New media, nightlife in the museum

RealTime

Joe Berger, still from Covert

Joe Berger, still from Covert

Friday nights in February in Canberra, The National Museum of Australia will be the place to be from 7.30pm till midnight as the Museum hosts Sky Lounge, a unique showcase of Australian and international animation, DJs, VJs, electronica, multimedia and graffiti art.

Sky Lounge gives young artists a chance to share their work in a spectacular venue with a national profile and provides young Canberra audiences with greater access to some cutting edge urban culture. It’s also an innovative venture for a museum more usually frequented by an older or family audience. Let’s hope it’s the first of many, with copycats in the form of other nocturnal events in museums and galleries across the country.

Each program combines live performances by some of Australia’s top electronic artists and DJs with animated films on the big and sky screens, projected art, multimedia interactives and graffiti.

Malcolm Turner (Animation Posse) has assembled No future, no past…only present, a collection of 50 animated films from young international filmmakers including work from the Amateur Developers Handbook; Tout Va Tres Bien, a unique take on 3D imaging from France’s Soo-Mi Sung; “cool music, cool tools and cool ideas” in S-Crash by Lindsay Cox and Victor Holder (Australia); Drawing the War, a kerbside view of urban warfare by Lena Merhej (Lebanon); and Pandorama “a camera-less film” by Nina Paley (US).

Visual artist, curator and writer David Sequiera has gathered his Future Projections from well-known as well as emerging multimedia artists. Images by Anne Zahalka, Mark Kimber, John Nicholson, Matthew Higgins, Mike Parr, Anne McDonald, Justin Andrews and David Stephenson will be projected onto the walls of the White Cube in the Garden of Australian Dreams. ANU’s Australian Centre for Arts and Technology is putting together an interactive artwork using multimedia created by students.

You can watch the walls of the White Cube further transformed by some of Canberra’s best graffiti artists (Sinch, Kiosk, Atune) whose work will morph and evolve over the 4 weeks of Sky Lounge. And if you’ve got a minute, you can design futuristic vehicles and buildings and see your creations come to life in a 3D theatre in Futureworld.

Seb Chan from the seminal Sub Bass Snarl curated the Hip Hop program which includes The New Pollutants from Adelaide specialising in “a mish-mash of 8-bit hiphop, beat-driven electronica, funk-laden breaks and dark-themed soundtracks for 80s computer games and film scores” and hiphop with “Australian flava” from Sydney’s The Herd.

Two other Sydney bands put in an appearance: Prop combine minimalism, jazz, funk, trance, dub, techno, classical and groove; Katalyst draw influences from hiphop, funk, soul, soundtracks and jazz. Local hiphop act Koolism is also on the bill along with Toby 1 from Adelaide, self-professed makers of “the laptop rock of the future, creating tracks and processing vocals and instruments in real time.” International guests include DJ Scanner and Tipper (UK) and Andrew Pekler (Germany).

The programs are organised into themes (Retro Future, February 7; Beauty, Feb 14; Hip Hop, Feb 21; and Abstract, Feb 28). The artists are different each night but every program has a mix of live electronic music, film and projection. So choose your vibe or go for the lot. After suffering all that smoke, Canberra deserves a Sky Lounge. RT

Sky Lounge, National Museum of Australia Feb 7, 14, 21 & 28.

RealTime issue #53 Feb-March 2003 pg. 29

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1 February 2003