research&development

1001 nights

barbara campbell's 1001 nights cast

Since 1982, Barbara Campbell has been trucking her idiosyncratic performance art all over Australia and the world. Residencies at Griffith, Melbourne and Sydney Universities as well as the Australia Council studios in New York and Santa Monica have all nurtured her creativity, something which works constantly and restlessly within her.

Her latest work is a web based project which bears the title 1001 Nights cast. Not surprisingly, that is the duration of the undertaking, which is a nightly performance of text based work that is performed by Barbara via the Internet to anyone who is online at the time. The time is sunset in the artist's location. So far, Barbara has performed from Paris, London, Madrid, Granada, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, country NSW, Canberra and even Changi Airport in Singapore whilst in transit between Paris and Australia.

But a little more about the story and generation of work. Barbara trawls through news reports on the Middle East and chooses a pithy word or phrase that becomes the starting point for the given writer to work from. As a contributor you are booked in advance to write on a given day and as such, Barbara is relying on you. She renders the prompt in watercolour, posts it on her site and advises you to get cracking! Depending on her location, the chosen writer has anything between 5 and 9 hours to generate a story of 1001 words or less based on the prompt. Your deadline is a few hours before the scheduled sunset performance allowing Barbara to prepare and sometimes make minor adjustments to the stories.

Taking its cue from Scheherazade's 1001 nights also known as The Arabian Nights, Barbara has realised this ancient idea in a fascinating way that is only possible through the power of the internet. Writers all over the world, many who she has never met are contributing to her patchwork of stories that all take their inspiration from the one base theme, the Middle East. Like the original Arabian Nights, the stories deviate from and return to the theme over time.

To find out more about Barbara and the project, you'll be best served by a trip to the 1001 site: http://www.1001.net.au. And if you're a writer wishing to get involved, contact Barbara, as the contributor list is constantly expanding.

A few of us around here at r&d have contributed a number of stories, we've included a few of our favourites for you to read from the archive. There's one by Declan, one by Dave Hagger and another by Caroline Lee. We all feel privileged to have been a part of this so far, by the end of August, Barbara will be performing her 436th consecutive daily performance without a break. We wholeheartedly salute this effort and wish Barbara all the best for the next 583 nights!

Search the entire story archive at 1001 nights cast.

Stories: