Five Events to Experience at the Festival of Live Art 2016

Two weeks of interactive, experimental and pretty damn exciting art.
Tom Clift
February 29, 2016

Five Events to Experience at the Festival of Live Art 2016

Two weeks of interactive, experimental and pretty damn exciting art.

Japanese tea rooms, erotic dance numbers and duets performed via Skype. These are just a few of the events you'll find on the program at Melbourne's second ever Festival of Live Art. Hosted by Arts House, Theatre Works, and Footscray Community Arts Centre, this two-week marathon of exciting and experimental art is perfect for people who have no interest in wandering aimlessly around a gallery. So from March 1-13, expect the unexpected.

Blurring the lines between a litany of disciplines including dance, theatre, music, film, sculpture and even knitting, this year's lineup includes more than 50 different works produced by artists from all around the country and the world. Sydney artist David Capra — creator of the wet sausage dog scent — will be in town with his pet pooch to present his playful installation Teena's Bathtime, while Tamara Saulwick and Peter Knight have created an audio-visual piece titled Alter, made up of 16 carefully positioned iPads. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

So here's five events you definitely want to experience during the festival. With so many performances on the program though, we suggest you use this as a starting point from which to go forth into the wacky, wonderful world of live art.

Top image: Hotel Obscura, Triage Live Art Collective, shot by Alexander Coggin

  • 5

    Bundle your art-loving mates into the back of your car for this immersive audio piece from theatremaker Sam Routledge and sound artist Dylan Sheridan. Held at a secret carwash location that will be revealed when you book your tickets, Crush takes place inside your vehicle as it is being cleaned. Engulfed by this enormous machine, with Sheridan’s rhythmic score filtering through your car radio, you’ll be forced to ponder your relationship with technology, and where humanity may be headed. Not to mention, you also get a clean car out of the deal.

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  • 4
    Programmed to Reproduce

    A few years back, Casey Jenkins spent 28 days sitting in an art gallery in Darwin, knitting using wool loomed from her vagina. The video of the performance (NSFW, by the way) went viral online, generating thousands of horrified reactions. In Programmed to Reproduce, the Melbourne-based artist responds to her attackers, creating a brand new knitted work, using wool soaked in her menstrual blood that reflects how people — and particularly women — are treated on the web. Audiences will also be invited to share their own experiences with online harassment, as Jenkins unravels complex notions of identity and judgement in the modern age.

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  • 3
    Dance Magic Dance: Cast Party

    From fake wedding receptions to wartime-era dances, The Boon Companions have made a name for themselves with their immersive theatre experiences around town. For the festival, they present Dance Magic Dance: Cast Party, an after-dark shindig with the cast of a seventies musical theatre production. There’ll be booze, music and explosive backstage drama, as actors and audience members mingle on the dancefloor. Slip into character, and get ready to party. Things are going to get wild.

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  • 2
    Onstage Dating

    Think about how nervous you feel when you’re on a first date. Now imagine that it’s happening in front of a theatre full of people. In an era of online dating, when people are judged based solely on a handful of selfies, theatremaker Bron Batten transports the rituals of modern romance from your smartphone to the stage. Onstage Dating is exactly what it sounds like: each night, a different volunteer gets put through the ringer, as Batten gleefully deconstructs the conventions of contemporary courtship. Will true love flourish, or will the night end in disaster? Either way, it sounds like fascinating viewing.

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  • 1
    The Naked Self

    For all the photos of you that exist out there on the web, odds are very few of them show you as you actually are. With The Naked Self , theatremakers Michele Lee and Tanya Dickson hope to strip away some of the artifice, inviting audiences to share a less curated version of themselves. In your own private booth, participants will be invited to undress, and prompted to share details about how they really see themselves. You’ll also be able to listen to the audio self-portraits of other people, forming intimate connections with strangers you’ll never meet or even see.

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