Anode 2009 brings to Melbourne (and Sydney) local and international art to challenge and inspire, featuring rooftop multimedia displays, live design competitions, the freshest arts films, electrifying audiovisual installations and bold live performances. If that’s got you intrigued, consider how Anode organiser Tiani Chillemi feels – even she hasn’t seen three quarters of the program.

Inspired by NODE London, Next Wave and the most vibrant communal arts festivals, Tiani has pioneered a new mode of festival curation: trust and surprise. “Most festivals have a predetermined idea of what it’s going to be and they print a program and that’s what you’re going to get,” she says. “Whereas fifty per cent of what will happen over the next month and a half will be quite spontaneous. I don’t even know what’s going to happen.”

A series of happy accidents have brought groups together to present their own works. There are at least twenty organisers, showcasing events including the exclusive New York video art collection From The Outside Looking Inside Out, performance art workshops from Spanish actor Younes Bachir and installation exhibitions from some of Melbourne’s hottest young artists.

Complementing the adventurous art are several novel creative spaces including the Pulse rooftop in Northcote, Shed 4 at Docklands (with pre-event drinks on a docked boat) and a festival base at new city cafe 1000 £ Bend. Instead of just checking which galleries were available, Anode has sought out venues not previously designated as “art spaces”.

Tiani says the curious venues will contribute to Anode’s mission of seeing art by accident. “If you’re coming to a film you might walk through a group show and vice versa,” she notes.

Anode also aims to break down the divide between ‘audience’ and ‘artist’. “Everyone’s a maker of some description,” Tiani says. “That amateur/professional line is well and truly blurred. A lot of the interactive stuff is going to be spontaneous.”

Jump into the fray at Anode 2009 and immerse yourself in art.

Selected Highlights:

Speakeasy Cinema (at 1000 £ Bend)
The new barroom cinema sets the scene at Anode with screenings of inspiring art films, including the street art collective of Beautiful Losers and rollerskating rumble Figures & Loops.

Electundra 2009 (at Loop, Saturday November 14, 21 and 28)
A slew of artists present a miasma of audio-visual installations that comprise the cheeky, the cheesy and the confronting. Expect music twisted into noise and back again, eye-popping visual contrasts, psychedelics, minimalism, electronics and organics.

Video From The Borough | From The Outside Looking Inside Out (at 1000 £ Bend until Sunday November 8)
The international debut of this New York-based video artist collective resulted from a happy surprise. While on Skype to NY with artist and curator Robyn Wilson, Tiani spotted Video From The Borough members working in the background and approached them to contribute to Anode. “It happened totally by accident,” she beams.

Alongside From The Outside Looking Inside Out Anode features listening rooms from spoken word collective Going Down Swinging and two stark and stunning installations: Rachel Joy’s Wood For The Trees and Natalie McQuade’s Hinged.

Andante by Younes Bachir (Artist seminar at Fairfax Theatre on Thursday November 5 and performance at Shed 4 on Saturday November 14).
Younes Bachir is an actor and performer trained in the fresh style developed by Spanish company La Fura Dels Baus. Andante is a ten-day workshop in this theatrical language and process, collaborating with ten carefully selected local performance artists. “They’re rehearsing eight hours a day for ten days and the actual show that they come up with during that time is performed on Saturday,” Taini explains. Before completion, Bachir will discuss the project and the pioneering visual language at an artist seminar at Fairfax Theatre.

Design Race (at 1000 £ Bend on Friday November 6)
Tiani happened upon the Melbourne InDesign User Group, a ragtag gang united by their affection for Adobe’s design software. “It’s another little pocket of people who are extremely creative in what they do and are hidden away in hives of offices.”

The InDesign Race will feature fifty designers furiously creating designs in a battle against time, with as many audience members cheering them on. It’s sure to be a wild, nerve-wracking ride.

Anode 2009 runs until Saturday November 28