The annual Next Wave festival begins this weekend with a program of fresh, boundary-pushing art from some captivating new voices. Here are our four picks.

Under My Skin – dance theatre by The Delta Project
Under My Skin is a dance performance in which half the cast is deaf. Choreographer Jo Dunbar, also deaf, put together a performance that incorporates the visual and physical at every level. The lighting is used as cues for the deaf performers, and even the score, by sound designer Russell Goldsmith, focuses on frequencies so low the audience is more likely to feel than hear them.

Under My Skin is at the North Melbourne Town Hall from May 5–8.

Relating to the Immediate Surroundings of Something; or, This is What I’m Talking About – music and sound art by Megan Alice Clune
Over six mornings, a variety of local musicians will perform to an empty Northcote Uniting Church. Then the audience is invited in. Artist Megan Alice Clune manipulates the recorded sound and turns the church into an echo chamber – collaborating with the musicians and the building itself as the sound reverberates and evolves throughout the day. Changes to the conditions in the room will also affect the sound – meaning visitors are also part of the performance.

Relating to the Immediate Surroundings of Something shows at the Northcote Uniting Church from May 12–21.

Ua Numi Le Fau – an exhibition curated by Léuli Eshraghi
At Gertrude Contemporary, eight local and international young artists will address matters of Indigenous identity through performance video, photography and textiles. The work spans the personal and the political, covering spirituality, ecology and civil rights. That enigmatic title is a Samoan expression, which literally means “the string tying the pigeon is entangled”. The matter, in other words, is complicated. The exhibition is accompanied by a series of public talks from many of the artists involved.

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Ua Numi Le Fau is on at Gertrude Contemporary from May 6 to June 18.

A97 – performance art by Daniel Jenatsch
Artist and composer Daniel Jenatsch refers to A97 as a kind of “videogame opera”, and as a “historico-forensic investigation”. Make of that what you will.

This enigmatic opera promises a plot involving chess champion Garry Kasparov and some kind of inscrutable time paradox, glitchy digital animation and a string quartet.

A97 shows at ACMI from May 11 to 15.

Next Wave Festival runs at various locations around Melbourne until May 22.

The full program is available here.