You might have bought tickets for Hot Chip, Dirty Three and Courtney Barnett, but on arrival at Sugar Mountain this Saturday you’ll find a hell of a lot more.

The visual artists of Sugar Mountain are visceral and provocative, kinetic and loud, personal and universal. You might be en route to see your favourite band, but get waylaid for an hour in a room flashing with hypnotic strobe lights and rumbling with surround sound.

Here’s our pick of the bunch.


At last year’s Sugar Mountain, the surprise hit was French and Japanese duo NONOTAK, which created a calamity of sound and light in a packed warehouse space. NONOTAK performs live, percussive electronica with lighting that responds to the performance, making the room come alive. This year a newly commissioned installation called Hoshi will debut. For it NONOTAK will up the ante with an 11-metre-by-nine-metre star-shaped room with mirrored walls, their sound-activated lights transforming the space, beaming in every direction. NONOTAK hopes to tour the new work internationally, but you’ll see it at Sugar Mountain first.

Carla Milentis

This year for the first time, Sugar Mountain ran a competition for a VCA student to present a new work in some esteemed company. Chosen in collaboration with representatives from NGV and Utopian Slumps, Carla Milentis’ work is something of a mystery. All Sugar Mountain’s creative director, Pete Keen, will tell me is that it’s an outdoor installation that’s “very pink, very glossy and very warped. It highlights the human body while poking fun at luxury”. Intriguing. Her previous works address love, lust, loneliness, and the inexplicable disorder that causes tourists to experience bouts of psychosis, known as Paris Syndrome.

Daniel Askill

Askill came to prominence with his 2003 short film We have decided not to die, a visceral trilogy of vignettes focusing on the warping and transformation of the human body through water, movement and glass. Since then he has applied his physical, avant-grade approach to music videos – his energetic collaboration with Sia for her single Chandelier was nominated for a Grammy, and has been seen more than a billion times on YouTube. But he’s arguably at his most captivating when his films can stand on their own. Sugar Mountain is an opportunity to see two new installation film works, split across four screens, featuring a score composed by his father, Michael Askill, playing the singing bowls.

Prue Stent x Honey Long x Clare Longley

Prue Stent, Honey Long and Clare Longley have worked together in Melbourne and Sydney for years. Between them they span a lot of disciplines, including photography, painting, illustration and sculpture. Their Sugar Mountain collaboration covers the lot, with much of the work addressing the female body. Their latest photography work spills into each person’s specific medium, and the space they’re taking over doesn’t limit itself to the walls – paintings and illustrations are built into the floor, and sculptures disrupt the space. And it’s very pink.

Sugar Mountain is happening at VCA and the Arts Precinct on Saturday January 23. Tickets available here.

Broadsheet is a proud media partner of Sugar Mountain.