Melbourne’s newest major festival Now or Never kicks off today

Now-or-Never-Body-CrysisThe City of Melbourne’s newest digital art and future thinking festival, Now or Never, makes its debut across the City today.

Transforming the city with large-scale outdoor sculptural installations and projections, an immersive 360° pop-up dome cinema and a slew of boundary-breaking performances that explore the realm where technology and art converge, Now or Never showcases Melbourne as a place to discover, learn and play.

Running until 2 September, the blockbuster event brings together more than 300 local and internationally-renowned artists, composers, change-makers and innovators – with a vibrant program featuring 18 Australian premieres and 20 festival exclusive commissions.

More than 200,000 people are expected to fill venues and precincts across the city for the 17-day festival, and enjoy more 70 leftfield music performances, immersive digital art installations and daytime talks.

The inaugural Now or Never program takes audiences on a journey to the intersection of art, ideas, sound and technology, addressing the central questions of our future in the context of the present moment.

Now or Never is a new festival that will bring digital musings, adventurous performances and one-of-a-kind culinary experiences to Melbourne,” said Lord Mayor Sally Capp

“This inaugural festival is set to ignite Melbourne for 17 blockbuster festival days – bringing together more than 300 local and internationally-renowned artists, composers, change makers and innovators.”

“The debut festival’s cutting-edge program of free and ticketed events and experiences is expected to attract more than 200,000 people – boosting business for our city traders.”

“It’s the extraordinary, out-of-this-world addition to our bustling events calendar that you don’t want to miss. Melbourne, it’s Now or Never,” said the Lord Mayor.

Now or Never takes place across Melbourne from Thursday 17 August to Saturday 2 September. For more information and to explore the full program, visit: for details.

Image: Body Crysis – courtesy of Now or Never

Now or Never program highlights include:  

  • A larger-than-life Art Trail, curated by renowned art and technology organisation Experimenta, will ignite a 1.2-kilometre promenade in Docklands. The free, family-friendly outdoor exhibition will feature large-scale works by seven leading contemporary artists, with new works by Michaela Gleave, Jarra Karalinar Steel and Jon McCormack, alongside performances by Theatre of Thunder, an interactive installation by Georgie Pinn, and video works by Universal Everything (UK) and Justine Emard (Fr).

  • A giant pop-up dome coined the Neversphere will immerse audiences in a bustling program of film, projected across a 360° screen in the Melbourne Museum forecourt. Visitors are invited to recline on beanbags and gaze upon a larger-than-life program of films surrounded by ever-morphing artworks enveloping the geodesic dome.

  • The return of large-scale live music to the historic Royal Exhibition Building for the first time in 20 years, with a cutting-edge line-up of local artists and international headliners including an Australian exclusive by American singer, songwriter and producer Kelela; a unique sensory experience by English electronic duo Autechre, who will headline a night of live electronic music in complete darkness; and a shifting 3D audio-visual experience by British artist Max Cooper.

  • An exclusive world premiere of a new composition commissioned by Now or Never and Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS). In their second-ever staging, the MESS Synthesiser Orchestra under the guidance of the Melbourne/Narrm composer collective STATHIS//DAVEY//KIM, will combine historic machines from the MESS collection with the grand organ. Following this, Stockholm-based American composer Kali Malone will perform pieces from her critically acclaimed album, The Sacrificial Code, on the grand organ in an Australian first.

  • Body Crysis will perform a wild hybrid of live and digital art taking over ACMI after hours. Unfolding simultaneously in person and through an openly accessible online video game, characters in the digital realm take on shifting avatars modelled on the live dancers: they are free to explore, chat and experience the live performances in Taipei and Melbourne, streamed by video and motion-capture to the 3D space. Both performances will be accompanied by a live transmission of the incredible Taipei-based experimental rock group, PrairieWWWW.

  • A world premiere by Hungarian artist and 3D-mapping pioneer Laszlo Bordos, whose work has enveloped some of the world’s most renowned buildings, is bringing the Shrine of Remembrance into motion like never before. A series of sculptural illuminations and lighting projections will bring out the iconic architecture of the building, marking the 100th anniversary of the Shrine’s design competition. With an accompanying sonic landscape designed by Czech composer Ondrej Skála, the work will highlight the cultural significance of the Shrine as a place of commemoration.

  • Never Permanent, presented by the internationally acclaimed design festival, Semi Permanent – a one-of-a-kind series of talks and panels celebrating and exploring the rich intersection of creativity and technology in the modern world, headlined by Roman Coppola.

  • Over two epic nights of genre-bending and venue hopping, NONSTOP WKND is an all-access pass to experience the future of Melbourne/Narrm’s live and electronic music scene. More than 70 industry leading artists will perform across 13 unique shows at six iconic Melbourne venues, including the Toff, Miscellania, Max Watts, Sub Club, John Curtin and Section 8.