Playwave Creative

FEATURE: Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art

Branch Nebula

Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art 2018
By Zack Lewin

Okay look, I get it. Experimental art can be… challenging. Personally I love the stuff, but who hasn’t looked at something deemed “experimental” and just thought… what?

Performance Space is hosting its annual LIVEWORKS: Festival of Experimental Art and it’s all about that “what?” factor. Sometimes, as an obnoxiously arty Gen Z, I can get frustrated when my peers look down on experimental art… and I learnt the hard way that some people look down on it a lot. When I ask some friends of mine who don’t quite like “all white” paintings or abstract performance art as much as I did, “why?”, I'm often met with a response to the effect of:

  • I don’t know what it’s supposed to be saying...
  • I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing...
  • I don’t know what’s happening...
  • I don’t know what to do...

I find that strange because I feel those same feelings! We all experience the initial “what” factor. No matter how well you can analyse or understand an experimental work, or any work for that matter, there’s always going to be that first inquiring “what.”

Over the weekend I went over to Carriageworks in Redfern to see Working with Children by Nicola Gunn. I was so excited to see this show about the shady ethics behind working with kids. Even being fully prepared for the fringe topic and the nature of Liveworks, the show began and I was still met with that iconic “what?”

I’d imagined it’s “experimentalism” would come from its content and this was true… but it had an added layer of intrigue through it’s execution. I saw it with my mate Victor who said it was “unexpected, humorous, ambiguous yet complete… she builds so many layers to create completeness.” I think he’s talking about how Gunn used tangents to layer her story in an organic but disjointed manner. I was giddily enjoying her writing style throughout the show.

This year Playwave has access to a whole bunch of incredible programmed shows and workshops at Liveworks so that you can charge straight into that “what” factor. The FOMO is real because half of our selection has already passed! Check out all the great stuff there still is to see including Infinity: Minus One by Su Wen-Chi, a full length dance piece about the place of humanity in the infinite universe.

If you want a double movement extravaganza Playwave also has tickets to Let’s Get Physical by Branch Nebula as they explore the relationship between the human body and everyday objects.

If movement’s not quite your thing but you still love the hard hitting topics then Return to Escape From Woomera by Applespiel and Circles of Fire: The Amphitheatre by John A. Douglas. An interactive exploration of the experiences of refugees and an epic multifaceted exploration of chronic illness.

If any of these descriptions had you going “what?”, remember: “What?” is a good thing! Enjoy it!

P.S. This Friday the 26th I’ll be seeing Infinity: Minus One and doing a takeover of the Playwave Instagram, so keep an eye out!

Performance Space
15 - 26 October 2018

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