Inspired by the idea of disconnectedness in an utterly connected world – Art & About creative director Gill Minervini wanted to explore the idea of our diminishing memories. “The theme was inspired by a radio interview I heard earlier this year with a scientist in the US about memory,” she says. “Now that we all have iPhones and take thousands of photos, the strength of our memory is becoming endangered. The interview made me wonder about the other things that we are in danger of losing, that we’re not really aware of. The sorts of things that quietly slip away without us really knowing, and often artists are the first to recognise these things, and to give hope for the endangered.”
The three-week program includes a neat set of events, installations, performances, theatre productions and exhibitions. Here’s our pick of the best on offer.
Friday Night Live – Quarter Acre Block Party
The festival’s opening event will see Martin Place reimagined as the great Australian backyard, Hills Hoist included. Chef Jared Ingersoll (Danks Street Depot) will present a local, seasonal and sustainable style barbeque, with the art-inspired Cake Wines propping up the bar. There will be backyard bands as well as a BBQ mix from Double J radio. Neighbouring creative venues will be open late with special events – an artist market at the NSW State Library, a curator talk at the Museum of Sydney and drinks and DJs at the Art Gallery of NSW.
Friday Night Live, 5 – 9pm, Friday September 19, Martin Place, Sydney and various venues.
A camp of 10, three-meter-high tepees will be installed at the southern end of Hyde Park as a kind of nomadic, digital gallery. Here, curators Celina Stang and Luca Ionesco will match a sharp, digitised future with an earthy, primitive past. Displayed or projected onto each tepee will be bright, moving works from local artists Phil James, Brett Chan, and Jonathan Zawada, as well as illustrations from New York-based Jeremyville.
Neon Nomads, Friday September 19–Sunday October 12, Hyde Park, Corner Elizabeth and Park Streets, Sydney.
Banner Gallery – The Milk Bar by Eamon Donnelly
As a part of the greater, nostalgic chorus of this year’s Art & About, photographer Eamon Donnelly’s suburban milk bar series will be strung throughout the city on CBD street banners. Flags usually announcing the city’s upcoming cultural events, will display a selection of Donnelly’s sun-soaked images of weathered, but truly iconic, corner stores.
The Milk Bar by Eamon Donnelly, September 19–October 12, banners on George Street, Martin Place, William Street, Oxford Street, Glebe Point Road and Redfern Street.
Us by The Glue Society
Independent creative collective The Glue Society was responsible for the 2012 Art & About installation I Wish You Hadn’t Asked – a full-scale, fully furnished house that mysteriously rained inside. Visitors were required to gear up in bright yellow raincoats before entering. This year, the collective has created a new interactive piece inspired by the days of awkward school photos. Knuckles rested on knees, hair combed back and teeth bared – Us is a temporary photo studio where you can be snapped with a set of strangers. The installation is a nostalgic photo experience that seems abstract in this fast and filtered Instagram world.
Us, 11am–6pm, September 19–October 5, Queen Victoria Forecourt, George and Druitt Streets, Sydney.
Bondi-based independent theatre outfit, The Rock Surfers Theatre Company will present three new theatre pieces where your house will become the playhouse. Instead of performing at its usual Bondi theatre, The Old Fitzroy Hotel, Stables Hotel or even the Opera House – performances will take place in the comfort of the lounge rooms of volunteers. You are invited to either nominate your home as a venue and host, or prop yourself up on a stranger’s couch for an intimate evening of music and storytelling.
Visit The Rock Surfers Theatre Company website for more details.
Art & About runs from September 19 to October 12.
Full program is available on the Art & About Website.