Liveworks 2017: a celebration of experimental art and performance

Liveworks Christian Thompson Purified by Fire 2017A two week celebration of performance and cross-disciplinary art, Performance Space presents its most ambitious Liveworks at Carriageworks from 19 October 2017.

The 2017 program features an extraordinary calibre of Australian and international artists whose works engage with gender, the environment, queer and trans identities, sexuality, race, politics, Indigenous memory and land rights, and the future. Featuring three world premieres and six Australian premieres, this year’s festival boasts a dynamic and surprising lineup of cutting-edge works by leading artists from across Australia and the Asia Pacific.

Among the Liveworks highlights, esteemed Indigenous artist Dr Christian Thompson unveils a live performance titled Tree of Knowledge – a rich new performance work examining the complexities and possibilities of Aboriginal experience in a global world.

Renowned performance artist Agatha Gothe-Snape presents the Australian premiere of Rhetorical Chorus – her largest and most ambitious performance work to date which was specially commissioned for New York’s Performa Biennial (2015). In 2017, it is presented in partnership with Carriageworks and The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

Following rave reviews at Dark Mofo; Nat Randall showcases The Second Woman – a grueling 24-hour performance where the artist invites 100 male participants to perform a scene from the film Opening Night, and Justin Shoulder unveils the world premiere of his work Carrion – a post-human spectre that blurs the boundaries between animal, human and machine.

Osaka-based artist Tetsuya Umeda creates dynamic environments with architectural structures, sound and light in Ringo. His mesmerising and surprising performances produce intricate soundscapes and musical compositions through live experiments with everyday tools and scraps, re-purposed machines and electronics.

As we lose our memory, are we losing our history? How do we personally cope with political trauma or social upheaval? What stays within us, and what are the consequences of forgetting? This Here. Land is an exquisite new theatre work by LabAnino – investigating the turbulent histories of the Philippines and Australia, from colonisation to dictatorships, natural disasters and class warfare.

Performance Space’s much-loved Day for Night presented with Carriageworks and Mardi Gras also returns in 2017 and joins the Liveworks program for the first time. A celebration of queer performance and party culture, Day for Night will bring together a host of Australia’s finest queer artists, performers, DJs, musicians, and lovers in a glorious collision of club culture, contemporary art and new performance.

“I’m thrilled that this year’s Liveworks includes our biggest selection of works from the Asia Pacific region to date,” says Artistic Director Jeff Khan. “The artists hail from across Australia as well as Korea, Japan, New Zealand and the Philippines: we travelled the world to develop this festival and it was a joy to research the program and bring it together.”

“The works in this year’s Liveworks also bring fresh perspectives to some of the most urgent and pressing issues of our time: from the environmental destruction we are wreaking on our planet to our personal relationship to political turmoil; the shifting boundaries of gender, sexuality and power; and the role of art in the midst of all this chaos we are experiencing in the world at present.”

“I hope audiences dive into the program with curiosity and delight: I can’t wait to share this festival. The inclusion of Day for Night is also going to make for a huge closing weekend of the festival, placing this landmark celebration of queer art and culture at the heart of the festival’s final days.”

Liveworks 2017 runs 19 – 29 October. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: Christian Thompson, Purified by Fire, from the Lake Dolly series, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist