Sa­cred spi­der fires up for Perth

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Tanya MacNaughton

AR­CA­DIA is the re­sult of a mu­tual de­sire by cre­ative di­rec­tor Pip Rush and tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Bert Cole to change the lin­ear, static en­vi­ron­ment of fes­ti­vals.

The Bris­tol-based team set about to fuse spec­ta­cle, tech­nol­ogy, sculp­ture, engi­neer­ing, ar­chi­tec­ture, adren­a­line and mu­sic; re­shap­ing the per­for­mance space into a 360-degree arena with fire at the centre and cre­at­ing a mul­ti­sen­sory im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence fea­tur­ing a 50-tonne spi­der built from re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als.

“The Spi­der ba­si­cally evolved out of a pre­vi­ous sculp­ture, the After­burner, un­til we re­alised we had a spi­der on our hands,” Rush said.

“That’s the thing about work­ing with re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als; you are both lim­ited and lib­er­ated by what you find. You may have one idea form­ing then find a piece of old ma­chin­ery and the whole plan changes as that brings fresh in­spi­ra­tion.

“It’s a very or­ganic process and feels like there’s real cre­ative give and take rather than just build­ing rigidly to spec.

“The two main break­throughs on the Spi­der were find­ing three cus­toms scan­ning units that worked per­fectly as legs and then re­al­is­ing the ad­di­tion of jet en­gines as eyes brought it to life as an or­gan­ism.”

Ar­ca­dia made its de­but at Glas­ton­bury Fes­ti­val and will travel to Aus­tralia for the first time ex­clu­sively to Perth with com­mu­nity open days on November 23 and 24, 18 years and older shows at El­iz­a­beth Quay on November 25 and 26 and an un­der­age (13-17 year olds) per­for­mance on November 27.

Rush said mu­sic was the heart­beat of the shows and it was im­por­tant to choose artists “whose sets we can get re­ally cre­ative with, ac­cen­tu­at­ing dra­matic mo­ments and build­ing sen­sory at­mo­spher­ics around the sound­scape”.

A sig­nif­i­cant as­pect to the Perth shows is the col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Wad­juk Nyun­gar/Peo­ple, with a union be­tween the Ar­ca­dia spi­der and the sa­cred Wad­juk spi­der of Gar­rgatup (Kings Park).

The per­for­mance will be by Barry McGuire and fam­ily, danc­ing the Yal­lorr Keenin­yarra which has not been per­formed in its tra­di­tional form to the WA pub­lic since 1901.

“We were deeply honoured and very touched when Barry came over to Glas­ton­bury this sum­mer and spent a week with us, dur­ing which he ex­tended a for­mal in­vi­ta­tion with a mes­sage stick cer­e­mony,” Rush said.

Spi­der might: Ar­ca­dia uses re­cy­cled mil­i­tary ma­te­ri­als to make the arach­nid.

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