At PICA we recognise that we are situated within the unceded lands of the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation. We pay our respects and offer our gratitude to Elders past and present, and to those emerging leaders in the community. We acknowledge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the importance of their care and continued connection to culture, community and Country.

Always was, always will be.

Our foyer is open today 10am–5pm. Our exhibitions are always free.

Sarah Aiken

Make Your Life Count

Make Your Life Count

‘One of the most moving pieces of dance … blurs the line between performance and documentation, using an onstage camera to create, minimise, expand and extrapolate her image in real-time.’ – The Saturday Paper

Make Your Life Count is an ambitious dance work that shifts scale in a heartbeat and moves from the microscopic to the universal and back again. In front of an audience, choreographer and dancer Sarah Aiken encounters her own self – expanded to infinite proportions and shrunken to painful insignificance, stretched into new dimensions and flattened into mute landscapes. This powerful work of imagination is a serious attempt to grapple with the paradoxes of modern life in which the individual is swollen to grotesque importance while simultaneously reduced to ineffectual and invisible impotence.

Make Your Life Count looks for ways to soften society’s focus on the individual – to lose oneself in the patterns of community, ecology and history. An award-winning solo, from one of Australia’s most exciting choreographers, is an ambitious work of scale incorporating dance, intricate pre-made and real-time video layering, text and the live body as it navigates digital and physical landscapes. Supported by an original sound score by long-term collaborator Andrew Wilson (aka Andras), Make Your Life Count pushes form, knitting together dance and projections with wry humour. Whether monstrous and destructive or lost in the crushing scale of humanity, ecology, time and the universe, this perspective-shifting work is a chance to lose yourself and maybe find something better.

Duration: 60 minutes, no interval.

Please stick around after the Thursday 18 April performance for a post-show Q&A with Sarah Aiken and Dr Sam Fox.

About the Artists

Sarah Aiken is a Melbourne-based performer, teacher and choreographer. Sarah’s works investigate assemblage, authorship, scale and the self. She critically engages with the relationship between performer and audience and the possibilities for empathy and exchange. Sarah is co-director of Deep Soulful Sweats with Rebecca Jensen, creating work that engages rigorously with participation and waste, recycling content to consider materiality and how we come together. They will present The Eleventh Hour (workshop) and Deep Soulful Sweats for STRUT’s Perth Moves as part of Perth Festival 2024 

Sarah’s recent choreographic works include Demake/Demaster SITU8 City, Liberty Theatre, Perth (STRUT/TURA 2022), What Am I Supposed To Do? (WAISTD) Arts Centre Melbourne (2019) and SARAHAIKEN (Tools for Personal Expansion), Keir Choreographic Award (2016). In 2022 she participated in the Australia Council’s Helsinki International Artists Program and in 2023 toured Deep Soulful Sweats to Latvia and Finland.  

Make Your Life Count premiered at Arts House, Melbourne in 2022, with subsequent seasons at Platform Arts and video presentation at Federation Square, Gertrude Street Projection Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney and Frame Biennale of Dance. The work won Best Visual Design at the Australian Green Room Awards in 2023.  

Lead artist (Choreography, Video, Visual Design and Performance): Sarah Aiken
Performance: Claire Leske
Text: Megan Payne with Sarah Aiken
Lighting Design: Amelia Lever-Davidson
Sound Design: Andrew Wilson
Technical Designer: Daniel Arnott


This project was commissioned by the City of Melbourne through Arts House and was supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria. Its development supported by a Lucy Guerin Inc/WXYZ space residency and Creative Victoria’s Creators Fund.