Interrogating how live Australian performance can be co-created with residencies, research and presentations as they seek to understand, stretch and respond to our digital existence and experience, BLEED (Biennial Live Event in the Everyday Digital) is a new ten-week digital festival presented away from gatherings in auditoriums and conceived pre-COVID-19 by Arts House (Melbourne) and Campbelltown Arts Centre (Sydney).
Arts House Artistic Director, Emily Sexton, explains that our lives are saturated with digital possibilities and engagement, “We live in an intimate digital world. A virtual co-presence is a normal part of our every day,” she said
Technology is not neutral – it has motives and is influential. BLEED asks how does the online affect us? By examining the relationship and engagement between an artist and their audience in a digital context, BLEED will also look at how it actually feels to experience live digital interactions and performances.
Accessed via any device through the BLEED website, the festival program will be available at scheduled times or live-streamed, providing different opportunities for audiences to watch, listen, read, think and feel their way through the strangeness of their IRL and URL existence.
Campbelltown Arts Centre Director, Michael Dagostino, explains the concept of BLEED has been in development for almost two years and despite its digital focus, it’s not a response to COVID-19, “At its core, BLEED is anchored by collaboration between organisations and artists finding new ways to work together,” he said.
“It’s no surprise that the environment that artists present their work has changed dramatically over the last three months online. But how does the online feel and does this feeling inevitably seep into our everyday?” asks Dagostino.
BLEED offers five new art commissions that will drop every two weeks:
Hannah Brontë – mi$$-Eupnea asks you to take stock of the state of your own breath before inviting you to breathe with Country. Layering rich and evocative natural imagery and weaving sonic tapestries to visceral effect, mi$$-Eupnea will recalibrate your brain and plug you back into your world.
Alex Kelly & David Pledger – Assembly for the Future is part-performance, part-installation, part-interview and includes a series of futuring workshops, essays and podcasts by key thinkers reflecting back on a time from 2030. Guests including Claire Coleman, Scott Ludlam, Alice Wong, Santilla Chingaipe and Anne Manne will each aid us in collectively imagining better worlds.
James Nguyen & Victoria Pham – RE:SOUNDING digitally recreates a traditional 2000 year old Vietnamese rain drum for people to download and play. Hear master percussionists tease out the nuances of this fascinating instrument with its elaborate decorations in two exclusive streamed performances, discover the diasporic stories of displacement and deep research behind the project and weave your own songs from a library of digitised interactive sounds.
Angela Goh & Su Yu Hsin – Paeonia Drive includes dance performance, video installation and GIF artworks to investigate digital anxiety created by surveillance, data policing and image manipulation. A place based research project, it delves into The Garden as a metaphor for the organisation and control of nature, bodies, and power.
Lilian Steiner & Emile Zile – Becoming the Icon is a live theatrical online streaming event that charts the contemporary nature of political communication, gesture, voice and physical movement. As debate and propaganda, intimidation and manipulation are all played out through posture, stance and gesture, the secret vocabulary of power is made apparent. Both intimate and distanced, Becoming The Icon invites you into a seductive realm with a hidden agenda.
Driven by collaboration, the creation of BLEED was researched and developed by a group of experts who worked closely with the curatorial team and each artist to provide a rationale voice to unpack the potential narrative as well as other key technical and theoretical advice.
The BLEED reference group includes a team of artists, producers and thought leaders, including Dan Koerner of Sandpit Digital, Joel Spring of Future Method, Miyuki Jokiranta and Akil Ahamat.
As well as the featured artists, the BLEED ECHO program will incorporate different thinking and perspectives on the role of art in a digital existence through live-streamed talks as well as commissioned essays and podcasts from independent online publications: Witness Performance and Running Dog.
BLEED is a collective curation of digital live performances in a free space that examines how the internet feels as well as considering how we connect together online and continues to 30 August 2020. For more information, visit: www.bleedonline.net for details.
Image: Becoming the Icon – photo by James Wright