Festival of Live Art reveals 2016 program

FOLA Saturday Sesh photo by Sean FennessyAfter the success of the inaugural Festival of Live Art in March 2014, Arts House, Theatre Works and Footscray Community Arts Centre will once again collaborate to captivate inner Melbourne for 13 days with over 50 surprising, participatory and interactive art experiences.

“After the success of the first Festival, we are thrilled to be able to curate another Festival in 2016,” says Daniel Clarke, Creative Producer Theatre Works. “The Festival of Live Art is for the adventurous audience member, those who like to be surprised and have their perceptions of live performance challenged.”

Designed for curious audiences of only one or two or several hundred, the second Festival of Live Art takes the lids off all the boxes, offering journeys both microscopic and epic, from the seats to the streets. Boundaries will be broken down, comfort zones will be breached and diversity (of forms, gender, sexuality and ability) will be celebrated in the real and the unreal world of the Festival of Live Art.

You might be in a theatre, a foyer, a private booth…or a hotel, or maybe a carwash. You could be watching, strolling, sharing a meal, becoming hysterical or drinking tea. You might be onstage – though there might not be a stage. There’s a work for 16 iPads, a phone App for a walking event with two people, a crocheted and knitted installation, a traditional and virtual tea room, ‘erotic dance’, and an invitation to undress and confess in a sound-proof booth.

There’s also a smartphone procedural thriller, a series of performances on a podium, one on one encounters in hotel rooms, the launch of a new fragrance with a complimentary dog wash, a complete smut auction and a contemporary art exchange between Thailand, Indonesia and Footscray Community Arts Centre.

“This year’s Festival of Live Art offers an exceptional array of works exploring the social, cultural and political questions of our time,” says Jade Lillie, CEO Footscray Community Arts Centre. “A highlight will be EXQUISITE featuring artists from across Australia and South East Asia exploring cultural diplomacy, reciprocity and creative collaboration. Join us for the Big Reveal and enjoy a sensory experience of visuals, sound, performance and exploration.”

And there is also a show performed live simultaneously in New York and Melbourne via Skype, a curated dinner, an immersive theatre party with dress ups, overheard private conversations made public, an encounter with neuro-diverse young people, an art-shop run by children, an exploration of the life, loves and legacy of painter Frida Kahlo and a travelling Flipbook ‘thumb cinema’ exhibition.

Local and international artists who have created work in  the 2016 program include: Tamara Saulwick, Luke George, Nicola Gunn and Nat Cursio, Yumi Umiumare, Leisa Shelton and Fragment 31, Sam Routledge, Triage Live Art Collective, Claire Cunningham, Aphids, Kate Hunter, Rully Shabara, Ahmarnya Price, Tamara Kirby & Kelly Ryall, Aseel Tayah and Black Hole Theatre Company.

The Festival of Live Art is an unflinching critique of our contemporary world: of the economy we make art in; of the misogyny spilling casually into social media; and the relationships we pursue with our digital devices sometimes at the expense of each other and the natural world. Adventurers, risk-takers and the just-plain-curious – lace up your comfy shoes (or high heels) and prepare to join in.

“The Festival, in its second biennial iteration, is a relative newcomer on the arts scene, but already, artists and people formerly known as the audience are wondering how we did without it for so long,” says Angharad Wynne-Jones, Artistic Director Arts House.

“If you want to see where political rage, the bleeding edge of experiential work, a delight in humour and an insatiable curiosity intersect, look no further. You want art that’s not afraid of anything? The Festival of Live Art will deliver.”

The 2016 Festival of Live Art runs 1 – 13 March. For more information, visit: www.fola.com.au for details.

Image: Saturday Sesh – photo by Sean Fennessy