Cancelled: Golden Square

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Price: $23-$32
For the duration of Rising festival, the drab Lonsdale Street car park will be a luminous, multi-disciplinary gallery filled with creative cocktails, drumming, inflatable self-portraits, building-sized projections and an absurd land-going kayak.

Update (June 3): This event was changed to reflect Rising's cancellation.

There’s a little iceberg bobbing in your cocktail, gently clinking against your glass. It’s a microcosm of the work before you: a glowing four-tonne column of ice embedded with microphones that record every crack, creak and slushy trickle as the ice melts down into the city.

Inside each block is a granite boulder, quarried in the 1800s near the Victorian town of Harcourt. This particular variety of dappled-grey stone shows up in the structures and facades of many of Melbourne’s old civic buildings.

By This Lake, by Tasmanian artist Lucy Bleach, is one of a number of pieces headed for Chinatown’s Golden Square Car Park. Grace Herbert, Rising’s visual arts curator, is using the multi-storey space to examine migration, colonisation, technology, consumerism and the environment, under the broad heading of “inland tides”.

Kamilaroi/Gamilaroi artist Reko Rennie has painted a vast expanse of the rooftop’s floor with his signature neon camouflage, while the surrounding walls will be lit with supersized projections, including Rennie’s own Initiation OA_RR and The Hearts of the People Are Measured by the Size of the Land, a seven-artist mini-exhibition curated by Olivia Koh, exploring the migrant experience from a mostly Asian perspective, speaking directly to the Chinatown location.

Ex-Black Pearl bartenders Ryan Noreiks, Rob Libecans and Matt Stirling – aka Fancy Free, who had their own pop-up on Little Collins in 2019 – are running the rooftop bar. In addition to their own hyper-creative drinks, they’ll be pouring Atomic Brewing Beer, Rising x Blackhearts & Sparrows wine, and Rising’s own decadent take on the Negroni.

Once you’ve finished admiring the skyline, the lower levels of the multi-disciplinary gallery call. There, you might encounter two people paddling a wheeled kayak (Parallel Park’s absurd performance piece, Mission Surge), or maybe a 30-person procession of marchers and drummers (Parade for the Moon), exploring the moon’s symbolism in various cultures. (The lunar cycle is an overarching theme at Rising.) Other visual works take on sunken cities, fibre-optic cables, inflatable self-portraiture and a cheeky singing sun.