The descent into Melbourne’s winter also means there’s a whole bunch of festivals on their way, kicking off right about now.
( May 15-31 http://2008.nextwave.org.au ).
By virtue of preferring to spread it’s grant money in smaller doses to a wider array of artists, this bi-annual festival for emerging artists tends to be a sprawling beast of quirks and charms, a never ending array of performances, exhibitions and installations in shopfront windows, hidden alleyways, underground tunnels, catwalks, nightclubs and occasionally, within art galleries. There’s a festival club this year at the Mercant Hotel near the Victoria Markets, where people can wander to each night, but other than that, it’s pin the dot on the map of inner-city Melbourne and browse the calendar on their ( well designed ) to see a long list of events jostling for attention. Some favourites below :
Yelling At Stars, a transmission into space
On the closing night, a performance at the Myer Music bowl will be recorded, filmed and streamed directly to Deep Space Communications Network in Florida, where it will be converted into radiowaves and become Australia’s first interstellar broadcast, travelling light-years into outer space. As the artist behind it, Willow S. Weiland notes, maybe the reason we haven’t received any transmissions back from outer space yet is something to do with the messages we’ve been sending out :
“It’s time for some honesty. The fastest way to make contact with others is to expose something about ourselves, our own frailty and vulnerability. We’re a beautiful yet destructive stressed-out plague of people destroying our habitat who feel in so many ways personally, culturally and geographically alone.”
House Proud – seven artists get to reinvent 7 homes. Aye, 7 sets of brave home dwellers have agreed to let artists develop site specific installations in their homes. They leave the house, the artists set to work, remixing their interior lives, and a few days later the homes are open for a short exhibition launch, the general public free to wander through these freshly intimate spaces.
Esky? A ‘moving architectural intervention’ – or a large inflatable venue doubling as a pop-up performance space and bar, appearing at various locations around Melbourne during the course of the festival. Need to know where it is? SMS the word ‘esky’ to 0428 477128 for location of the venue each night.
The Telepathy project – artists in 2 adjoining windows try to communicate with via telepathy, recording their messages every 15 minutes on time-coded post-it notes. Later to be published as a book.
The Movement Movement – Funny project where the general public is encouraged to run alongside artists inside museums in something that sounds like a cross between an obstacle course, comedy routine and aerobics class. Apparently they had 250+ people running a 5km course through a Canadian museum. Witness the fitness!
Paradise City – dance performance with BMX, skater, acrobat breakdancer and a fallen diva.
More? Survivalism in tents, handprinted wallpaper on Melbourne’s laneways, art performances in ‘Men’s Galleries’, Workshops – develop your own personal dancing style… learn about how to inject interactivity into new media installations… ( by Jon Pak of lightmatrixinterface.com ). Forums – on virtual communities, artist interventions in public spaces, recycling pop culture imagery, theatre in non-traditional spaces. Abundances more – website is very well organised and makes exploring and finding events very smooth and easy, well worth the browse.
And sure, the Festival has only just started, but has already run into controversy, the Melbourne City Council ruling that a Swedish artist’s works that feature male nudes must have the genitalia covered up. The work in question featured a stoned, naked Mickey Mouse character ‘dreaming of becoming as famous as Damien Hirst’ , and was looking to critique the whole art supermarket from an artist’s perspective… but naked male genitalia are best on stone statues it seems. ( see http://platformartistsgroup.blogspot.com, and the artists site : ceciliafogelberg.com )
Also Coming Up :