Live Futures, Our New Conversation Series, & the future of festivals...

Image: Angela Goh in Body Loss, presented by Performance Space and Fusebox at Fusebox Festival 2019 (1)
Image: Angela Goh in Body Loss, presented by Performance Space and Fusebox at Fusebox Festival 2019

Today we are less than 2 weeks out from launching the Liveworks program (September 10 - diarise the date, and subscribe for tickets)! After announcing our new program LIVE DREAMS last week, this week we are digging deep into the ideas behind LIVE FUTURES

LIVE FUTURES, a series of public conversations, will explore the future we are moving toward, and artists’ contributions to creating it. All LIVE FUTURES conversations will be free to attend - gather with us in person at Carriageworks or online, to listen in.    

These conversations will centre on the major questions we are facing in this year of upheaval and disaster, whilst also foregrounding the voices and perspectives of artists. We are working with a stellar group of curators—many of whom are artists themselves—who are helping us to shape the theme and focus of each conversation in the series.

In anticipation of the exciting exchanges to come from LIVE FUTURES, PSpace Artistic Director Jeff Khan had a chat with our team about the future of art and arts festivals:

Why did you decide to go ahead with Liveworks 2020 during a global pandemic? 

Jeff: I am completely convinced that there has never been a more important time to present festivals and experience art. 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?

Artists have always found inventive and responsive ways for us to gather together to reflect on the present, dream about alternative realities and imagine the future differently. It seemed urgent and important that we reshape this year’s Liveworks Festival to create a safe, welcoming and revitalising space for us to do these things together.

Why do you feel it's important that we have
artists seated at the table when re-imagining the present and the future of our civil society? 

Jeff: Artists are thought leaders. Their experiments and creative visions help us move forward as a culture and society. In thinking through some of the big issues we’ll be facing in the immediate future—the nature of gathering, the future of work, the risks associated with care and intimacy, for example—the invaluable work of artists offers new perspectives, amplifies unheard voices and encourages us to think in new directions. Not necessarily about how we should be, but instead an open conversation about how we could be.

How do you think or hope the role of live festivals and live art might change into the future? 

Jeff: I hope that we embrace festivals as engines of gathering and community. If this year has proven anything—from the pandemic to the advancement of racial justice movements—it’s our strong need to come together to connect with and support each other through the various adversities we face.

Also, with our acceleration into digital platforms and online presentation, I hope we can strengthen and deepen our connections across cultural and geographic and borders and really advance accessibility and inclusion. These things have been at the front of our mind as we’ve developed Liveworks and LIVE FUTURES.

You recently spoke on the Future of Festivals panel for Singapore International Festival of Arts. What are our friends further afield in the Asia Pacific doing to re-imagine the future in experimental art, and are there new approaches to international collaboration? 

Jeff: It has been genuinely life-giving to stay connected to our friends and colleagues across the Asia Pacific, and the Future of Festivals panel was an affirmation of the determination of our global arts and festival-making community to make a positive contribution to the world in this time of upheaval and catastrophe.

The truth is, everybody is in the thick of it and nobody knows what the future holds. But it’s equally true that everyone is experiencing this situation differently, according to the local conditions where they are. Taiwan, for example, is largely Covid-free, and my dear colleague Tang Fu Kuen is in the midst of delivering his Taipei Arts Festival at full velocity to sold-out and hugely appreciative audiences. We can all learn from each other’s experiences and equally, we all have something unique to offer the conversation.

Re-watch the Future of Festivals conversation here, and stay tuned for the Liveworks program launch on Thursday September 10

- The PSpace Team 

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