Arts ‘reset’ on the agenda

More than 30 arts leaders, artists, writers, academics and policymakers from around Australia will speak at a two-day conference in Adelaide next month calling for “a bold new public agenda for the arts”.

Reset: A New Public Agenda for the Arts will be presented by the Arts Industry Council of South Australia (AICSA) and Reset (a collaborative group representing South Australia’s three universities) in the face of what organisers describe as the “undeniable crises” facing the sector.

Professor Justin O’Connor, from UniSA, says that instead of doubling down on economic arguments, the sector needs to “re-establish art and culture at the centre of our democracy and the public services required to meet the challenges of the decades ahead”.

“The conference puts forward ideas and discussions that are about resetting arts and cultural policy and advocacy – going beyond incremental tinkering to a far more bold, public, and progressive agenda.”

Daytime events will be presented at Flinders Victoria Square, with speakers including TV presenter and actor Julia Zemiro, shadow minister for the arts Tony Burke, Adelaide Writers’ Week director Jo Dyer, writers Ben Eltham and Andrew P Street, choreographer and incoming Australian Dance Theatre artistic director Daniel Riley, departing Adelaide Festival executive director Elaine Chia, writer and theatre-maker Alexis West, and artists Ali Baker and Elaine Crombie.

Artists, academics, activists and arts leaders are also invited to submit ideas (here) for a session called I’ll Take That as a Comment, which will feature seven-minute pitches for ways to transform the arts and cultural sector (the deadline for submissions is October 24). More details about the conference speakers, program and how to register can be found here.

Immerse yourself in this

Immersion: Screens will transport the audience to different animated environments.

A 360-degree animated show grounded in nature and presented in a purpose-built space will be the centrepiece of a new month-long event dubbed Immerse at West End hub Light.

Immerse event director Nathan Bazley says the show ­– called Immersion and created with visual effects artists, including creative director Adam Paschke ­– will take audiences on a 45-minute journey through time to discover how water has shaped the world.

“Visitors can interact with the show – throwing virtual paintballs over the city, controlling schools of fish with body movements, spotlighting animals in the dark Aussie bush or making plants come alive in an ancient rainforest,” Bazley says

Immersion will be presented from November 5-28 in a purpose-built space, Ellipse, on level one of the Light building in Light Square, with a 360-degree Dicolor LED display that stretches 13m by 8m in an oval shape and reaches up 4m high. It employs technology usually used in online games.

“Imagine virtual reality but shared with 39 other people and not a headset or controller in sight,” Bazley explains. “As you walk around the Ellipse, the screens will take you to different locations. These animated environments will look and feel like they stretch off in all directions – making you feel like you are right there in a huge open space.”

Immerse will take place from November 5-28 at Light, incorporating live performances in The Lab venue, installations, and what organisers describe as “augmented-reality enhanced” food and wine tasting experiences. The full program is online.

‘Salon of the Rejected’

The Salon des Refusés – dubbed the “alternative” Archibald and Wynne prize exhibition ­– is coming to Adelaide this month for the first time in its 30-year history.

Tania Wursig’s Chakita, a double portrait of couple Nikita Majajas and Charlie Villas, won the people’s choice award in the 2021 Salon des Refusés.

The exhibition will be presented at the David Roche Foundation House Museum in North Adelaide from October 9 until December 11, featuring more than 50 works chosen from among the hundreds of entries in the Archibald Prize for portraiture and Wynne Prize for landscape painting and figure sculpture that weren’t selected for display in the official exhibitions at the Art Gallery of NSW.

They include 2021 Archibald Prize entrants such as Craig Ruddy’s I’m Gulpilil – Portrait of David Gulpilil, Wendy Sharpe’s Taylor Fontaine & The Magda Szubanskis and Chris O’Doherty’s (aka Reg Mombassa) Self portrait with trunks and twigs. Wynne prize selections include works by Warren Crossett, Kathryn Ryan, Ann Thomson and Rhoda Tjitayi. (See the full list here.)

The original Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Rejected) was held in Paris in 1863, and the Australian version has been run annually since 1992 at Sydney’s National Trust SH Ervin Gallery.

“The Salon des Refusés exhibition follows in the renegade spirit and tradition of an alternative salon and allows debate on the evolving definitions of contemporary portraiture with art that guarantees to be witty, controversial and engaging,” says SH Ervin Gallery director Jane Watters.

Windmill to make TV debut

Beep and Mort producer Kaye Weeks, director Rosemary Myers and designer Jonathon Oxlade. Photo: Shane Reid

Production has begun in Adelaide on a new children’s television series inspired by Windmill Theatre Company’s award-winning show Beep.

Beep and Mort is the local company’s first foray into TV and is being produced with the ABC and Screen Australia, with support from the SA Film Corporation. Described as a mixed-media show for pre-schoolers, it revolves around two friends from different worlds and will premiere on ABC Kids in late 2022.

“Throughout the creative development of this series, we have drawn on our theatrical roots but also integrated new technologies,” director Rosemary Myers says of Beep and Mort, which is designed by regular Windmill collaborator Jonathon Oxlade.

“The result is a contemporary hybrid form of puppetry that blends hand and rod puppets with post-animated object puppets. In a screen landscape dominated by animation, we want to create a textured, built world that children feel they can almost step into and walk around in.”

According to SAFC CEO Kate Croser, it will be the first studio program for children made in South Australia for more than a decade.

Lighting up the laneway

New light-based artworks by emerging South Australian artist Anna Revesz are currently illuminating Produce Lane in the West End.

The works are from Revesz’s series Surrealism in the Dark and are said to “explore the idea of chance and how it may lead both artist and audience down unexpected paths, to surprising discoveries”. While the lightboxes (pictured) can be viewed any time, the projections can be seen nightly from 6pm-4am.

They are presented through the Produce Lane Initiative, part of the Hindley Street Improvement Plan, which is delivered through a partnership between TAFE SA, Adelaide College of Arts and City of Adelaide.

Anna Revesz, Surrealism in the Dark, 2021, installation view. Image courtesy the artist and City of Adelaide. Photo: Sarita Burnett

Green Room is a regular column for InReview, providing quick news for people interested, or involved, in South Australian arts and culture.

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