Composing a vision of a future city is a task best rendered creatively. An artist is never bound by the algorithms of certainty, but is always free to explore the very essence of possibility. This is at least the thinking of the Chippendale Creative Precinct – the team of creatives behind the suburb’s kaleidoscopic block party, BEAMS festival. This year they have asked artists, galleries, local production houses and designers to envisage a revitalised ‘new world city’, and to transform eight Chippendale streets and laneways into a place of wonder for one night.
Now in its second year, the festival occupies the space between Regent and Abercrombie streets from the early evening with a colourful and bright series of art installations, light and video projections, performance art, workshops and live music – turning the tiny suburb into a beaming playground of creativity. [fold]
Founder of Chippendale Creative Precinct and BEAMS festival director, Nicky Ginsberg says Chippendale was “almost a cultural desert” when she set up NG Gallery seven years ago. “Within a few years I realised the incredible potential of the area,” she says. Wanting to encourage the suburb’s artistic evolution, Ginsberg set up the CCP with the belief the suburb could one day be “akin to Chelsea in New York”. The BEAMS festival was devised to celebrate the burgeoning arts precinct, but has since become a vehicle to enliven the broader creative community and reimagine possibilities for the entire city.
Amongst the artists and future visionaries on the festival’s programme is Flatline, a collaboration between curator Todd Fuller and choreographer Carl Sciberras that is a hybrid of dance, art and technology. Artist Lee Mathers has compiled thousand of tiny pieces of glass to be placed in a doorway for an installation entitled Spill and in a separate work, Patricia Casey will drape stunning silk georgette from balcony to balcony. Ginsberg notes that residents have been remarkably supportive, “They’ve gladly offered up their balconies, carports, stairwells and window boxes.”
The brim-full 2013 programme will also include puppetry, live graffiti and a geographic-specific augmented reality app. There is also a laneway-long communal dining table serenaded by balcony DJs, set up beside a flock of Sydney food trucks including Cantina Mobil and Agape Organic Food Truck. “On any street and at any one time there will be such an abundance of activity,” says Ginsberg. This year’s BEAMS festival will throw a bright and optimistic light upon Sydney’s creative future, as a showcase of a diverse and dynamic community.
Chippendale’s BEAMS Festival is on Saturday September 21 at Balfour and surrounding streets from 5pm-10pm.