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 galleries are open today 10am–3pm. Our exhibitions are always free.

While You Sleep
Sal Cooper & Kate Neal

While You Sleep – Sal Cooper & Kate Neal

Dark, subtle and surprising, While You Sleep weaves string quartet, piano, electronics, film and animation in a surreal counterpoint of music, movement and image where nothing is as it seems. 

In this aural and visual excursion into the musical fugue and psychological ‘fugue state’ performers spin across the stage on wheeled chairs as they interact with immersive visuals. Hand-drawn animation, live action, video and stop-motion play out as pianist Jacob Abela, violinists Isabel Hede and Zachary Johnston, violist Phoebe Green and cellist David Moran perform 50 minutes of memorised music, bereft of stands and sheet music, while in choreographed motion.

The work expands upon the elaborate complexity of the musical fugue – where a phrase is introduced by one instrument and then taken up by others – to deftly probe the uncertain landscapes between grief and identity, reality and illusion.

Exploring flight, memory and dissociation, While You Sleep is a mesmerising escape from the present.

“A work of dizzying complexity…recalls Georges Méliès and William Kentridge” – Dr. Thomas H. Ford

Purchase your tickets
13 July | 7:30pm – Preview
14 July | 7:30pm – Opening Night
15 July | 7:30pm
16 July | 7:30pm – Post Show Q&A

About the Artists

Creative Directors: Sal Cooper and Kate Neal
Music and Sound Design: Kate Neal
Screen-based Media: Sal Cooper
Dramaturge / Co-director: Jackson Castiglione
String Quartet: Zachary Johnston; Isabel Hede; Phoebe Green; David Moran
Piano: Jacob Abela
Electronics: Grischa Lichtenberger
Costume / Stage Design: Emily Barrie
Lighting / AV Design: Additive

Flight Risk – Sal Cooper and Kate Neal
Sal Cooper (animation/visual media) and Kate Neal (composition/sound design) have been
collaborating for over 14 years. Their cross-platform work is concerned with developing new languages to explore aspects of our human existence and articulating these discoveries through the relationship between vision and sound. They are interested in exploring absurd propositions and strange emotional landscapes. Cooper and Neal create work across a variety of presentation mediums: short films for cinematic and performance contexts; large-scale staged visual-theatre works; installations and new music concert pieces. Their first collaboration Song For a Comb was a Tropfest finalist in 2009 and won Best Animation and Women in Film Awards. In 2019 they premiered The Commuter Variations, for solo piano and animation with New York based pianist Lisa Moore. While You Sleep, a live theatrical performance piece for string quartet and visual media, further explored the boundaries between visual art and music and premiered in a sell-out season at Arts House in November 2018. They are currently developing a number of commissions including a major new work for the Rubiks Collective.

Tura is a not-for-profit cultural and community development organisation based in Perth, Western Australia. Tura is a producer as well as a resource centre and cultural advocate. Founded in 1987 Tura has a proud history of achievement in initiating cultural development from the inner city to remote communities across Australia.

Tura engages in an inspiring and innovative exploration of music and sound that resonates within Australian culture and the wider global community. We produce projects and experiences that celebrate music and the sonic arts. We prioritise collaboration, embrace cross-cultural learning, and defy expectations. Tura makes a leading contribution to the cultural life of Australia and beyond through award-winning productions and community engagement programs. Tura supports artistic risk and innovation to stimulate participants and audiences to experience uncommon perceptions of their world and themselves.


Presented with Tura

The tour of While You Sleep has been supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory and the Contemporary Music Touring Program.

Image Credit: Bryony Jackson