Twenty-one creative individuals and groups have been named the state’s ‘Creators’ for 2018, as the first recipients of funding through the Victorian Government’s ground-breaking Creators Fund. More than $700,000 in funding has been announced to support Victorian creatives working across a range of disciplines to innovate and significantly advance their careers.
A key initiative of the Victorian Government’s $115m Creative State strategy, the Creators Fund will enable recipients to work intensively to research and develop their creative ideas over a three to six month period. The inaugural recipients, which include both prominent practitioners and emerging talent, were selected by expert panels from more than 200 applications.
Fashion designer Lyn Al Young will use the opportunity to develop a range of clothing under the mentorship of creative director and stylist Philip Boon, design studio Alterfact will work to create the world’s first large scale 3D clay printer and composer David Chisholm will collaborate with Finnish artists on his most ambitious work to date.
Experimental art duo Cake Industries, author Melanie Joosten, jewellery maker Tiffany Parbs, digital games studio Robot Circus and theatre makers The Rabble will devote time to exploring new techniques and developing new works and prototypes.
Others including theatre director Susie Dee, visual artist Fayen d’Evie, performer Moira Finucane, writer Anna Spargo-Ryan and musician Sophia Brous will undertake significant national and international research to inform their projects, in locations ranging from Adelaide to Antarctica.
Several Creators will focus on expanding their practice into new territory. Choreographer Michelle Heaven will investigate adapting performances for hospitals and care facilities, performance artist Tristan Meecham will make his first foray onto the screen and Sibling Architecture will research the role design can play in supporting ageing.
Many projects involve experts from outside of the creative sphere. Actor and director Nick Barkla will work with young people and experts in the juvenile justice system, choreographer Antony Hamilton will work with robotic engineers and animal trainers, and composer Martin Friedel will connect with scientists.
Storyteller John Harvey will investigate Indigenous stories and government policies on the future of water in Australia and filmmaker Logan Mucha will draw on climate change experts to develop a new hybrid documentary concept.
For more information about the Creators Fund, visit: www.creative.vic.gov.au for details.
Image: Antony Hamilton Projects, Meeting (2015) – photo by Gregory Lorenzutti
2018 Creators Fund Recipients:
Over a period of five months, experimental design studio Alterfact will design and construct a new ‘flat bed’ 3D printer that will have the ability to produce large scale clay pieces. Currently the studio makes objects on a domestic scale but the new printer, the first of its kind in the world, will enable the studio to expand its offering and make large scale objects.
Actor, writer and director Nick Barkla will research the lives and experiences of youth involved in Melbourne’s justice system to develop a feature film screenplay treatment and a proof of concept teaser film. The six-month project will see Nick collaborating with young at-risk people involved in the justice system as well as youth workers, social workers, health workers, parents and carers. Nick will bring a group of young people with no acting experience together with professional actors for a series of performance workshops that will experiment with improvisation and self-devised dialogue as Nick investigates the best way to direct untrained performers. The learnings of the project will be documented as a case study and through a short documentary.
Over four months, vocalist, musician, performer and curator Sophia Brous will undertake research and development for a new contemporary opera, Gorgons. Sophia will travel to New York’s Yale University to conduct research into improvisational music, experimental compositional techniques, theatrical methods, ancient Greek literature and art history. Following the research, Sophia will undertake a series of development workshops to experiment and workshop musical materials, libretto and compositional techniques with a collection of creative collaborators. On her return to Melbourne, Sophia will continue her research and development and lay the foundations for a work-in-progress of the opera at the New York music space National Sawdust.
Artist duo Jesse Stevens and Dean Petersen of Cake Industries are known for creating works that utilise robotics, animatronics and 3D printing to explore the intersection between humans and machines. Over three months, Jesse and Dean will explore and experiment with new materials and methods that can be used in their future projects. They will experiment with using resins and platinum-based silicon to make casts and reusable moulds and they will explore the use of pneumatics (compresses air systems). In addition, the team will expand their skills in creating video collages and audio pieces and will explore methods for merging these elements with the physical objects they create.
Over six months, composer David Chisholm will work with local and international collaborators to develop his most ambitious work to date, Into the Darkness. The project will see David collaborate with Finnish live art duo Harrie Liveart to create a six-hour long music, projection, video and performance event that will take over the UNESCO world heritage listed Suomenlinna, a sea fortress off the coast of Helsinki. During the development period David will host his collaborators in Bendigo to commence planning and experimentation. David will then travel to Finland for further planning on site and to continue his compositions. During the project, David will introduce the Harrie Liveart team to local organisations and potential collaborators, he will also create opportunities for Victorian musicians to be involved in this major international work which will be presented in Finland in 2020.
Theatre director Susie Dee will undertake six months of research to inform her most ambitious theatre work yet, based on the 1882 travelogue On Sledge and Horseback to Outcast Siberian Lepers. This non-fiction work details a nurse’s journey from the UK to a leper colony in far east Siberia and Susie will travel to London and Russia following the life of the protagonist, retracing her path from the book and exploring the notion of an ‘outcast’. Susie will learn new filmmaking skills to document the trip and on her return, she will commence adapting the book undertake set up a lab-style workshop at the University of Melbourne’s Union Theatre. Susie will work with students to experiment with form and ways to bring the story to life both dramatically and through the use of dynamic, large scale staging to be operated by the performers.
Visual artist and writer Fayen d’Evie’s six-month project will see her working in Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Washington and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) to explore how blindness can create new ways of experiencing artworks and exhibitions. In addition to undertaking a research phase based on the collection at SFMOMA and with collaborators including Georgina Kleege, an expert on blindness and art at the University of California Berkeley, Feyen will experiment and create works with Australian choreographers Prue Lang and Shelley Lasica, performance artist Brian Fuata, actor Janaleen Wolfe, printmaker Trent Walter and sound artist Bryan Phillips in addition to developing her own creative writing.
Moira Finucane (auspiced by Auspicious Arts Projects)
Writer, director and performer Moira Finucane will undertake a research trip across Australia and beyond to connect with people from a range of backgrounds and gain an understanding of the ways we are connected to the land, the effects of climate change, how we tell stories, express our culture and make art. Moira’s will travel to Marlinja in the Red Centre and to the Tiwi Islands to collaborate with, and learn from, Indigenous artists, Sistagirls and community members. She will travel across Victoria to learn the stories of eight towns and will join a scientific expedition to Antarctica, under the mentorship of an environmental scientist. Moira will share her learnings and stories during a residency in Melbourne.
Recent discoveries in plant neuro-biology indicate that plants can produce and react to sound. Inspired by these findings, composer Martin Friedel will undertake a 3.5 month project to investigate and experiment with the sound and music possibilities of ancient trees and ecosystems. Martin will undertake research into Victoria’s Gondwanan forest remnants, undertake field trips and meet with scientists to learn more about the sonic capabilities of trees. Martin will then record audio tracks that will be combined with his own compositions to create new music.
Antony Hamilton (auspiced by Insite Arts International)
Over three months, choreographer Antony Hamilton will work with a diverse range of collaborators to explore, experiment with, and learn about, different types of movement – primal and technological. Antony will meet with robotics and animatronics engineers at Melbourne’s Creature Technology Company and Boston Dynamics in the USA, animal handlers and trainers, fashion designer Paula Levis, dancers and other stage craft practitioners. Through his research, Antony will gain new artistic skills and develop new relationships with a diverse range of potential collaborators from outside of the dance field. Antony’s research will inform his future dance works throughout 2019 and beyond.
John Harvey (auspiced by Auspicious Arts Projects)
Storyteller John Harvey will combine Indigenous storytelling with research into government policies and scientific studies to explore our past, present and future relationship with water in Australia. Inspired by his family’s forced migration from Saibai Island due to rising seas levels in 1947, John’s three-month project will see him researching sound design, video installation and the changing states and sounds of water with a view to developing a new theatre work.
Michelle Heaven (auspiced by Auspicious Arts Projects)
Dancer and choreographer Michelle Heaven will work with lighting designer Ben Cobham and a team to research and explore the possibilities for presenting performances in atypical and non-theatrical spaces such as hospitals and care facilities. Over three months, their research will involve meetings with staff from metropolitan and regional organisations and interviews with target audience members in order to better understand the parameters of working in new environments. They will explore the requirements for stage design, lighting and sound in these environments as well as how to ensure that content is suitable and offers maximum benefit to the audience.
Over four months, author Melanie Joosten (Berlin Syndrome) will undertake research into the suffragette movement and develop a form and structure for a new novel that explores this history in a way that connects with contemporary politics. In order to create a story unlike her previous works, Melanie will research literary forms and experiment with developing competing or interlinked narratives. This project will lay the groundwork for the writing stage of this new novel.
Tristan Meecham (auspiced by Auspicious Arts Projects)
Tristan Meecham is a performance artist who places the social rights of the LGBTI+ community at the core of his work. Tristan’s five-month project, which will take place in Melbourne and in the USA, will see him undertaking research into the different viewpoints that exist in the community in relation to homophobia and same sex marriage. Tristan will work with artist Lenine Bourke and LGBTI+ community service organisations to develop the framework for his research and engage with conflict resolution experts to learn skills for engaging with people from different cultures and opposing political viewpoints. Tristian will then conduct interviews with people from different walks of life to capture a range of perspectives. Working with producers John Molloy and Richard Kelly (John Safran’s Race Relations) Tristan will explore how the project could be developed for the screen and how it could be translated into live public presentations.
Director Logan Mucha’s five-month project will see him research, write and develop a hybrid documentary anthology – Dark Tide – that tells a story of a fictionalised climate change event. Logan will undertake research into the potential impacts of climate change on Victoria including connecting with historians, scientists and experts from organisations including the CSIRO’s Marine and Atmospheric Research team. Logan will also work with collaborators to produce a proof of concept film that can be shown at film festivals or gallery settings and presented to potential investors and distributors with a view to producing the full anthology in the future.
Jewellery maker Tiffany Parbs’ six-month project will see her undertake research into the ways women are portrayed in the media. Tiffany will explore how these representations affect how society views women and how women view themselves. Having generally created small scale works throughout her career, Tiffany will also develop her skills in creating large scale, wearable works. Tiffany’s research will feed into the development of a series of new jewellery works.
Design studio Sibling Architecture will undertake intensive research into ageing and how design can play a role in creating a more equitable society for all ages and abilities. Building on the studio’s recent work to create an accessible furniture line, this project will draw on research from RMIT’s design research studios, Arup, Uniting Care, the City of Melbourne’s Ageing and Inclusion Department and The University of Melbourne’s Hallmark Ageing Research Institute. The Sibling Architecture team will hone its learnings and respond in a number ways including producing an exhibition that includes speculative designs to demonstrate how spaces and products can meet the needs of people of all ages, and by producing a public program of events and talks in collaboration with RMIT’s Design Hub.
Author Anna Spargo-Ryan will work over five months to research and write a new historical fiction novel, Foundlings. Foundlings was the name given the babies abandoned by their mothers and the work will be based on the true story of Rose Lattin who was an inmate at the Adelaide Destitute Asylum in 1887 and 1890 and was also Anna’s great grandmother. Focusing on the themes of women, fertility and poverty in the 1800s, the novel will explore a time of poor treatment of women but also a time of great change as the suffragette movement gained momentum.
The Rabble (auspiced by Auspicious Arts Projects)
As they develop a new work inspired by Dante’s Inferno, theatre company The Rabble will undertake a three-month project where they will experiment with video, sound, projection, special effects, wireless technologies and more. The team will investigate ways that they can make their work scalable and flexible for presentation in theatres, non-arts venues and outdoor spaces of all sizes. The project will also explore ways The Rabble can expand their practice and develop works that can exist as a performance, an installation and an exhibition.
Games studio Robot Circus will work over six months to develop a new video game, The Last Bastion. The game, which will be developed for phones and tablets, will tell the story of a world that is on the brink of being taken over by a tyrannical force. During the project, the team will develop the design for the game, create an art bible that sets out the world and the characters and create a playable preproduction prototype that can be presented to potential investors or partners.
Lyn Al Young
Emerging Aboriginal fashion designer Lyn Al Young will be mentored by creative director and stylist Philip Boon as she researches, designs and manufactures a small range of clothing intended for presentation at Hong Kong Business of Design Week in December 2018. In November and December 2017, Lyn Al was part of a Victorian Government Trade Mission to Hong Kong Business of Design Week where she explored potential business opportunities in Asia. This project will see her build on these connections and support her to expand her business into new international markets.