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Make Your Life Count
media and technical resources

Choreography and performance: Sarah Aiken with Claire Leske
Video: Sarah Aiken
Text: Megan Payne with Sarah Aiken
Lighting: Amelia Lever-Davidson

Sound Design: Andrew Wilson

World Premiere: Presented by Arts House and Sarah Aiken and Collaborators

Wed 23 – Sun 27 Feb, 2022

Sarah Aiken - Make Your Life Count - Credit Tiffany Garvie 8598 WEB.jpg

Loosen your sense of self in a kaleidoscopic dance work of constantly shifting scale.

Are you too much to handle or too small to matter?

Video resources:


Sarah Aiken talks about Make Your Life Count

Full length video of the work


Creative Team:

Choreography and performance: Sarah Aiken              

Additional performance: Claire Leske
Video: Sarah Aiken    

Text: Megan Payne with Sarah Aiken
Lighting: Amelia Lever-Davidson      

Sound Design: Andrew Wilson 

Technical and creative support: Daniel Arnott


Production requirements, staging and set:

This tour-ready work comes with all creative material and technical specifications as well as artists own video camera, software and show laptop.

It requires a large theatre space with seating bank, ideally a white floor and cyclorama with the sides of the space curtained in a uniform colour.

Set pieces are minimal and can be sourced locally. They include:

- several white plinths of various sizes, two capable of bearing dancers body weight and one or two mounted on a dolly/castors

- a large ladder, preferably on wheels

- white painted timber frame (artist to supply)


Technical requirements:

- Large theatre or gallery space approx. approx 10 depth or greater
- Seating bank, tiered seating or similar
- White dance mat flooring or similar
- Black drapes or white walls - no wings or legs required

- 2 X 4K projectors. One mounted on the ceiling (minimum 12000 lumens), one on floor downstage (minimum 8000 lumens or higher)

- Full width cyclorama hung upstage

- Standard audio and lighting equipment.

- Radio microphone with headset

- IPhone, usb cable and extension (artists own)

- Laptop with OBS (artists own)

- Laptop with QLAB

- HDMI Video mixer (2 channels)

Video and sound elements may be presented as standalone exhibitions.



“one of the most moving pieces of dance … blurs the line between performance and documentation, using an onstage camera to create, minimise, expand and extrapolate her image in real time. she critiques the constant performance of identity demanded by techno-capitalism and asks us to indulge in our own insignificance”
Anador Walsh The Saturday Paper

"a mesmerising journey [...] so many layers to this performance that the overall effect was like an explosion; bodies and images cascading and multiplying, like meteorites. This piece speaks about the commodification of emotion, the monetisation of relationships and the banality of contemporary life in ways that are novel and fresh. With smatterings of Dada and delicious irony, Make Your Life Count seemed to be profoundly received by the audience, who reacted with laughing, gasping and an arousing round of applause at the end. The trajectory of the show felt astral as frames of reference (literal and metaphorical) kept shifting and moving like the prodigal doors in Alice in Wonderland. It felt like tumbling into a rabbit hole of sorts where the view was oddly familiar yet full of surprises, as Aiken undulated across the stage, playing with the projections to a startling revelation in the final moments." - Leila Lois, Arts Hub 

​ “speaks to so much right now, and shares itself with its viewer so generously and playfully.” 

Luke George, Independent artist


“The whole first section is just so intrinsically perfect, satisfyingly understated and spacious and beautifully realised and so completely resonant. And the trajectory of the work from the ordinary/ small scale to extraordinary/ cosmic scale is just so impressively, methodically but organically/ naturally built. And it was a really delightful experience... as a viewer, I just took so much delight in the images and the humour and the flatness/deadpan vibe of ordinariness and the incredible depth of the epic scale that was first invoked and then so fully delivered upon. Wow.”

Rob McCredie. Artistic Director, Fling Physical Theatre


“Her body becomes a sculptural object… beautifully wrought, an exercise in simplicity and innovation”

Varia Karipoff, RealTime on SET

“Aiken’s work is a delight with its own personality, fully engaged with wit and visual verbal wordplay”

Liza Dezfouli, Australian Stage on SET

“…definitional, capstone works of the emerging generation of Australian choreographers”

Jana Perkovic, The Age on WAISTD

Project description:

Make Your Life Count is an ambitious dance work that shifts scale in a heartbeat- from the microscopic to the universal. Choreographer and dancer Sarah Aiken encounters her own self expanded to infinite proportions or shrunken to painful insignificance, stretched into new dimensions or flattened into mute landscapes.

This powerful feat of imagination is a serious attempt to grapple with the paradoxes of modern life, in which the individual is swollen to grotesque importance while also reduced to an ineffectual, even invisible impotence. Whether monstrous and destructive or lost in the crushing scale of humanity, ecology, time and the universe, this perspective-shifting work is a chance to lose yourself, and maybe find something better instead.

This critically acclaimed work, premiered in February 2022 at Arts House, Melbourne, drawing broad audiences and full houses. Whilst it was generally well received it particularly resonated with a late teen and young adult audience, through to people aged up to 40.

References and topics explored: video art, social media, selfie culture, fashion, existentialism, dance, visibility/invisibility, distortion, self-obsession, self-exploration, humour, visual media, life and the universe. 

This project was supported by CultureLab and presented by Arts House, it has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria. Development supported by Lucy Guerin Inc/WXYZ space residency

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