Gülsen Özer is an Australian dance and interdisciplinary artist of Turkish and Aboriginal heritage. Working across video, performance and installation Özer explores dynamics of power and connection. Her interests lie in critical thinking, language, gender, translation and collaboration.
Özer's practice combines dance, choreography, sound art, moving and static images and often results in immersive installations indoors and outside in public spaces. Creating mixed media, interactive and conceptual art works, Özer uses the power of live performance and object and installation design, to facilitate a re-enchantment of embodiment, relationships, and presence.
Her work is grounded in dynamic collaborative processes that often involve community engagement and her site-specific artworks have a deep engagement with the environmental and cultural context in which they are created and presented.
Özer's participatory public art projects engage a wide range of forms and different audiences. Her work animates participant engagement and assists others to tell their stories in a vital, resonant way; This is where it happened focussed on senior’s audio stories and memories of dance at multiple locations (Lilydale, Vic, 2017/18); public artworks, Surrealesville and Kids these days, are projects created in partnership with local youth (Healesville, Vic, 2018/19); and Present Tense engaged seniors with no dance background, a median age of 80, and living in a metro regional location, in the creation of a contemporary dance theatre work (Koo Wee Rup, Pakenham, Vic, 2019).
Özer's work adroitly explores both the political and the poetic and her allegorical story-telling connects people through mutual experience and identification. Through recent work, such as Split Rock a site responsive video artwork engaging in local history, geology and mythology (2020); Dance X, an exhibition installation using 360 video and sensor technology, exploring new ways to communicate choreography, presented at Yarra Ranges Regional Museum (2017); In Real Life, a contemporary dance work about human connection (2016); Calling it, an audio gallery installation focussed on animal extinction (2018); and Just like you, a solo show about having a ‘unique’ name (2019), Özer innovatively explores difference and diversity.
Özer is currently developing an arts-based creative recovery project, to support community recovery following the bushfires of February and March 2019 in the Bunyip State Park in Victoria. The project will involve the local community in the creation of an original piece of music with and for the community. Özer also recently presented a new site specific choreographic work for Dancing Place Corhanwarrabul (Mount Dandenong, Victoria), curated by Gretel Taylor in consultation with Aboriginal elder Murrundindi (Gary Hunter) in November 2020.