For one day in February at Northcote Town Hall, Something Unlimited is bringing music and art together with a few surreal and immersive elements – and a couple of custom scents – thrown in.
“We felt like there was a bit of a gap [in Melbourne] for stuff that did music and genuine art, rather than music with art thrown on the end of it,” says Liam Alexander, Something Unlimited co-director.
But the organisers won’t give away the full details of the displays – there’s no program online, and the festival’s website is little more than a landing page with a video from the 2019 festival. Alexander says there’ll be a lot of playful, experimental works and light-based installations, and the intention is that people see the works for the first time on arrival.
When you step inside, you’ll be handed a map so you can make your way through a series of rooms, each one holding a different experience. The idea is not to rush – you can take your time, move in any direction you like and revisit rooms, too. “Slower is better,” Alexander says.
Here’s what we do know: there’ll be a retro-futuristic “cosmic forest” with drag queens Victoria Bitter and Prue Brown performing as aliens on their first day on Earth; an installation made from recycled cardboard by artist Goodie Goodnow; and a body-responsive light work by VJ Carla Zimbler and Mikaela Stafford (Something Unlimited’s art director).
“The initial thinking for us, when we were choosing the artists to be involved, was about the intersection of natural environments with urban spaces, and trying to create something that encouraged people to consider the role of nature in cities,” says Alexander.
“The linking element between all of the artists is this concept of earthly delights,” Stafford adds. Some rooms invite you to sit and relax; others will be livelier, including one where you’ll be taken through a series of guided exercises.
Tying these distinct experiences together will be botanical creations by Kayla Moon and Aliénor Renaux of xxflos, made using native plants, as well as “origami pods” (sculptural paper artworks infused with native Australian scents) by scent artist Erin Adams.
There’ll be food available from Indigenous kitchen Mabu Mabu, and Melbourne’s NO ZU will bring percussive, boogie-driven beats to the bandroom. There’ll also be DJ sets, including one from German producer Tama Sumo.
Alexander says he and Stafford are working on their own artwork, too. “We’re attempting to turn a plant into an instrument,” he says with a laugh.
Something Unlimited is on at Northcote Town Hall, 189 High Street, Northcote, on Saturday February 15 from 12pm to 11.30pm. Tickets are $86.17 and available here.