5 Questions with Tina Havelock Stevens

Tina Havelock Stevens speaks with artist and curator, Lawrence English, to ponder how the input of moods, modes and movements come together in driving the emotional momentum of her performances. The two artists explore the ambiguities of human nature through their discussion of moving image, sound, performance, mixed media and the input of effort and bodily energy from Tina towards her instrument.





Installation commissioned for the inaugural show at Bundanon Museum to be re-staged for ‘Keeper of Time’ at Dominik Mersch Gallery
‘Keeper of Time’ 5.08. – 3.09.2022

Friday 5 August, 6–8 PM
The opening will include a short performance by Tina and collaborator dance artist, Jo Lloyd
Tina HAVELOCK STEVENS is an artist who explores the ambiguities of human nature using moving image, photography, sound, improvisational performance, and mixed media. Her works animate an experience of the world that is attuned to the rhythm and movement of the structures and environments that we inhabit and traverse, and our consequent emotional responses. They offer the experience of suspended time, holding our attention to passing moments – mostly encountered. She is known for immersive and transcendent audio-visual installations, often using a drum kit as a spontaneous compositional conduit for historical and personal narratives, environments, and atmospheres.

‘Keeper of Time’ sonically measures the archival. It embraces time travel, the connection to nature and ourselves, touches on the mysteries of DNA and the idea of ‘posthumous collaboration’. The works fuse photography, video installation, text and sound and keep time as the past breathes rhythm into the future.

The artist states: “I found a book of postcards when sorting the family home and worked out that they belonged to my Grandfathers mother and grandmother from the first decade of the last century. Inside, I found a carefully arranged album with landscapes from the past and no one left to answer my questions. There’s much beyond the frame. Rather than spontaneously compose and drum the image – something I often do with moving image and/or place – I decided to paint an abstract line which is based on a VU meter. A voluminous meter. The sort of thing you might find on a piece of audio recording equipment. A tool of vision replicating the ears which indicates loudness, energy and intensity. A way to see how something hears perhaps, in this case, an emotional gauge.” 

Tina will also be re-staging an installation from the inaugural show at Bundanon Museum. The work draws on Malcolm Arnold’s original orchestral music for Robert Helpmann’s Elektra ballet performed at Covent Garden, London, in 1963 through a striking video portrait. The Elektra program’s 1960s design, the bold colours of Arthur Boyd’s set, and the dance reviewer Richard Buckle’s description – “it opens with drums and brass in a burst of boiling rage” – come together to re-construct the drama of the Elektra tragedy. As stated by the Bundanon Trust: “Havelock Stevens’ no stranger to the task of ‘taking up male’ space and re-inhabits the wrath of the Furies in her performance.”

Read more.  Head to the ‘Keeper of Time’ exhibition page below to read a provocative essay on the exhibition written by Daniel Mudie Cunningham.  
Tina Havelock Stevens, 2022, ‘Loch Callater Sound In-Between’, from the ‘Keeper of Time’ postcard series
1290 cm x 855cm – pigment archival print on aluminium


Wollongong Gallery until August 28, 2022

The exhibition There’s a Crack in Everything takes its evocative title from the refrain of the 1992 Leonard Cohen song. Developed by Carrie Lumby, the exhibition pairs leading contemporary artists with artists who have lived experience of mental and emotional distress to co-create works that translates these experiences as a way of making meaning from them. Through the public’s experience of these works, the exhibition aims to communicate openly about, and help dispel the stigma and prejudice associated with, these common human experiences that we can all be vulnerable to.

Through self-expression, art becomes a therapeutic activity that offers an opportunity for contemplation, self-honesty, and vulnerability. The process of healing through art does not fall on the artwork itself but is in the process of creation. If one creates, one tries to get better.

There’s a Crack in Everything supports the notion that visual and symbolic expression is a powerful form of communication that gives voice to experience and empowers individual, communal, and societal transformation.

Tina Havelock Stevens, GOAT BEAT, 2022, Single-channel video with sound, 1 min, 33 seconds, Filmed and edited by Tina Havelock Stevens plus stills.

And Lizzie on Drums — pigment print, 2022

THUNDERHEAD – live improvised score

18th & 19th March, MELBOURNE PREMIERE

Previously exhibited and performed DARK MOFO, Liveworks PERFORMANCE SPACE, Big City Lights






NATURE EXTEMPORIZE is a survey from visual artist, filmmaker and performer/musician Tina Havelock Stevens. With an abiding interest in the ambiguities of human nature and natural forces – and the contradictory relationship between the two – Havelock Stevens acknowledges this in her neon work and immersive audio visual installations.

Havelock Stevens combines her inquisitiveness as an observational filmmaker with the energy and drive of an improvisatory drummer, contemplating the psyche within spaces and channelling the energy and emotion of the sociological and the environmental. These loaded sites, imbued with belief systems, movement, ritual, immediacy, and the autobiographical, extend from the Philippines to the Southwestern United States, and from NYC, to a Surry Hills lounge-room in Sydney. Havelock Stevens draws attention to things that are just there, to feelings and events that we can’t control.

HABITAT: Ways of living

6 March – 19 June, 2021 Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG)

Examining imagery alluding to the built environment, HABITAT: Ways of living features works by artists from Canberra and around Australia.

This exhibition reveals ways of living in a variety of environments – from high-rise, high-end apartments, to suburban subdivisions and locations where inhabitants have endured the collapse of their communities. These contemporary artists reveal how the built environment responds to, and is influenced by circumstance. The exhibition tells individual stories of the resilience and imagination of the human spirit.

The featured artists in HABITAT: Ways of living include: Alex Asch, Burchill/McCamley, Miriam Charlie, Sean Davey, David Flanagan, Michal Glikson, Tina Havelock Stevens, Katie Hayne, Mikhaila Jurkiewicz, Waratah Lahy, Hardy Lohse, Catherine O’Donnell, David Paterson, Alan Patterson, Patrice Riboust, Natalie Rosin, Khaled Sabsabi, James Tylor (Possum).

Drum Detroit series/ Chromogenic Colour Photographs/ Metallic – Tina Havelock Stevens – Documentation CMAG, Dorian Photographics

THANK YOU FOR HOLDING/ Carriageworks/ Sydney Festival 2021


A non-linear cinematic film.

Now and then, co-performer Wawn leaves the raft to write numbers, out of order, on the pillars along the space. At other times, Havelock Stevens disappears—sometimes with a thunderous crash and a sudden cut, and sometimes more quietly as she moves behind a pillar—only to reappear somewhere else.

These constant disappearances suggest portals, and the existence other worlds somewhere out there. Sunlight streams in through the windows. The reflections of passing trains sometimes dance across their glass. Yet the focus of Thank You For Holding is firmly introverted—on the feeling of anxiety and uncertainty, and that slow-building pressure in the body – Jane O’Sullivan, 2021