Gülsen Özer is a Naarm (Melbourne) based artist, choreographer and creative director working across a range interdisciplinary projects. Her work is grounded in dynamic collaborative relationships and processes that often involve community engagement. Özer's moves between the roles of choreographer/performer, curator, creative director and facilitator in the creation of performance, visual and sound art, often resulting in immersive installations.
Özer's work is both emotionally expressive and conceptually rich. Her interests lie in critical thinking, language, gender, translation and collaboration. Creating mixed media, participatory and conceptual art works, Özer uses art experiences to facilitate a re-enchantment with embodiment, relationships, and presence.
Özer's has been making site-specific artworks within the Dandenong and Yarra Ranges for over 10 years and her participatory art projects engage a wide range of forms and different audiences; including a recent residency Feeling in Full Colour working with Secondary School students in Pakenham (2021); Resounding a Bunyip Complex Bushfire Creative Recovery project (2020/2021) Split Rock a site responsive video artwork engaging in local history, geology and mythology (2020 and a finalist for New Wave Short Film Festival (Munich/Germany), Roma Short Film Festival (Rome/Italy) and an Honourable mention as finalist for the Toronto Indie Filmmakers Festival (Canada); If only they could talk a site specific choreographic work for Dancing Place Corhanwarrabul (Mount Dandenong, Victoria), curated by Gretel Taylor in consultation with Aboriginal elder Murrundindi, AKA Gary Hunter (2020), through these and other projects Özer practice has a deep and evolving engagement with the environmental and cultural context in which her works are created and presented.
Özer's 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. (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 Dance X, an exhibition installation using 360 video and sensor technology, exploring new ways to communicate choreography, presented at Yarra Ranges Regional Museum (YRRM) (2017); In Real Life, a contemporary dance work about human connection, HillsceneLIIVE (2016); Calling it, an audio gallery installation focussed on animal extinction, Force of Nature YRRM (2018) and Just like you a performance work about having a unique name, Özer innovatively explores explores the dynamics of power, connection and loss.