SPOTLIGHT ON APPLESPIEL | 2018 LIVEWORKS ARTIST

Posted on: September 21st, 2018

 

Fifteen years ago, a group of Australians made Escape From Woomera: a politically explosive video game that put players in the shoes of a refugee held in immigration detention. For Liveworks 2018, artist collective Applespiel are bringing it back with an Esports twist. We caught up with the team ahead of this cultural intervention to pick their brains about their interest in Esports, and what motivated them to revisit the controversial video game.


Why, as artists without lived refugee experience have you decided to bring this controversial video game back into the spotlight and use it as the foundations for a new work?

We’ve been working for a while towards making an extravagant stadium show about eSports, but the idea was missing an angle or element to make it distinct from…well, a stadium eSports competition. After chatting to Jeff Khan about our idea, he showed us an article about the 2004 video game Escape from Woomera and said “what do you think about this?” Looking at the game now really drives home how much attitudes towards gaming have developed since the early 2000s, and sadly how Australia’s asylum seeker policy (and significant attitudes from the public) have only become even more draconian and even less humane.

As a group we don’t have any lived refugee experience, but as Australians we are all complicit in the treatment of those coming to this country fleeing persecution and war. Detention has been a political football for all of our adult lives, and a defining way in which our nation engages with the rest of the world.

Something that we’ve been able to do with some success in the past is create performative frameworks that allow experts to speak – we are very happy to concede that in areas like this, our voices are hardly the ones that need to be heard. We think Escape From Woomera will provide a foundation that can spark new and important discussion from vital voices.

 

You have been collaborating with the original creators of Escape From Woomera along with Asylum Seekers Centre, and human rights activists. What has been involved in this?

We knew from the start that we couldn’t undertake this project on our own and so one of the first things we did was reach out to the original creators of the game and potential partners who are working with asylum seekers. It was surprisingly easy to reach one of the original Escape From Woomera team, Katharine Neil, who was super generous with her time and keen to chat about the project. The Asylum Seeker Centre also came on board quite quickly and have been equally generous with their time and expertise.

It’s quite a difficult process as many people we’d love to speak to or involve are actually prohibited from doing so. People who are currently seeking asylum in Australia may want to speak out about our policy, but it’s not really possible for them because it could have a negative impact on their claim for asylum. It’s frightening that people cannot speak out about policies that directly affect them, but that how our policies impact on people. Equally, for people who have been detained, it’s not necessarily an experience they want to relive so we’ve been careful in how we’ve approached people.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your interest in eSports and why you have included the eSports commentary element in the live-gaming experience?

eSports is this incredible meeting place of digital and live spectacle – a stadium of people watching a bunch of kids play a computer game, following the digital action on a massive screen. It’s an environment where micro movements create massive action, and young introverts find themselves thrust into international celebrity. As an industry in infancy, eSports is clinging to traditional sports narratives as it finds itself attracting huge audiences and bemused attention from traditional media. Prize moneys often register in the millions of dollars, and a recent international event was streamed online by 126 million people. There’s a huge amount of people engaging with this growing world, and we think that’s worth exploring.

Bringing eSports commentary into Return To Escape From Woomera is a chance for Applespiel to do something very dear to their hearts: talk, for a long time. We’ll be sharing the mic with a range of people from the arts and activism. The commentary desk is a way for us to bring the game Escape From Woomera into the space, and into 2018. There are challenges that arise here in applying an eSports commentary format to a game about Australia’s cruel refugee policies – when does satire become too hurtful? When does playful become callous?

 

How is Return to Escape from Woomera informed by your broader practice?

Applespiel has always been interested in exploring cultural mythology, and in particular how cultural mythologies are constructed and propagated. There are two mythologies we want to examine in Return to Escape From Woomera. The first is the story of an activist piece of art, a wildly controversial video game (from well before the era of serious video games) funded by the Australia Council for the Arts and the uproar that it caused when people got wind of the subject matter. The second is a bigger myth – the myth of Australia ‘the lucky country’, the land of mateship, the place where children are locked up in island prison camps because their parents tried to find a life free of danger. That myth is reinforced by distance, by bureaucracy, and by silence. Occasionally that myth is punctured, the light comes through and we’re faced with the truths that we as a nation have been complicit in upholding – we see the violence of offshore detention for a few seconds before rushing to patch up the puncture because it’s too hard to see. Recent examples for us include Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison (2018), Eva Orner’s Chasing Asylum (2016), and The Wheeler Centre’s podcast The Messenger (2017). But even if we don’t rush to patch up that hole – what is the use in sitting with the reality of our treatment of Asylum Seekers? Does it create change? Perhaps there’s a third mythology for us to explore – the noble activist being able to affect change with their outrage.

 

What are you hoping to achieve through The Return To Escape From Woomera?

We hope that through looking back at Escape From Woomera we might be able to reflect on what has changed and what has remained stagnant in our society. What conversations, ideas and technologies have moved forward, and how can we move towards change for those areas that remain unchanged over the last 14 years.

We hope that an audience member will beat Escape From Woomera in front of a supportive, cheering audience, and that all currently detained refugees and future seekers will be welcomed into this country by a supportive, cheering Australia.

 

Get your tickets to Return To Escape From Woomera here | Stay updated on the Facebook event here

SPOTLIGHT ON HANNAH BRONTE | 2018 LIVEWORKS ARTIST

Posted on: September 6th, 2018

 

We caught up with Brisbane-based artist Hannah Brontë ahead of her Sydney FEMPRE$$ debut for Liveworks 2018 and got some insight into the importance of safe femme spaces and what to expect at this edition.

 

Who is Hannah Brontë?

She’s busy. No truly… I’m an artist who works across whatever medium the next project needs. Heavily inspired by futuristic imaginings woven with traditional knowledge.

 

How was Fempre$$ born?  

I got bored of all white male line ups. In hip hop to be frank. I wanted to dance and feel safe, I wanted my friends to feel safe, I wanted to hear femme rappers being DJ’d, I wanted women and gender neutral friends in whatever shape or form they come to be visible and held safely in the belly of the dance floor. Fempre$$ is her own entity now so I feel like she caters to all of that.

 

Footage of past FEMPRE$$ -WELCOME TO THE VENUS FLY TRAP

 

In your past work you’ve imagined a matriarchal Australian parliament led by an Indigenous female prime minister, and a tropical neon-lit lair home to the carnivorous Venus Fly Trap. What can we expect from this edition of Fempre$$?

This is a very different edition as the time in the world calls for it. I’m looking at women and ritual specifically the darker side of mourning, trance, pleasure and secret knowledge . The female black//brown//Nb body carries a lot of weight so this night is looking at Fempre$$ being embodied by all of its performers and lifting this weight in the universe. This edition will be a living breathing extension of the ideals of Fempre$$ personified throughout the sculptural landscape.

 

What is it about presenting your work in a club/party space that appeals to you?

The club space is already magic. It’s a place where people can be reckless and free. This is a perfect energy to present work as people are more open to being involved and letting the cerebral go for a minute to just sink or sweat into their bodies. I don’t need to validate my work galleries and institutions – it’s the people who go to the club and are in daily life and need the escape from the mundane so deeply that I want to include.

 

What message are you hoping to send to the First Nations femme population existing in contemporary Australia?

You’re fucking brilliant and you can eat the world.


Get you tickets to FEMPRE$$: WISHWITCH here | Stay updated on the Facebook event here

Performance Space at the ADAM platform, Taiwan

Posted on: September 4th, 2018

Last week, PSpace AD Jeff Khan and artist Justin Shoulder attended the second annual Asia Discovers Asia Meeting for Contemporary Performance (ADAM) artist platform in Taipei – a major new initiative by Taipei Performing Arts Centre to create new networks and opportunities for artists across the Asia Pacific.

For the first time four international partners, PSpace included, organised ADAM’s Artist Lab. The two-week collaborative workshop brought together 16 Asia Pacific artists including 2017 Liveworks artist Justin Shoulder, and 2018 Liveworks artist Angela Goh.

ADAM culminated in a four-day industry gathering where the artists exchanged their works and ideas with over 200 delegates from across the world. As part of this platform, PSpace Artistic Director Jeff Khan hosted a roundtable discussion on Feminist and Queer Performance Practices in an Asia Pacific Context.

 

About ADAM

ADAM was initiated by the Taipei Performing Arts Center (TPAC) in 2017 for the purpose of creating a platform with artists at its core. Curator River Lin says that ADAM serves to broaden and sustain interactions and communication among artists and to encourage collaborations among artists and arts venue and arts festival partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

adam.tpac-taipei.org/

 

CALL OUT: PERFORMERS FOR SWEATING THE FOUNDATIONS

Posted on: August 29th, 2018

ABOUT THE WORK

Drawing on Carriageworks’ industrial history, 110% rezone the precinct’s public space as a site of active art vocation in this large-scale sculpture. Unfolding throughout Liveworks, this parasitic installation creates porous and leaky architectural forms that receive ongoing support and attention from highly disciplined workers through durational performance activations. Come and wander the wetness as 110% sweat the foundations of minimal sculpture and reimagine the practice of collaborative labour.

Throughout the festival 110% (Kieran Bryant, Beth Dillon and Lachlan Herd) become the foremen of worksite whose sculptural forms mimic the architecture of Carriageworks. Recreating these columns in soft, viscous and pliable materials, they are deftly tended by shifts of performing workers whose pyrrhic actions make a camp comment on art and immaterial labour.

 

ABOUT 110%

110% is the collaborative practice of Kieran Bryant, Beth Dillon and Lachlan Herd. We are three emerging artists who create site-responsive works of live performance, video, installation and sculpture. Our collective is currently based between Australia and Switzerland.

Our collaboration stems from the intimacy and playfulness of friendship, and continues to grow through conversation, humour, and mutual care. Our practice has developed from a shared interest in amateur choreographies of the body in space; the aesthetics of uniformed labour; and modes of hosting and participation in performance. Previous works have investigated competitive cultures of positive thinking; explored the relationship between art appreciation and the pursuit of leisure; tested the dynamics of artist-audience relationships; and considered the impact of long- distance separation on collaborative practice and motivation. 110% often stage interventions that play with the presentation of performance in festival, fair and gallery contexts. These interventions may take the form of an interruption, an invitation, an oasis, a sweaty mess.

 

WHO WE NEED

We are looking for performers to activate Sweating the Foundations in 4-hours performance shifts across the festival, 18 – 28 October 2018.

This opportunity would suit individuals who:

  • Are comfortable performing in front of an audience, and have experience in performative or live art practices.
  • Are interested in exploring movement and materiality, and are comfortable working with wet and messy materials such as foam or clay.
  • Who are able to stand and perform light or medium intensity tasks for up to 3 hrs at a time
  • Who are interested in working collaboratively with 110% and the other volunteer performers to devise performance material for Sweating the Foundations.

 

COMMITMENT

Performers will be able to commit and attend the following sessions:

  • One 4 hour induction session, in the week 17 September. In this session you will be a chance to meet 110% and the other performers, a preliminary costume fitting, a discussion of the project themes, exploration of installation materials, and some movement exercises.
  • One 4 hour rehearsal on the weekend prior to the festival, 13 or 14 October
  • Two – Three 4 hour performance shifts during the festival period, 18 – 28 October 2018

 

APPLICATIONS

If you’re interested in applying for this role follow the link below to supply some further information and indicate your availability.

Applications close midnight, 10 September 2018.

APPLY NOW

 

WHAT YOU’LL GET

  • Tickets to Liveworks festival performances
  • Experience devising and performing in a contemporary art context
  • Skills in artistic collaboration
  • Invitations to all Liveworks networking events, with festival artists and international delegates
  • A letter of reference from Performance Space outlining your contribution to Liveworks 2018

 

QUESTIONS

If you have any questions about the role or the application process please contact:

Tulleah Pearce
Program Manager
+612 8571 9114
tulleah@performancespace.com.au 

CALLOUT: Writing for Experimental Performance

Posted on: August 27th, 2018

WRITING FOR EXPERIMENTAL PERFORMANCE WORKSHOP
SAT 27 OCT, 12 – 4PM

Runway Australian Experimental Art Journal and Performance Space present a workshop hosted by Lauren Carroll Harris and Tai Mitsuji to discuss and practice the art of writing about experimental art. Participants will experience shows in the Liveworks 2018 program before coming together for an intimate workshop session to learn practical strategies and approaches to capture a fluid performance on the static page.

This workshop, facilitated by Lauren Carroll Harris and Tai Mitsuji, will guide you through writing exercises and give you the tools to create pithy, informative and original texts that celebrate interdisciplinary practice and will expand your skills in writing between forms.

To be considered, please submit the following as an EOI:

  • A CV
  • A short writing sample
  • a statement of up to 500 words outlining your interest in this program and the benefit it will have on your practice

Proposals due Sunday 23 September 2018

APPLY NOW

 

TRAVEL BURSARY: LIVEWORKS 2018

Runway is offering one travel bursary to support an artist/writer/curator from Regional New South Wales to attend Liveworks 2018 (18 – 28 October) and Writing for Experimental Performance Workshop (Saturday 27 October).

The travel bursary includes:

  • financial assistance with travel and accommodation
  • $200 writer’s fee for a response to be published on Runway Conversations.
  • Access to Writing for Experimental Performance Workshop (Saturday 27 October).
  • Mentoring with editors of Runway Conversations

To be considered, please submit:

  • A CV
  • A visual or writing sample
  • a statement of up to 500 words outlining your interest in this program including what elements of the festival you are interested in responding to, and an indication of your proposed mode of response (written content, interview, illustrated, video etc…)

Proposals due Sunday 16 September 2018

APPLY NOW

 

 

 

 

 

Jen Jamieson helps us make love! Hear more about our fundraising campaign!

Posted on: May 23rd, 2018

Do you remember Jen’s work in 2017?

Last year Performance Space invited you to fall in love at Liveworks, in Jen Jamieson’s one-on-one performance Let’s Make Love. This year, we’ve commissioned Jen to create the love through a series of breathtaking videos about how you can create oxytocin—aka the ‘love hormone’—through giving.

Check out the first video below. And stay tuned as we release the next 3 videos over the coming weeks! Share the love – give to Performance Space.

Head here to find out more – www.performancespace.com.au/love

DONATE NOW

 

 

APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR EXCHANGE RESIDENCY 2018

Posted on: May 11th, 2018

Applications are now open for Exchange Residency 2018 – a new partnership between Performance Space and West Kowloon Cultural District (Hong Kong)!

Exchange Residency 2018 is an incredible opportunity for an Australian artist working in experimental performance to expand their practice and networks in the Asia Pacific. The selected artist will travel to Hong Kong for a four-week exchange program where they’ll work alongside international artists and undertake a series of development activities. Following their international residency, they’ll fly to Sydney to attend Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art and soak in the extraordinary experimental art from Australia and the Asia Pacific at the ten-day festival.

FIND OUT MORE

ARTISTS ANNOUNCED FOR BLAK ARTISTS KINECTION

Posted on: April 27th, 2018

We’ve been busy behind the scenes working on our new development program for First Peoples artists based in NSW. Teaming up with our creative neighbours at Moogahlin Performing Arts, Blak Artists Kinection is a year-round program designed to assist artists in developing their professional and creative skills.

This year six emerging performers, musicians, writers and dancers have been selected for the program including Sonya Holowell, Liam Keenan, Sara Khan, Bernice Mumbulla, Taree Sansbury, and Kassidy Georgia Waters.

Explore more info about the program by following the link below.

 

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QUEER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM: STEPHEN CUMMINS WORKSHOP INTENSIVE ANNOUNCED!

Posted on: March 8th, 2018

We’re thrilled to announce a packed selection of participants from across New South Wales and Victoria for our Queer Development Program: Stephen Cummins Workshop Intensive for 2018.

The artists will be immersed in one week of performance-making workshops from the 3rd to the 7th of April at PACT Centre for Emerging Artists. Led by an incredible selection of facilitators including Adena Jacobs, Bhenji Ra, Chris Ryan, Victoria Spence, Emma Price, Craig Judd, Martin del Amo, Matthew Stegh, and Justin Shoulder. The workshop provides an opportunity for artists to sharpen their creative and professional skills, expand connections in the queer creative community and learn about national arts opportunities.

Check out the full list of artists by following the link below.

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QUEER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM: STEPHEN CUMMINS RESIDENCY ANNOUNCED!

Posted on: March 8th, 2018

After an unprecedented response to our call for applications, Performance Space is excited to announce the recipient of our Queer Development Program: Stephen Cummins Residency.

Sydney-based writer, director and performance maker, Ian Sinclair, will spend two-weeks at PACT Centre for Emerging Artists developing his new work Intimate Objects for the Symbiocene. This multimedia solo performance will explore the interconnections between personal histories and the global consequences of climate change, with the artist creating three speculative narratives that blur the bounds of fact, fiction and queer ecology.

The two-week residency from the 20th to the 29th of March provides an exciting opportunity for an artist to develop a new performance work in a supportive environment and expand the conceptual underpinnings of their practice. The opportunity for both emerging and established artists includes artistic mentorship, production support and curatorial feedback.

Find out more about Ian and his work by following the link below.

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