Editorial RT70

Interesting times…seditious times

As we go to print the Anti-Terrorist Bill, Sedition clause and all, is about to be passed by the Senate of the Federal Parliament. Even with a few limiting provisos and promises of re-evaluation in 2006, its implementation is a fearsome prospect. We all know that once legislation is passed it’s incredibly difficult to reverse. Paired with the draconian Industrial Relations legislation, the world looks set to pass from conservative fantasy to appalling reality. Our cover, courtesy of activist artist Deborah Kelly, responds to one dimension of this new reality; the incursion of literalist religious beliefs and values into many areas of our political, cultural and social life.

The festival selection: Adelaide, Sydney

There’s not a lot to celebrate at the moment, but the arts festivals are coming on with their inexorable marketing and cultural goodwill. If you could gather the most interesting works from Adelaide and Sydney, you could put together a very fine arts festival, but neither is exceptional in itself. The feeling is distinctly mid 90s. That said, there are more than a handful of works of the moment in each that will draw audiences eager, ever desperate to be challenged.

The Adelaide Festival, for example, has 3 works that comprise a mini-robotics event. The photograph to your right is of Inflatable Bodies by American artist Chico MacMurtrie and the Amorphic Robot Works. Showing at the Experimental Art Foundation, its inflated, mobile arterial trunks will reach and squirm across the floor and up to the ceiling. In dance, ADT will collaborate with Montreal roboticist Louis-Philippe Demers and UK video artist Gina Czarnecki, while Wayne McGregors’ Random Dance (UK) are working with with Jim Henson’s animatronics workshop, lighting architect Lucy Carter and video artist Ravid Deepres. For details about these works see RealTime 71 (Feb-March 2006).

Other works on the Adelaide program that attract are Video Venice (6 of the best from the 2005 Venice Biennale); Callum Morton & David Pledger’s Walk-in, Drive-in theatre/sculpture/cinema/installation hybrid; Lisa Lim’s As Night Softly Falls, a rich program of musics from around the world, but not World Music; parallelo’s long anticipated collaboration with Argentinian artists in Lontano Blu; David Byrne in several manifestations including a collaboration with Fatboy Slim with Imelda Marcos as their subject; Mick Gruchy’s visual response to a concert performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony no.8, the ‘Leningrad’; the always inspiring William Forsythe and his company; and the up-very-close and dynamic Stau from Netherlands choroeographer Anouk Van Dijk.

The Sydney Festival has just enough offerings to keep us on our toes: Sylvie Guillem; Robert Lepage’s one-man multimedia The Andersen Project; the superb Tony Oursler’s spooky “psycho landscape”, Blue Invasion (NY, free in Sydney’s Hyde Park); Antony (the star of last year’s Leonard Cohen celebration) and the Johnsons; Urban Theatre Projects’ backyard performance, Back Home; big hART’s Stickybricks, with the inhabitants of Surry Hills; surreal physical-cum-dance theatre from Australia’s Splinter Group in Lawn; Shirin Neshrat, the wonderful Iranian-American photographer and video artist; and eccentric sculptor Erwin Wurm in Glue Your Brain at the MCA.

Best wishes for 2006

2006 could be a challenging year as the new laws of the land begin to impinge on people’s lives. Artists will, as ever, strive to speak freely, through their art and in public discussion. So will RealTime.

Thanks for support go to our contributing editors and writers, advertisers, funding bodies, subscribers and, above all, our many readers right across Australia. We’ve really enjoyed reaching out to an increasing number of regional centres in 2004-05 (Townsville and Newcastle in this edition) as well as growing our international coverage (South Africa on these pages). In February 2006, we’ll be in Bristol as guests of the the Arnolfini artspace’s InBetween Time festival. While there we’ll run a workshop on writing about hybrid practices and report to you online about the remarkable works we’ll be witnessing.

We wish you well for 2006 in whatever you do, especially in the making and enjoyment of art.

Keith, Virginia, Gail

RealTime issue #70 Dec-Jan 2005 pg. 1

© RealTime ; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 December 2005