thu 12, Sat 14 October (part of the Tempo Festival of Dance) Price: $20/$15 conc.
Tickets available from the venues on the night.


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