Festival

7 – 8 October at the National Art School

Underbelly Arts Festival is a two-day, no holds barred presentation and celebration of contemporary Australian art in all its forms. Come and explore 21 ambitious new projects spanning installation, performance, dance, sound, visual art, intervention, digital art, radical opera, architecture, activist and participatory practices and everything in between.

Explore the 2017 Underbelly Arts Festival program below:

Alice Couttoupes

Monument

Alice Couttoupes

Monument

A multi-location installation of detailed sculptures mimetic of the vegetation found in and around National Art School. Made of raw clay, the sculptures will slowly decompose over the duration of the Lab and Festival. Monument explores objecthood, ownership, time and entropy, and invites a conversation around Australian identity and cultural attachment to landscape.


Working primarily in ceramics, Alice is fascinated by the natural – particularly botanical – world. Her work explores the processes of colonial botany and the consequential enduring socio-political and environmental implications.


Alice Couttoupes, Eponymic Materialisms, Unglazed porcelain and steel stand, 2014 Image by Cole Bennetts

Angela Garrick, Nic Warnock and Yarran Gatsby

Complaint Department

Angela Garrick, Nic Warnock and Yarran Gatsby

Complaint Department

Complaint Department is an interactive installation and performance in which members of the general public are invited to submit a complaint about anything to the Complaint Service. During Underbelly Arts Festival, a group of musicians assembled as the Complaint Ensemble will respond to a select array of these complaints with a short, partially improvised composition. The Complaint Ensemble includes Andrew McLellan, Emma Ramsay, Nicola Morton, Maeve Parker, Daryl Prondoso and John Wilton.

Want to complain? Head here: http://complaintdepartment.org.au/


Angela is a musician whose practice examines notions of spatial awareness, performance, collaboration, geographic phenomena and memory.

Yarran is a Sydney based curator, writer and artist and is currently the gallery manager at Alaska Projects.

Nic is the founder of R.I.P Society Records, member of numerous bands, previous Co-Director of the Sound Summit festival and works at Repressed Records.


Complaint Department, Angela Garrick, Nic Warnock and Yarran Gatsby, 2017

Anonymous Migrant

Resonance

Anonymous Migrant

Resonance

Resonance is an audio-visual installation and performance that explores the dislocation of sound and image in a postcolonial world. In this evocative work, developed through an organic process of sharing and exchange, the artists invoke and embody memories of ritual and ceremony to consider their lasting effects on identity: thought, body, action and communion.


Anonymous Migrant is a collective founded by Nikki Lam and Sudeep Lingamneni. Together they explore the dislocation of sound and image in the postcolonial world. Working primarily with visual and sound artists in the Asia-Pacific region, Anonymous Migrant has an evolving practice that is based on collaborations.


Anonymous Migrant, Resonance, 2017 Image by Nikki Lam

Amrita Hepi, Honey Long and Prue Stent

This _ _ _ _ _ _ _ may not protect you but at times it’s enough to know it’s there.

Amrita Hepi, Honey Long and Prue Stent

This _ _ _ _ _ _ _ may not protect you but at times it’s enough to know it’s there.

Gentle. Protective. Expansive. The idea of a soft structure protecting you is absurd. However, we have made such a structure that will hold you. Please come and be in it with us as we discover the contradictions inherent in our ideas of utopia and the reasons the realities of those contradictions can lead to new possibilities.


Creative duo Honey and Prue are multidisciplinary artists whose work is a co-mingling between photography, performance, installation and sculpture. Their work breaks down the constructs of a conscious mind, challenging the viewer’s preconception of reality.

Amrita is a dancer/ dance maker, writer and activist; a Bundjulung and Ngapuhi woman interested in movement as manifested by all bodies and reimagining/creating the greatness that will be WOC first nations futures. Her work and practice sits in the nexus between pop culture and contemporary dance with a focus on intersectionality.


Prue Stent and Honey Long, Membrane, 2015

Boni Cairncross

A Parliament of Owls

Boni Cairncross

A Parliament of Owls

Positioned on balconies above the Festival site, an ensemble of enrobed scribes quietly sit, observing the ebb and flow of the Festival unfolding around them: the crowds, the ambience, the events large and small. They note these observations down on screens in front of them, constructing a collective yet fragmented narrative of the event underway.

Performers: Susie Anderson, Louise Curham, Holly Isemonger, Emily Stewart, Maria White

Designers: Sarah Spackman


Boni Cairncross is an interdisciplinary artist and PhD candidate at UNSW. Her practice explores the influences that shape and direct experiences, with a particular focus on how these moments are mediated by often intangible, complex and overlapping elements. To date, her practice has engaged with performance, textiles, installation and real-time documentation methods. Her research explores cultural constructions of sensory perception and the influence of this on artistic practices. Boni has exhibited and performed nationally at venues such as Ideas Platform at Artspace, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Performance and PICA, among others.


Boni Cairncross, off the route, 2011 Image by Nick Clifford

Damian Showyin, Jeanette Scanes, Paul Williams and Peter Dudding

Marks in Motion

Damian Showyin, Jeanette Scanes, Paul Williams and Peter Dudding

Marks in Motion

A collaboration between Studio A artists Peter Dudding, Jeanette Scanes and Damian Showyin with Paul Williams, the group will become collectively immersed in the joy of gestural mark making whilst simultaneously creating a hall of paint and colour where Underbelly Arts guests can enter and experience the energy an artist’s mark can generate.


Studio A is a supported studio based in Sydney that tackles the barriers that artists living with intellectual disability face in accessing conventional education, professional development pathways and the opportunities needed to be successful and renowned visual artists. The enterprise paves professional pathways for such artists so that they can achieve their artistic and economic aspirations.


 Jeanette Scane, Blue, 2013. Acrylic & posca on paper, 50 x 60cm

Eugene Choi, Marcus Whale and Polyphony

Praise!

Eugene Choi, Marcus Whale and Polyphony

Praise!

A subversive musical intervention for 20-piece choir, four double basses, electronics and two solo performers, that celebrates the underlying erotic energy of Christian liturgy through a queer lens.


Marcus is a performer and composer from Sydney. Employing music and other time-based forms, he explores the immersive spectacle of popular media both high-def and lo-fi, playing out puzzling dramas of desire and projection.

Eugene is a performance-based artist whose practice travels between controlled and uncontrolled states by engaging the body in unfamiliar, yet constructed situations, relying on the live response of her physical and emotional body. In her work, a self-made system of geometry becomes integral between the body and object, attempting to achieve equilibrium.

Polyphony is an award-winning community choir based in Sydney’s inner west, known for singing a range of experimental material that is often not sung by other community groups.


Eugene Choi, Body Scaffold (Rest), 20 min performance, 2015 Image by Kalanjay Dhir

Fugitive Moments

On the Bundian Way

Fugitive Moments

On the Bundian Way

The Bundian Way is a 365 km track which follows an ancient Aboriginal walking route from Targangal (Kosciuszko) to Bilgalera (Fisheries Beach). The track follows – and displaces – the traces of human movement, commerce and war for over 40,000 years. Six artists and thinkers from different fields will walk sections of this track over three days, responding to the experience in a group exhibition that culminates at Underbelly Arts.


Fugitive Moments is collaboration between Barnaby Lewer and Tristan Derátz.

Barnaby has, at various times, been a union organizer, researcher, PhD candidate, and digital campaigner. After completing the MA of Culture, Criticism & Curation at Central Saint Martins, London in 2016 he has been involved in curatorial projects that interrogate the intersection of exhibition making, art, critical theory and history. He is published writer and currently works at Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

Tristan is an artist who explores the behaviour and emotional possibilities of digital technologies. A graduate of Sydney College of the Arts, he also studied under Josephine Pryde at the Universitat der Kunste, Berlin. He was recently artist-in-residence at technology research lab Metalworks by Maxus in New York and works as Digital Producer for MCA Australia.


Fugitive Moments (Tristan Derátz & Barnaby Lewer), Coal River, video projection onto the Newcastle Obelisk, 2015

Gwen Taualai

Tweets from the Underground

Gwen Taualai

Tweets from the Underground

Tweets from the Underground is an interactive installation that sonifies Twitter data, set against a backdrop of contemporary opera. This immersive sound installation draws parallels between Twitter users and Dostoevsky’s existential anti-hero to explore contemporary themes of technical, cultural and ideological connection and disconnection.


Gwen is a sound artist and music composer based in Sydney. Gwen’s work includes interactive art, live data sonification and audioreactive visuals, generative music, site-specific sound walks and installations. Gwen creates sound design and original music composition for live performance, film and interactive games, and builds digital musical instruments from repurposed and recycled e-waste products. Through these processes, Gwen investigates the effects of everyday technologies on the contemporary human experience.


Gwen Taualai, Tweets from the Underground, 2017

Harriet Gillies and Natalie Abbott

WATERMELON

Harriet Gillies and Natalie Abbott

WATERMELON

WATERMELON is a gargantuan attempt to find new ways of understanding what exists; to find new truths in a post-truth world. This six-eight hour overnight performance will take you on a journey through four visually and philosophically different worlds that explore and reflect our experiences of the VOID and the many ways it manifests aesthetically, emotionally and politically in our lives IRL + URL.

WATERMELON is an image-driven internet-inspired theatrical spectacle that embraces and ridicules our collective obsession with pop culture and the excesses of internet binge culture as we hurtle forwards and forget everything. It will be like everything and nothing you’ve ever seen before, and everything and nothing you’ll ever see again.


Harriet Gillies and Natalie Abbott work across theatre, choreography and the spaces in between to create aggressively contemporary performance art. Not ephemeral, but visceral and long lasting in the physical memory of an audience.

Harriet and Natalie met at two residencies across 2015/16: Marina Abramovic in residence with Kaldor Public Art Projects in Sydney and SITUATE Art in Festivals at Salamanca Arts Centre in Hobart. They immediately bonded over a shared interest in digital culture and the internet. Their collaboration is centered on navigating the real/tangible world from a digital framework. Digital culture affects their approach to form, material and aesthetic.

They have a joint admiration for hyper-experimental and aggressively contemporary art practices that are unapologetic in their approach to exploring risk, limitations and scale yet remain accessible, entertaining and spectacular. Their main shared art hero/ines to date include Ivo Dimchev, Florentine Holzinger, The Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, Beyonce, Barry Kosky and Marina Abramovic for their varied approaches to performance that speaks loudly across forms and audiences.


Harriet Gillies and Natalie Abbott, WATERMELON, 2017

House of Vnholy

MYTH

House of Vnholy

MYTH

Caught in the transition of a post-traumatic event and the unknown depths of the afterlife, MYTH is the contemplation of a person’s physical, singular trajectory within a vast landscape, and an attempt to understand the meaning of their objective reality. Part installation and performance experience, MYTH excavates the philosophical text of literary philosopher Albert Camus’ essay The Myth Of Sisyphus to question and re-imagine the spectacle of theatre.


Matthew Adey is a theatre artist and designer from Melbourne, Victoria. He works under the moniker House of Vnholy specialising in the creation of live performance, set and lighting design, installation and sculpture. Graduating from a Bachelor of Production in Fine Arts at VCA in 2011, Adey investigates the spectacle of the visual image in the theatrical context. He is interested in the exchange and experimentation of the physical embodiment of text and the subversion of the contemporary spectacle through multi-disciplinary art forms. HOV’s performance installations include MONO- , HOMME with Rebecca Jensen, Death Summit at Dark Mofo and The Spectre of Death Looms Large… at Metanoia Live Works.


House of Vnholy, MYTH, 2017

Ivey Wawn

Greyness and Infinity

Ivey Wawn

Greyness and Infinity

Greyness and Infinity is an experimental choreographic work inspired by the way bacteria has the ability to transform both itself and its host through physical connection. This work takes bacterial processes as found in the production of cheese, sourdough bread, beer, mushrooms and pickles and adapts them for a social context in an attempt to move towards alternative modes of social togetherness.


Ivey is an independent dancer working with contemporary practice in a range of contexts. In 2016 Ivey was supported by the Australia Council for the Arts to participate in the DanceWEB Scholarship in the frame of ImPulsTanz, Vienna, and presented work at CRACK Theatre Festival, AirSpace Projects, Shopfront Contemporary Arts and Performance, and at ReadyMade Works (Happy Hour).


Ivey Wawn, Adventure Dances, 2017 Image by Kate Disher-Quill

Jason Phu

A Shrine for the Horse Headed God of Safe Travels and a Shrine for the Pig Headed God of Celebration

Jason Phu

A Shrine for the Horse Headed God of Safe Travels and a Shrine for the Pig Headed God of Celebration

Jason Phu will create a large Daoist shrine for the Horse Headed God of Safe Travels (MAN ZOU) and a shrine for the Pig Headed God of Celebration (DU PI). These two gods are not real, he made them up. There is very little representation in contemporary arts of the Chinese Australian diaspora as a culture separate from its mainland China origins. Phu uses Daoist, Buddhist, Chinese creation myths and stories to convey his experiences of this culture. During the Festival, these shrines will be activated with live calligraphy performances using mops.


Jason Phu is an artist working in installation and the expanded fields of Chinese painting and Chinese calligraphy. Jason studied at COFA (Sydney and NSCAD (Nova Scotia), and has also completed residencies at CAFA (Beijing), DAC Studio (Chongqing), CAP Studio (Chiang Mai) and Organhaus (Chongqing). He has presented solo exhibitions across Australia including at Nicholas Projects (Melbourne), CCAS Gorman Arts Centre (Canberra), Alaska Projects (Sydney) and Ray Hughes Gallery (Sydney). He won the Sulman Prize and received a Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship in 2015 which has allowed him to base his practice in China and Australia.


Jason Phu, I pray at ashes of my grandmother and at the photo of my grandfather who I’ve never met. I pray for big chunks of meat, for big bowls of alcohol and for sex. They send me demons to battle, 2016, Image by Document Photography

Josee Vesely-Manning

Black Spring

Josee Vesely-Manning

Black Spring

Black Spring is an immersive installation that takes inspiration from speculative fiction and deals with relationships between climate change and urban decay. The artist will create an environment of large- scale abstracted industrial and cosmological objects, which will be activated throughout the Festival by a series of meditative performances to immerse audiences in what could be an alternate universe, proposed future or undiscovered planet.


Josee’s practice is propelled by an interest in “parafunctional” spaces or disenfranchised urban sites such as housing estates, industrial wastelands, drains, tunnels, subways, abandoned buildings, vacant lots and all “terrain vagues”.

Josee Vesely-Manning is currently completing a Master of Arts at SCA interested in forms of material obsolescence, actant matter and magic.


Image by Josee Veseley-Manning

Laurence Rosier Staines

You Can Have it All

Laurence Rosier Staines

You Can Have it All

You Can Have it All is a multi-room interactive work that explores voyeurism, agency and narrative television with an immersive take on a Netflix-style drama show—also called You Can Have It All.


Laurence is a Sydney-based writer, producer and director. Since 2010 he has helmed six independent theatre shows that have combined genres and crossed mediums. His works have appeared at Adelaide Fringe, Perth Fringe World, Sydney Fringe, Verge Festival, Melbourne Comedy Festival and Sydney Comedy Festival.


Image by Laurence Rosier-Staines

Make or Break

Merch Stand

Make or Break

Merch Stand

Make or Break will produce souvenir items in collaboration with other UA17 artists and sell them in a roving Merch Stand to audiences during the Lab and Festival.


Make or Break is an ongoing collaboration between Sydney artists Connie Anthes and Rebecca Gallo. So far this project has taken the form of using galleries as live work spaces; performing personal admin for an audience; co-writing texts; circulating fictional currencies; making books; and facilitating conversations as an alternative to traditional forms of research.


Make or Break, Image by Document Photography

Nana Biluš Abaffy

One hundred and three: International Society for the Creatively Maladjusted

Nana Biluš Abaffy

One hundred and three: International Society for the Creatively Maladjusted

Part two of the WikiHow on How to Drop Out of Society is about how to survive in the woods. To this we say no. We don’t want to live in the woods right now, and, furthermore, we don’t want to learn, in part three, about how to dig our own animal traps and toilet – what we really want is to stay right here and build our own society.

Join the International Society for the Creatively Maladjusted as they begin preparations for an actionable blueprint for a fully functional new counter society. (Only sensitive people are allowed in.) The entry process will be conducted through a highly competitive talent quest and hierarchical competition for who has the best emotion.

A volatile dance for three, performed by Nana Biluš Abaffy,

Milo Love & Geoffrey Watson SC.


Nana Biluš Abaffy is an artist with a background in philosophy and a foreground in performance. Nana believes in a totalist approach to artistic endeavour and works through dance, text, play, moving image and social intervention.

Nana is the founding member of two performance outfits: Psychoknot Theatrics: Theatre Labyrinthitis, an experimental play troupe that works to rouse the realm of the performative and herein create total werkplaydances for mixedup reality, and secretively also Secretive Dance Team, an anonymous collective that performs in explicitly illicit spaces and enjoys engaging in ChoreoGraphic acts of extreme tree hugging and site specific protest dancing.


Nana Biluš Abaffy, One hundred and three: International Society for the Creatively Maladjusted, 2017

Pony Express

Sixth Wave

Pony Express

Sixth Wave

Sixth Wave is a nightly waterfront spectacle wherein Pony Express use the power of crowds, hot chips, and seagulls to create a chaotic ocean choreography that brings to light our human ineficassy in dealing with the impending rising of the seas.


Pony Express is a collaborative duo led by playwright and performance maker Ian Sinclair and transdisciplinary artist Loren Kronemyer. Pony Express work across platforms of media art, live art and transdisciplinary research to create immersive alternate realities. Their work reflects themes of environment, apocalypse and the future.


Pony Express, Sixth Wave, development at Vitalstatistix

Radha La Bia

The Divine Game

Radha La Bia

The Divine Game

In The Divine Game, Radha La Bia pickles limes and mangoes on a set stylistically reminiscent of lavish 1960s Tamil devotional films. As she pickles, demonstrating recipes inherited and gleaned from her aunt, Radha regales stories about growing up in a modern matriarchal Indian family in Singapore, weaving together migration, identity, sexuality, gender and the politics of history and family. In this performance, the archiving of cultural and familial memory and the pickling of limes and mangoes become one and the same.


Shahmen Suku was born in 1987 in Singapore and arrived in Australia in 2009. He is a performance artist based in Sydney who explores ideas of racial and cultural identity, gender roles, the home and the kitchen, food and storytelling.


Radha La Bia, The Divine Game, Performance by Shahmen Suku as Radha La Bia, 2017 Image by Tim Da-Rin

Shian Law

Social Studies: Peking Opera

Shian Law

Social Studies: Peking Opera

An ambitious new project by one of Australia’s rising choreographic stars, Social Studies: Peking Opera reinvents traditional Chinese opera for a contemporary context. Part installation, part durational performance, part community congregation, this 6-hour epic combines acting, singing, oratory citation, acrobatics, magic, comedy, drag, painting and cosmetics.


Shian’s multi-faceted conceptual projects are the result of an adept practice spanning several artistic disciplines including choreography, spatial practice, participatory art, docuentary and screen-based art. Shian works collaboratively to employ hybrid forms and new discursive frameworks wherein the representation of body and the way we experience dance are investigated. Grandeur, intimacy, spectatorship and historicity are recurring motifs.


Shian Law, Body Obscure Object, Image by Christine Francis

Sophie Mallett and Siân McIntyre

Island Anthems

Sophie Mallett and Siân McIntyre

Island Anthems

Island Anthems is an exploration of nationality and place through song. Mallett and McIntyre will compose a series of songs and anthems derived from the site of the Underbelly Arts Festival and present them through recording and live performance.


Sophie Mallett is an artist exploring sound through the social, and the social through sound.

Siân McIntyre is a Sydney based artist and curator, MFA graduate and APA recipient at UNSW Art and Design. Her practice is concerned with questioning notions of site, place and history in a contemporary Australian context.


Siân McIntyre, Enclosure Movement, 2015. The image shows artists Lucia Giuffre and Chatherine McElhone.