Brown's Mart Theatre, Darwin City

October 27 - 31, 2004

Rust is a dance between two apparently opposing concepts

Dance and new media meet in this hyper-modern and gritty collaboration between choreographer and dancer David McMicken and multimedia artist Elka Kerkhofs. They created a world of new technologies and increased complexities opposing a universal tendency toward entropic disorder. Performed by McMicken and Kerkhofs with guest dancer Gary Lang.

RUST was about the body, both decline and reformation, of the new emerging from the old. Aging gracefully or raging into the night; an exploration of image and attitudes that our culture has towards the aging body. Moving from serious reflection, through humour, and back again, Rust explores a middle time when the energy of youth flees in one direction while the body tells us that we are aging. No longer young, not yet old. Thin layers of physical rust begin to appear on the body, while the mind explores ways to fight this inevitable state.

If a car is abandoned in the desert it will eventually rust away and rejoin the landscape. But in life the human body remains inhabited and we fight our decay with vengeance. We may think of age as inhabiting the past, and yet it is a guaranteed future for all of us.

RUST focuses on the performers’ body heading towards a state of entropy while the mind’s ability to conceptualise the world evolves. An exploration of body images and the attitudes our culture has towards the place of age in performance.

Collaborators’ Notes

Living in a time structure that appears to progress relentlessly forwards can have its pitfalls. The more we learn, the closer we are to losing it all. We have all of our energy at a time before we have all of our wisdom. We struggle with issues of aging and yet seem to love having those old things around us. We love the shiny and new and desire some connection with our past.

Rust is a dance between two apparently opposing concepts:

  • The Second Law of Thermodynamics suggests that the universe is dissipating energy and winding down towards a disordered and less complex state.
  • Evolutionary Biology suggests we are evolving into ever more complex forms.

We have worked together previously on a project called Love Vs Gravity where Elka was responsible for a section, Blood Vs Wine. We have also worked together on several short films. The connection between multi media and dance provides a gritty platform for our experimentation where we explore the creation of a world where new technologies and increased complexities oppose a universal tendency toward entropic disorder.

It seemed natural when exploring the ideas for this production that we utilised the many different technologies available to us, especially when it sometimes seems that technology is aging faster than humans are. How long does a mobile phone stay current? Or, What is the current life span of computer technology? Rust has allowed us to delve into sound, vision, music, dance and design. We have set the piece within a research laboratory where we have analysed the various approaches to the aging body within the context of natural life cycles.

RUST lets us feel the tug between youth and old age without having a crisis. Rust is our way of investigating this life and processing our experiences with few restrictions. How do we view the body as it progresses? The result is an intimate performance that moves through many states of being.

The multi-media ingredients are placed together in a manner that is reminiscent of opening boxes of treasure. Each one reveals different aspects that together paint a picture, reminding us that time is ticking away, and at the same pace for all of us.

David McMicken and Elka Kerkhofs

Creative Personnel

The final work has come from a series of collaborations between the artists involved.
Original Concept / Direction: David McMicken
Multi Media Artist and collaborator: Elka Kerkhofs (film, editing, music)
Assistant Director: Tim Newth
Performers: David McMicken, Gary Lang, Elka Kerkhofs
Original music compositions and mixes: Elka Kerkhofs (DJ Snug)
Cooking Show Host (Preshow Film): David Taylor
Lighting: Matthew James
Costumes: Louise Rieck
Stage Manager: Karen Maxwell
Poster Image and Design: Mark Marcelis​​​​​​​
Promotions Manager: Sue Mornane


  • A Box for Making Rust. A Courtyard Video Installation. A cooking show with local chef David Taylor (Music DJ Snug - ddb1)
  • A Box for Scrutinising. Inside Outside The Body (Music by DJ Snug - Just Rust, Terminate)
  • A Box for Chasing Our Youth. A time when we could (Music by Duran Y Garcia - Round Midnight, DJ Snug Mix)
  • Interlude (Music by DJ Snug - Second Floor Elevation)
  • A Box for Shining A Light on Details. Becoming Our Separate Body Parts (Music by DJ Snug - Junky)
  • A Box for False Rust. Pushing Too Hard, finding a balance (Music by DJ Snug - Belgian Congo)
  • A Box for The Body In Decay. Death by Design (Music by DJ Snug - Black Marble Skins)
  • A Box for Slowing Down. A cup of tea solves most things (Music by DJ Snug - Tea Ceremony)
  • A Box for Signs of Rust in Humans (Music by Humble Souls - Beads, Things & Flowers, DJ Snug Mix)
  • A Box for Dance Karaoke. Can’t remember (music by Petula Clark - DownTown (Mix by OUTpsiDER) additional mixing DJ Snug
  • A Box for The Spirit Of Place. Going It Alone (music by DJ Snug - Hiroshima 55
  • A Box for Liquid Angels. Trying To Fly, Learning to Walk (Music by Ian Simmonds - Theme to the Last Puma. Voice by Kestral. DJ Snug Mix)
  • A Box for Entropy. Winding Down (music by Kinaesthesia - Triachus (Mix by Aphex Twin)



You need three things: Steel, Oxygen and heat. All you have to do is put them in the same place at the same time.

Aging Objects - Leather Footballs, Soccer-Balls, etc

If time, soak the ball in water. Treat ball with any variety of garden fertiliser, something acidic that will tone down the polished leather of the football. Add streaks and tips, or oils to it. Kick it around. Throw it in a dryer or a washing machine and dryer.

Making False Rust

You will need: salt, clear glue, spray adhesive, beige, orange, rust and black coloured spray paint and paint brush.
Method: spray the surface with the adhesive.
Throw on salt to provide the texture.
Layer with various coloured paints.
Repeat until necessary effect has been achieved.

Make Walls Look Old, Crusty and Layered

Build walls out of masonite sheets.
Treat them with putty, made mud-like.
Paint it to desired colour.
Treat many times, with water or whatever it might need for the actual shot.
Watch the walls get warped by the weight and wetness of the putty.

Tracks 2004

Artistic Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
Company Manager: Sue Mornane
Dance Animateur: Julia Quinn
Youth Trainee: Marko Taopo
Bookkeeper: Heather Richards
Development Consultant: Suzanne Fermanis

Committee Members:  Jackie Wurm (Chair), David Taylor (Vice-Chair), Glenn Bernardin (Treasurer), Kyleigh Hindson (Secretary/Public Officer), Ken Conway, Donna Quong, Jill MacAndrew, Kay Brown (Ordinary Committee Members), David McMicken and Tim Newth (Ex-Officio Members)

Public Fund Trustees: Rev. Steve Orme, Dr Anita Toth, Paul Wan



Explore Further

Professional Dance

Media Responses

“In this intimate production, the threesome (David McMicken, Elka Kerkhofs, Gary Lang) explore middle age through a series of vignettes, some of which are serious and insightful, others playful high camp.”

“Being able to convey complex ideas through dance is a difficult task and Rust largely achieves this … presenting challenging work to large appreciative audiences.” Malcolm Smith, Real Time

Audience Response

"It’s great to see Tracks working with multi media artists. Fantastic. Interesting choreography."

"Very interesting performance- art piece, gave me new ideas to the way dance & video can be used to complement each other.'

"Was very alternative, creative, imaginative, inspirational, entertaining, colourful, original, mind blowing!!'

"Amazing, beautiful, spectacular. Great use of space/lighting."

"Sound, imagery, movement, layered to form an incredible all sensory experience."

"Wonderful to see thoughtful, meaningful multi art form work that “pushes the envelope” and yet is still fusional, intimate & relevant. Cheeky & fun!!!"

"Enjoyable & a good representation of the combination of multi media & performing arts (best I’ve seen yet!)."

"Very powerful. Love the interactivity between technology and real actor."

"Very creative. One amazing performance."

"Very, very rusty indeed! It was beautiful to watch the 3 dimensional."

"Visually & audibly stunning. A rich personal exploration of a dancers life (decay)."

"Loved the multi media combination & dancers. Choreography great. I have two new knees! I want to dance like David."

"Fascinated with the use of technology / enhancements."

"Excellent use of space, great music, fantastic colours. I didn’t read the program and I thought it was about creation."

"Up to “Tracks” excellent and innovative record! Congratulations."

"The show is exciting, humorous and delicate. Enjoyed it very much."


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