An adaptation of Jean Rhys’ novel Wide Sargasso Sea

Crawl Me Blood is a sound and video installation designed to take place in a Botanic Garden setting at night.

Taking its inspiration from Wide Sargasso Sea – a work of modern fiction written by Caribbean author Jean Rhys – Crawl Me Blood is the result of a rigorous six-year process of writing and development.

‘Crawl me blood’ is a Caribbean phrase that means ‘the secrets that you sense but are not told’. This interpretation invites an Australian audience to unpack their own views on race and gender in the ferment of a post-colonial world.

Contained within the manicured boundaries of a Botanic Gardens, the audience are given a map and a small FM transistor radio, perhaps a nip of rum. As a group, they move to a series of different locations in the gardens where, imbued by the atmosphere, smells and sounds of the gardens at night, each audio scene unfolds.

Presented as a pre-recorded Radio Drama adapted from Rhys’ novel, the audience follow the story of a young Australian woman as she travels to the Caribbean for her Grandmother’s funeral where she must reckon with the reality of her colonial inheritance.

The work is bookended by two original video works to be viewed in an enclosed space such as a conservatory or greenhouse. Filmed in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, these stunning and confronting video works speak to the core themes of race and gender in the work.

Blackness in the white imagination has nothing to do with black people.
– Claudia Rankin


Adapted from the novel by Jean Rhys
Directed by Halcyon Macleod and Willoh S.Weiland
Composition by Felix Cross
System design by Matt Daniels
Lighting design by Lucy Birkinshaw
Performed by Natasha Jynel, Zahra Newman, Halcyon Macleod and Willoh S.Weiland
Sound consultant – JR Brennan
Supermassive Mentorships – Meg Wilson and Jasmin Salomon

Produced for Aphids by Claire Portek
Produced by Performing Lines by Narelle Lewis

Crawl Me Blood is made possible with support from Mobile States, Vitalstatistix, Salamanca Arts Centre, the Alcorso Foundation and Fresh Milk Artist Platform (Barbados) and ABC Radio National. The project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts and the City of Melbourne through its 2015-17 Arts and Culture Triennial Program.

Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens
April 2017

Images Bryony Jackson

APHIDS acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and Boon wurrung peoples on whose lands we live and work. Sovereignty was never ceded and we pay our respect to past, present, and future Aboriginal elders and community, and to their long and rich history of artmaking on this Country.