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Signs of Life. Will Sydney, Perth and Adelaide’s summer festivals breathe new life into an over-tired, hyperactive, fuzzy formula? Relatively small, artform or theme-focused arts festivals (BIFEM, OzAsia, Next Wave, Dance Massive, Liveworks) offer cogency, communality and a sense of difference with works that collectively take you out of the ordinary. The gigantism of their large peers—international arts and fringe festivals—limits shared appreciation and buries significant works amid all too familiar festival fare. But much can be forgiven if an overarching sense of purpose—social, political and aesthetic, whether or not themed—is evident. From what we’ve learned (details in coming weeks) two of Australia’s forthcoming international arts festivals are showing the signs of life we yearn for. In the meantime, we have reports from idiosyncratic festivals in the Ruhr and Riga, reviews of distinctive works in this year’s Melbourne Fringe and previews of the much anticipated Liveworks—including Thunderhead (image above)—an artstorm about to break.

Keith and Virginia
LIVEWORKS: SOFTMACHINE         Artist, documenter, provocateur and trickster Choy Ka Fai tells Keith Gallasch about his collaboration with Chinese artists XioaKe x ZiHan, one of two works he’s presenting for Liveworks which reveal unfamiliar dimensions of Asian dance.
Tina Havelock Stevens tells Lauren Carroll Harris about her art and the giant storm she caught on camera from a car in rural Texas and which she will immersively reproduce onscreen with her own soundtrack in Performance Space’s Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art.
A FESTIVAL GROUNDED IN TRANSITIONAL SPACE      In the Ruhrtriennale, Jana Perkovic finds a festival that frames art in terms of the region in which it is staged. Featured works include Björn Bicker’s Urban Prayers Ruhr, Toneelgroep Amsterdam’s The things that pass and Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto.
Salamanca Moves
In theatres and on the streets, writes Lucy Hawthorne, Hobart’s Salamanca Moves dance festival hosts local, national and international dance artists who have audiences thinking, feasting, flocking and partying with shows that reflect on ageing, ability, ritual and “deepspace.”
Melbourne Fringe dance
THE BEAUTY OF BAFFLEMENT     In the Melbourne Fringe, Andrew Furhrmann discovers dance works by Nebahat Erpolat, Chad McLachlan and Zac Jones which defy literal interpretation, delighting audiences with degrees of sheer strangeness.
Melbourne Fringe performance
ANGLES ON UNSEXED PERSPECTIVES      John Bailey listens for gender in the voices that speak through performance in a trio of Melbourne Fringe productions from Ryan Good, Marcus Mackenzie and ‘bibliotherapist’ Anna Nalpantidis.
Open Fields
At the Open Fields RIXC Art & Science Festival in Riga, Sophea Lerner encounters speculative fictions and microbial collaborations that address the future of money, sex toys for plants, flies that print and personal responsibility for nuclear waste.
Follow us, and check out some photos from the Unconformity Festival in Queenstown, Tasmania, last weekend.

RealTime E-dttions are published by Open City an Incorporated Association in New South Wales. Open City Inc is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding body, and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy [VACS], an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments. RealTime’s Principal Technology Partner is the national communications carrier, Vertel.

Opinions published in RealTime are not necessarily those of the Editorial Team or the Publisher. 

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