Editorial – RT72

New forms, connections, networks

RealTime 72 is rich in reports of new forms, new ways of engaging with audiences and of making new connections—between media platforms, between performance niches (as the contemporary performance touring network in Australia grows), and between nations at the Inbetween Time festival in Bristol.

John Bailey reports on recent performances in Melbourne that stretch form in new directions, making fascinating, sometimes challenging demands on their audiences (p41). As he outlines the D>Art.06 program, David Cranswick, director of Sydney’s dLux media arts, describes the blurring of media platforms and the flexibility of delivery therefore available to the makers of short films and animations (p26). Gridthiya Gaweewong, co-director of the Bangkok Experimental Film Festival tells David Teh about the festival’s innovative approach to programming and screening (p22). Karen Pearlman reviews the finalists of the 2006 ReelDance Awards for Best Australian & New Zealand Dance Film or Video, looking at the continuing challenge presented by the dance/film dynamic (p23). Jonathan Bollen (p32) and Chris Reid (p27) report from the Adelaide Festival of Arts on the impact of robotics integrated into dance and sculpture. Christy Dena attended the Digital Storytelling Conference at ACMI in Melbourne where the multiplying multimedia means of telling were in evidence, much of it online for you to follow up, with some impressive sites in Wales, Canada and the US (p28).

Contemporary performance in Australia has received a much needed boost from the establishment of the Mobile States touring consortium, Melbourne City Council’s Arts House and its Culture Lab program, Performing Lines’ continued support of innovative work, and the Sydney Opera House’s programs in The Studio and now in Adventures in the Dark. Adventures… offers a year-round international program of performance that will expand the local vision of what can be seen outside the usual arts festival context. There are now an increasing number of venues across Australia ready to take on contemporary performance and dance. Keith Gallasch surveys these developments on p38-39.

The invitation to run a review-writing workshop on hybrid art practices at the Inbetween Time festival allowed RealTime’s editors an excellent opportunity to see and discuss new British work, especially in the areas of Live Art, installation and digital media. Inbetween Time proved an idiosyncratic festival, offering audiences all kinds of access and engagement which they took up with enthusiasm (see full Inbetween Time online covereage), suggesting the direction that arts festivals of the future may well take.

Just as opportunities are slowly opening up for performance to tour Australia, cultural exchange between Britain and Australia looks set to expand. Performance Space and Arnolfini are playing a key role in this development through their Breathing Space program which this year featured Australian artists Monika Tichacek, John Gillies, Martin del Amo, Deborah Pollard in Bristol and at Breathing Space partners, The Green Room in Manchester and Tramway in Glasgow. Other Australian artists Lynette Wallworth, George Khut and Rosie Dennis were also featured in Inbetween Time.

The reciprocity evident in these exchanges is vital to their future. Wendy Blacklock, director of Performing Lines, believes it obligatory for the future of performing arts touring. D>Art.06 includes a focus on experimental film and video from the Middle East and also has invited filmmaker Akram Zaatari to the festival. By coincidence, Zaatari is one of the artists selected by director Charles Merewether for the Biennale of Sydney’s Zones of Contact, a great gathering of artists, many from the developing world.

Next

RealTime 73 will feature more from RealTime’s UK visit, including a report on the National Review of Live Art (NRLA) in Glasgow, FACT in Liverpool and Cornerhouse in Manchester. There’ll be a special focus on East London where we visited Rich Mix, a new centre for British-Asian art with a strong social agenda, and a re-vamped LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre), directed by Angharad Wynne Jones with a vision blending the local with the global. Both ventures reflect needs and conditions in the East End, and both are planning for intensive participation. In the same East End we visited the Live Art Agency and Artsadmin to discuss the unique roles they play in the nurturing and dispersal of contemporary art. RT

RealTime issue #72 April-May 2006 pg. 1

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1 April 2006