Nicola Gunn works across contemporary performance, choreography, theatre and socially-engaged art as a performance artist, writer, director, choreographer, facilitator and dramaturg. She makes live performances, videos, objects, site-specific events, installations and books; and has collaborated with dancers, choreographers, actors, anthropologists, indigenous language archivists, comic book artists, translators, children, architects, senior citizens and the audience. Borrowing from theatrical, choreographic, literary, comedic and visual art languages to create a mode of contemporary performance that plays with form, bends narrative and makes an effort to solve a problem, the guiding principle of these works is an attempt to productively pull apart whatever is going on with her or whatever interests her at the time. Often these things are one and the same. She often uses subversive, humorous, choreographic and philosophical tactics to come at things from a moral and ethical standpoint and uses language simply to convey a hidden and modest complexity. Exploring wide-ranging topics including power, language, gentrification, displacement, the problem of intimacy and exposure, peace and conflict, her work attempts to intermingle material and context, complicating relationships between self, subject and viewer in the process.
Nicola has been commissioned by both theatre and dance venues, and presented in both contexts internationally. Her work has been shown in Australia, New Zealand, Chile, the US, Canada, France, Austria, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Italy, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Ireland, the UK and Belgium and by festivals and venues including Biennale Venezia di Danza, HAU / Tanz im August, Southbank Centre London, Dublin Theatre Festival, Tanzquartier Wien, La Villette, Le Grütli, PuSh Festival, La Mama ETC / PS122’s Coil Festival, Santarcengelo Festival, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Black Box Teater Oslo, BIT Teatergarasjen, Meteor Festival and Oktoberdans, Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre and National Gallery of Victoria International among others.
Major awards include an Australia Council Theatre Fellowship, Sidney Myer Fellowship for Artistic Practice, Winston Churchill Memorial Research Fellowship, Playking Asia Travel Grant, Norsk Kulturråd Arbeidsstipend, Bergen Kommune Arbeidsstipend and an Australia Council Emerging Artist Fellowship. Residencies include Carte Blanche and USF Verftet (Bergen), The Chocolate Factory (Long Island City/NYC), Cité des Arts (Paris), CAMPO (Gent), Bundanon (Australia) and Banff Centre for the Creative Arts (Canada).
Nicola has a Master of Arts (Art in Public Space) from RMIT in Melbourne. She is presently Associate Professor in Performance and Time-based Art at KMD, the art academy of the University of Bergen.