you need a subscription to view this film: subscribe - education only

Shadowline II

Australian Avantgarde

Year: 1976/2011, 65 mins
Code: MM-Shadow

  • Description
  • About the Artists
  • Reviews
  • Embed / Share

“One goes on recognising the landmarks of the predecessors, excited, amused, taking the hard luck and the good luck together .... the picturesque common lot that holds so many possibilities for the deserving or perhaps the lucky. Yes. One goes on. And the time, too, goes on – til one perceives ahead a shadow-line, warning one that the region of early youth, too, must be left behind”. Joseph Conrad. ‘The Shadow-line’

Shadowline II was the first attempt by performance artist Mike Mullins to create a large scale sculptural performance. It is a series of tableaux or, changing impressions within a singular scenic structure. The first part explores the relationship between HIM and HER against a background of Catholic religious iconology. The piece explores the theme that everyone needs to believe in something that  can make a sense of the life. The two protagonists have rejected institutionalised religion and are consumed by existential angst. They are constantly reaching out for something that can justify their existence.
The second part explores the idea that a solution can only ever be found by reaching ‘inside’ of ourselves.
Despite our significant technological advancements, our enormous knowledge and our endless material comforts – it seems to me that we still find it difficult to be alone with ourselves. In point of fact, more than thirty years after creating Shadowline II, the situation has become worse. Today we hide behind technology, where we avoid direct contact with each other and we live in the cold world of virtual reality where we pretend to be ‘not alone’. Until we have come to terms with the simple act of being at one with ourselves, we will never pass through the shadow-line of more than 2000 years of human development.

Snapshot - Mike Mullins's background in performance as a practising artist:

1973 Trainee director, Old Tote Theatre, Sydney
1974-75 Teatr Laboratorium of Grotowski, 12-month residency, Wrocław, Poland, La Mama, New York City, 3-month residency
1976 Shadowline, large scale performance, St Marks Church Hall, Fitzroy, Melbourne & Village Church Hall, Paddington, Sydney
1978 Montage, an exhibition of living sculptures, Pilgrim Theatre, Sydney
1979 The No-One Performances, series of solo pieces performed in the streets of Sydney and in Exiles Bookshop windows, Darlinghurst, Sydney Shadowline II, large scale performance, Pilgrim Theatre & Seymour Centre, Sydney Kitsch or But Please Be Careful, DADA Cabaret piece, various cabaret venues & Nimrod Theatre, Sydney; New York City & St Martin's Theatre, Melbourne
1980 New Blood, a large-scale performative installation, Cleveland Street Performance Space, Sydney

Agent Orange, solo performance, Act 2, Canberra

1980-1985 Founding director of The Performance Space, Sydney

Today Mike Mullins is an accomplished creative director and executive producer. He has performed strategic roles in major international events such as Expo 88 (Brisbane), Expo 92 (Spain), Expo 96 (Hungary) and the Sydney 2000 Olympics. As a creative director and producer of design projects, entertainment programs, cultural projects and special events, he has achieved professional recognition at an international, national and local level. As the founding director of The Performance Space in Sydney, he established Australia's first national institution dedicated to the encouragement and promotion of innovation in the performing arts.


“From a purely objective point of view I can recommend Shadowline II for the polished and professional style of its presentation, the witty symbolism of its sets and the clever use of rich, sometimes lush, music which sets off the pared-down approach to every other aspect of production.” 
Jill Sykes/ Sydney Morning Herald/ 3 March 1979


“ …. together they create often very beautiful sensations, particularly of the romantic tragic kind, which are quite foreign to anything Australian theatre is accustomed to producing..”
Katherine Brisbane/ The Australian/ 5 March 1979

Share this video

Start at (H:MM:SS) and end at (H:MM:SS)


Embed this video

Start at (H:MM:SS) and end at (H:MM:SS)