Next Wave Festival announces 2014 program

Carly Sheppard_by Gregory LorenzuttiCelebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014, the endless possibilities of tomorrow are set to unfold in Melbourne as part of Next Wave Festival 2014.

Occurring every two years, the city-wide, month-long celebration of cutting-edge arts and culture from around Australia and the globe, features a tightly curated selection of the most ambitious, risky and surprising new art, including performance, dance, visual art, sound art – and ideas impossible to categorise.

The 2014 Festival spans 28 days and features the work of 239 artists in an exciting and experimental season of never-before-seen art projects that have been created especially for the Festival and will enliven Melbourne’s theatres, galleries, laneways, beaches, rivers, the side of Trades Hall, gardens, private homes and bathrooms.

“Our theme for Next Wave Festival 2014 is a rallying call,” said Emily Sexton, Next Wave Artistic Director.  “We seek a New Grand Narrative. Or new grand narratives.

“Many institutions that operated throughout the 20th century are cracking, experiencing repeated challenges as to their relevance for modern life. From newspapers to marriage, or a two-party political system, or our relationship to the planet and animals – or even the constitution itself, which still does not equally acknowledge our Aboriginal peoples.”

“These institutions have deep, deep flaws, and in this time of transition – to what, we don’t know – we offer this festival and these artists, as a series of potent visions for a new world, and the relationships within it. The people in the margins – the outliers and the eccentrics – will lead us towards a better tomorrow.”

The Next Wave Festival’s 2014 keynote initiative is Blak Wave – featuring seven new art projects, a thought-provoking talk series and a new 80-page publication exploring what’s personally, politically and artistically ‘next’ for Australia’s Indigenous peoples.

Blak Wave highlights the contemporary Indigenous experience with a season of cutting-edge, inspiring and provocative art projects ranging from visual arts to performance and dance, including a beautiful choreographic work inspired by the four seasonal winds of the Torres Strait and a 3D virtual reality app for iPhones that re-creates pastoral Melbourne.

The Festival’s 2014 International Program reveals the forefront of contemporary arts from around the world. From Syria to the Philippines, Toronto to Berlin, Singapore to Belgium, London to New Mexico, USA: the 2014 Next Wave artists have explored all corners of the globe, unearthing the most critical of stories and ideas. Carefully selected by Emily Sexton, the International Program comprises five international commissions from artists Tania El Khoury, Deborah Pearson, New Heroes, Sipat Lawin Ensemble and Sarah Jane Norman.

From 30 April – 14 May 2014, Shebeen will transform into the Next Wave Festival Club. Open from 11am to 3am every day, it will be a place for artists and audiences to gather, re-fuel and share Festival experiences day and night, hosting a mix of paid and free programming including live music, DJs, performances and screenings.

The festival will culminate on 3 – 4 May and 10 – 11 May with two all-out massive, immersive weekends of new art adventures that span from breakfast to dancefloor. A safari tour of the art world, audiences will join a raft of like-minded Festival goers and experience a carefully curated full-day program.

Turning inwards, Next Wave Festival 2014 concludes with reflection as 150 national and international delegates gather for the first-ever IETM Satellite Meeting in Melbourne on 12 – 14 May. The leading international network for the contemporary performing arts, IETM has over 500 members in 50 countries and meet twice annually in Europe as well as holding satellite meetings around the world in regions of strategic and artistic importance.

In honour of their 30th birthday, Next Wave is calling out for geo-located images, audio and written ‘Next Wave memories’ from past festivals. These crowd-sourced memories will be mapped throughout the city for app users to discover as they make their way through the festival.

“Our 2014 Festival, New Grand Narrative has been curated as story with a beginning, middle, climax and end,” says Sexton.

“In this way, Next Wave Festival allows you to stretch out and take your time to think about things over four weeks, or have it all crash together in one weekend of madness. We think social experiences are vital to our experience of contemporary art.”

Founded in 1984, Next Wave is Australia’s leading organisation for emerging artists, presenting highly sought-after development programs that culminate in a curated biennial experimental arts festival.

An incomparable platform for new and emerging artists Next Wave Festival has featured notable alumni such as painter Adam Cullen, sculptor Patricia Piccinini, Indigenous visual artist Bindi Cole, theatre ensemble post, and comedy music theatre troupe The Suitcase Royale.

The 2014 Next Wave Festival runs from 16 April – 11 May. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: Carly Sheppard in White Face -photo by Gregory Lorenzutti