“A lot of people have written about the ecstatic, from Sufi scriptures to Hunter S. Thompson,” Supersense’s founder and curator, Sophia Brous, told us in June. “It all sounds very heavy, but really, it’s literally just about fun and disarmament and letting go of self-consciousness.”
“I want people to be affected by joy, extremity, violence, risk and all the beauty that can come out of that,” she says. “I want to create an environment in which people can affordably see a lot of work which will wreck them in the most beautiful way.”
The new arts festival, held at various Arts Centre venues Between Friday and Sunday is a choose-your-own-adventure of live performance.
Here are a handful of ways to get wrecked on art at Supersense this weekend.
Göttsching came to prominence in ’70s Berlin as leader of Krautrock outfit, Ash Ra Tempel. Over the course of his career, Göttsching has moved from guitar psychedelia to pioneering electronica. It’s said that with his 1985 album E2-E4, a long, minimal, beat-driven suite, he accidentally invented techno, inadvertently changing the course of pop music forever. Here he’ll be performing some of this work solo, as well as revisiting some of his Ash Ra Tempel material in collaboration with psychedelic outsider, Ariel Pink.
For another kind of rhythm-driven experience, see Padepokan Gunung Ukir, a family troupe of 20 performers from Indonesia. They will perform the ritual Kuda Lumping ceremony. It’s a Javanese tradition that goes back centuries, drawing on religious influences as well as generations of village life, but for Brous it bears all the hallmarks of disco music.
A musical icon. Classically trained Cale was the experimental heart of the Velvet Underground until he was kicked out of the band for being a bit too out there. For his Supersense performance, he’s collaborating with Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance and American electronic musician Laurel Halo for a “genre bending audio-visual trip” that promises to take in the full breadth of Cale’s career past, present and future.
Singing in a mix of English and Yolngu, this blind, shy, Arnhemland multi-instrumentalist is becoming recognised as one of Australia’s most sublime vocalists. For Supersense, he’s focusing on Methodist gospel, the first Western music he heard as a boy. Channeling the traditions of gospel through one of Australia’s original languages, and that voice? An ideal way to spend your Saturday night.
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
If reverent gospel isn’t your thing, how about these grimy legends of the church of rock’n’roll? The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion has been a purveyor of irreverent fuzzy garage punk for almost 25 years, and the trio’s new album, Freedom Tower No Wave Dance Party 2015 shows no sign of mellowing, and Spencer’s showmanship still knows no bounds. But what does scrappy, chaotic rock’n’roll look like in a formal theatre setting such as the Playhouse? Answer: potentially messy.
There simply isn’t enough room to cover the full scale of Supersense, but also recommended is the collaboration between electronic duo HTRK and dance company Chunky Move; The Necks fronting a tribute to Brian Eno’s classic ambient album, Discreet Music; China’s TAO Dance Theater; Lydia Lunch; and hallucinatory, experimental film works from Japanese artist Makino Takashi.
Supersense is at the Arts Centre this weekend August 7–9.