“I want to create an environment where people can affordably see a lot of work which will wreck them in the most beautiful way,” says Supersense curator and founder, Sophia Brous. Melbourne, prepare to be wrecked.
Supersense is not aligned to a particular genre, medium or an artform. Its purpose is to make audiences feel ecstatic.
Brous says she wants people to be affected by joy, extremity, violence, risk. “A lot has been written about the ecstatic, from Sufi scriptures to Hunter S Thompson,” she says. “It all sounds very heavy, but really, it’s literally just about fun and disarmament and letting go of self-consciousness.
The festival, held at various Arts Centre venues, is designed in such a way that it doesn’t offer space to reflect or wind down – you simply have to give yourself over. The opening night takes over the whole venue, splitting it between an Indonesian disco-infused performance of Kuda Lumping (a traditional, tribal dance); electronica pioneer, Manuel Gottsching; and indie darling, Ariel Pink.
From there, the festival becomes what Brous describes as a “choose your own adventure” of different experiences. On Saturday night, ticket-holders must choose between three shows: singer Gurrumul’s blending of Arnhem Land tradition and Methodist gospel; a collaborative tribute to Brian Eno’s seminal ambient record Discreet Music, with performances by musicians and bands such as The Necks and David Coulter; or garage/blues/punk veterans the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. It won’t be easy, but art shouldn’t always be easy.
Brous is a performer in her own right, which might explain her focus on the primal energy of performance. “You can study something like jazz for 20 years, but in the moment, its power is pure expression,” says Brous. “And that’s very democratic. It’s not about training or background or pedigree, it’s about how much you’re willing to let go.”
You could get out your notebook and plot a course through this microcosm of the ecstatic. Or you could just turn up and drop out.
Supersense takes runs from August 7–9. Tickets and full program are available here.