Best Wishes (2014)
An ephemeral installation and gallery intervention developed for SafARI 2014, Sydney’s experimental arts biennale.
Having relocated to Berlin by the SafARI festival period, Dillon created a live performance and ephemeral installation, ‘Best Wishes,’ responding to her physical absence from the exhibition. She sent individually addressed flower bouquets to festival artists and curators, apologising for her absence and describing the highlights of her Berlin lifestyle. Dillon hired an actor to perform a toast on her behalf at the opening night event of the festival. The bouquets were left to decompose in the gallery during the festival period, pointing to the fleeting nature of live performance whilst providing a monument to the artistic ego.
Toast Excerpt (Performed by Anna Chase at the SafARI LIVE opening night)
It’s a pleasure to be here tonight, at the opening of safARI 2014, surrounded by some of Australia’s most exciting new creative talent.
I’ve been asked by Beth Dillon, SafARI Live artist, to present this toast on her behalf.
Beth is so sorry she can’t be here in person to perform for you all, but would like you all to know that she is having a really wonderful time in Berlin. She asks that you don’t feel bad for her - she’s much too busy enjoying herself in Europe to spare even a moment to dwell on what could have been if she’d stayed in Sydney.
Beth has assured me that if circumstances were different, if she wasn’t in the middle of an international residency program, funded by a very generous university scholarship, surrounded by an international community of artists and curators…if she could have been here tonight, in the flesh, standing before you, she would have presented you with a performance intervention so powerful, so unnerving and experimental that it would have stirred your hearts and minds for months to come.
Beth wishes to extend her sincere apologies to all the safARI artists whose works she will be unable to experience due to her international engagements. She would like you to know that although her creative commitments in Berlin are quite demanding, she will strive to find the time to enjoy the documentation of your works over the coming months.
To the festival curators, support team, volunteers and SafARI board members, Beth would like to express her deepest gratitude for being given the opportunity to be involved in this experimental arts platform. The fact that Beth has devoted considerable time and effort to this festival project when she is already so consumed with the demands of developing her practice abroad is testament to the artistic merit of the wonderful work that is being done here.
Beth has asked that I close with a toast to congratulate all those who with their hard work, creative vision and generous spirit have made this festival possible. So let’s lift our glasses and drink to safARI 2014.