APHIDS celebrates 30 years of boundary pushing art in An Evening of Performance II

AAR APHIDS photo by Bryony JacksonFor thirty years, award-winning experimental arts organisation APHIDS have been creating unexpected art across Australia and around the globe. Collaborating with thousands of people across Melbourne to make new work, this year, APHIDS celebrates its lineage in one extraordinary night with An Evening of Performance II on Friday 5 July at Arrow on Swanston.

An Evening of Performance II will be filled with performances by Pony Cam, Deborah Kayser, Thea Baumann, Tra Mi Dinh, Lz Dunn, Catherine Ryan, Sammaneh Pourshafighi, DJ Sullivan and more. Hosted by Mish Grigor and Lara Thoms, with unexpected conceptual food offerings from Long Prawn, audiences can expect immersive installations, video work and a themed drink on arrival.

Performances will range from experimental singing, participatory nail art, food-based installations, contemporary dance and a performance lecture. Attendees are invited to celebrate 30 years of one of Melbourne’s integral experimental arts companies.

In a share house in 1994, a group of artists held a night called An Evening of Performance. It was part gallery opening, part concert, and part party. There was a human-sized paper vase, suits tailored from coffee bags and music made with fax machines. The event left a lasting impression on both guests and performers, leading the collaborators to continue collectively as ‘APHIDS.’

Founded at this share house by Artistic Director/composer David Young, writer/musician Cynthia Troup, visual artist Sarah Pirrie and fashion designer Kath Banger, APHIDS have since collaborated with thousands of people across Melbourne to make new work.

In 2010, Willoh S. Weiland joined the company as Artistic Director with support from Thea Baumann and Rosemary Joy. In 2019 APHIDS entered into a new era, led by Co-Directors Eugenia Lim, Lara Thoms and Mish Grigor. Today APHIDS continues to be led by Lara and Mish with the APHIDS triad of Amrita Hepi, Sammaneh Pourshafighi and Amaraa Raheem.

“From inception APHIDS has been consistently surprising audiences with new collaborators, unexpected sites and by pursuing provocative themes such as class, death and the future of food,” said Lara Thoms, APHIDS Executive Director.

“Being artist run and employing so much of the artistic community over 30 years is our greatest pride. Having just secured multiyear funding from Creative Australia has cemented our dedication to making art that is near and afar for the next 30 years.”

Work made by APHIDS includes experimental work from funeral directors, Uber drivers, and Joe Dolce, singer of Shaddap You Face. Work has been presented at the Dromana Drive-In to a European nursing home, to the Opera House and the NGV. The Company also attracts overseas attention, last year touring performances to the USA and UK, and have previously presented in Japan, the Netherlands and India.

Highlights from 30 years of work include A Singular Phenomenon at the Malthouse Theatre. Stretching across five decades of personal, political and pop history, A Singular Phenomenon swerved between intimate revelation and global megalomania with over 100 community participants.

Gutful transformed the State Library of Melbourne with events full of unexpected snacks, drinks, performance and ideas. The piece responded to texts from the library’s collection fusing APHIDS’ future-focused politics with Long Prawn’s divergent food thinking.

A work in repertoire, Class Act will tour to the Sydney Opera House this August. In this performance, working class unfortunate Mish Grigor tells a personal story of the grotesque world of class and social mobility. APHIDS have created a hilarious and bombastic deconstruction of My Fair Lady – another example of their provocative programming.

APHIDS have won the prestigious City of Melbourne Arts and Events award, the Incinerator art prize for social change and the Finnish ANTI live art award.

An Evening of Performance II
Arrow on Swanston, 488 Swanston Street, Carlton
Performance: Friday 5 July 2024 (from 7.00pm)
Information and Bookings: www.aphids.net

Image: APHIDS – photo by Bryony Jackson