Liveworks: Festival of Experimental Art, 21 to 25 October

Performance Space is the leading organisation supporting the development and presentation of experimental and risk-taking art in Australia. Each year the team engages with artists from across the nation and the Asia Pacific to produce cutting-edge performance-based outcomes for the ‘Liveworks: Festival of Experimental Art’.

‘Liveworks’ 2020 is gearing up to pack a powerful and thought-provoking punch with a newly designed program of live performance at Carriageworks and livestreamed digital events online. The artful activations will unfold from 21 to 25 October across three streams: LIVE NOW, LIVE DREAMS and LIVE FUTURES.

Cat Jones, Medicament for Your Predicament. Photograph: Cat Jones

LIVE NOW will unleash a series of experimental performance events and exhibitions at Carriageworks and via livestream such as ‘Medicament for your Predicament’, an audience focused experimental pharmacy with artist Cat Jones. Jones will engage with participants to diagnose and then create home-made medicaments to remedy personal and political ailments, in a fun way. “The experience itself is sometimes practical sometimes personal but mainly fun and wide (or wild) ranging,” Jones says.

Explaining the relationship between the personal and political themes of the work, the artist says “We consider the ways in which politics affects people’s relationships, lives and their bodies. This project is for participants to find new ways of reflecting and expressing themselves by thinking through the ‘social body’. There’s nothing more personal than the body, and nothing more political either.”

“Core themes in this artwork are about self-determination and mutual aid. One of the key ethics of medicine is autonomy. I’ve drawn on this to shape a workshop that supports self-determination and mutual aid – so in fact participants practice the art of prescribing.” “I hope they have a lot of fun playing with words and ideas of the body, learn something new about a plant, unpicking problems together and messing about in their kitchens.” Book your place in Jones’ pharmacy workshop here.

Nicole Monks and Make or Break, nganggurnmanha : sound dust. Artists pictured Nicole Monks and Connie Anthes and Rebecca Gallo (Make or Break) Photograph: Dean Tirkot. Courtesy the artists

Artists Nicole Monks and Make or Break will take viewers on a journey to explore First Nations and Western concepts of time with nganggurnmanha : sound dust. Fragments of ‘sound dust’ from participants around the world will come together in an immersive audio installation inviting audiences to listen more deeply to the natural world and discover new ways to measure the experience of time.

Sydney-based artist Justin Shoulder premieres a new body of work titled AEON†: EPISODE I. A fusion of Filipinx myth, puppetry and queer pageantry awaken hypnotic beings from the muck of a parallel world drawing them into the realms of sonically amplified sound, flashing lights and vibrant colour. There is possible nudity in this presentation.

LIVE DREAMS artists introduce a new series of works-in-progress and sketches of fresh ideas while encouraging viewers to get involved in the creative process, give feedback and partake in discussion across a range of topics. Audiences will be drawn into Utopian worlds with work that seeks to envisage the best and worst possibilities. Curator Anna Tregloan’s Impossible project surveys the practice of “artists whose works have been deemed impossible, creating an archive of impossible works and an exploration into the possibilities of impossibility.” Catastrophe reflects on the ruptures of the prevailing global crisis. First nations artists share from the future they care for in Always with work by artists Samuel Withers, Jazz Money, Rowan Savage and Nadeena Dixon. Wonder reimagines the world anew and explores the potential of finding hope in unlikely places with experimental sound, a participatory live performance actioned over the phone with one audience member at a time, and an immersive Virtual Reality soundscape experience.

LIVE FUTURES delves into some of the most significant issues of our times across a series of panel discussions with First Nations curator Hannah Donnelly and Indigenous practitioners. Audiences will hear also hear from Curator Bec Dean, as well as writer and director Wesley Enoch. LIVE FUTURES will ask us to consider “What kind of world are we moving into? What kind of world do we want to create? And what is the role of art in getting us there?” The future of community care, intimacy and social gathering are on the table.

LIVE FUTURES: Imagined Theatres Launch: presented by Fusebox Festival. Credit: William Kentridge, Blue Rubrics, Lapis Lazuli pigment printed in blue on found thesaurus page. Courtesy the artist

The publication Imagined Theatres, Issue 05: Curating Performance will be launched online and at Carriageworks on October 24. The book compiles dialogue from curators, artistic directors, producers and arts administrators, capturing their hopes and dreams for the future of the performing arts. Click here to read more.

Sydney-based artist Brian Fuata has been commissioned to present a special Keynote Lecture that will  bring ‘Liveworks’ to a close on October 25. Fuata will be looking back on key discussions and revelations made during the festival with a speculative hypothesis on what the future could look like.

“Artists have always found inventive ways for us to gather together and reflect on the present, dream about alternative realities and consider the future. In this strange and suspended moment in history—when it seems impossible for any of us to know what the future holds—how else can we connect with each other and imagine new possibilities? It seemed urgent and important that we move ahead with a reshaped version of Liveworks this year to create a safe, welcoming and revitalizing space for audiences and communities to do these things together, and enable a deep-dive exploration into the biggest issues facing us all in the world today.” – Artistic Director Jeff Khan.

To be part of the ‘Liveworks: Festival of Experimental Art’ celebrations and to make bookings and purchase tickets click here. Some events may sell out quickly. All live performances staged at Carriageworks will adhere to guidelines for safe social gathering practices.