The Lepidopters: A Space Opera

The Lepidopters A Space OperaA cultural mash up where science meets cross-arts mavericks! A trailblazing choir, a concert pianist, a pop-star mezzo-soprano, a punk band with just-intonation ‘gyrostatic’ guitars, noise machines, video installation, an automated gamelan and analogue electronics.

Slave Pianos will join the 40-member Astra choir under the musical direction of John McCaughey, Yogyakarta mystic punk-art collective Punkasila, Indonesian singer/dancer Rachel Saraswati and virtuoso pianist Michael Kieran Harvey to present The Lepidopters: A Space Opera.

A kulturnautic expedition defying the sovereign borders of visual arts and music, The Lepidopters: A Space Opera responds to a commissioned text by sci-fi writer Mark von Schlegell, in which alien moths invade the Indonesian archipelago with the aim of colonising Earth through inter-species reproduction.

Including projected illustrations and film by Yogyakarta artists Erwan ‘Iwank’ Hersi Susanto and Terra Bajraghosa, this multi-art-form concert draws on the work of Robert Smithson to explore sonic landscapes and dystopian visions, Indonesian telepathy, ancient Javanese mysticism and art practices both traditional and modern.

Central to the staging of The Lepidopters: A Space Opera is the Sedulur Gamelan created by Slave Pianos (recently on display in the Melbourne Now exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria) – a self-governing electromechanical ‘piano’ that houses 56 traditional Gamelan instruments from Yogyakarta that perform transcriptions of Indonesian, American and Australian experimental music and avant-garde sound-art of the 1970s and 1980s.

The Lepidopters: A Space Opera
Arts House, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne
Season: 12 – 13 April 2014
Bookings: (03) 9322 3713 or online at:

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: by Selina Ou (NGV)