Bi­en­nale of Syd­ney

Be part of the ac­tion at Syd­ney’s pre­miere con­tem­po­rary art fes­ti­val with these six par­tic­i­pa­tory works.

Time Out (Sydney) - - ART - By Elissa Blake

MAMI KATAOKA, ARTIS­TIC di­rec­tor of the 21st Bi­en­nale of Syd­ney (March 16-June 11), en­joys par­tic­i­pa­tory art as much as any­one. But it has to be an ex­pe­ri­ence that is more than “one-off fun,” she says. “Of­ten, peo­ple see a par­tic­i­pa­tory work and as soon as they leave the mu­seum they for­get it. I need a lit­tle bit more than that.” Kataoka has pro­grammed im­mer­sive, large-scale, par­tic­i­pa­tion-driven art­works across the city. Here she takes you on a tour of the works in which you can get your hands dirty, raise the rafters with your voice and smack your frus­tra­tions out of the ball­park. And yes, there will be plenty to think about after­wards. 1 Marco Fusi­nato A mu­si­cian as well as an artist, Mel­bourne’s Marco Fusi­nato in­vites vis­i­tors to Car­riage­works to pick up a baseball bat and pum­mel a colos­sal white wall – just once. Mi­cro­phones em­bed­ded in the wall then trans­mit the vi­bra­tions to am­pli­fiers, which beef up the im­pact to a re­sound­ing 120db through­out the gallery space. “It’s an ex­tra­or­di­nary sound,” says Kataoka. “But what does it mean in an art space? To me, it’s like throw­ing a chunk of rock into the ocean. But it’s also an in­ter­est­ing metaphor for the anger and anx­i­ety ev­ery­one feels in con­tem­po­rary life. ” 245 Wil­son St, Eveleigh 2015. 2 Yas­min Smith Syd­ney-based ce­ram­i­cist Yas­min Smith will in­stall a large-scale par­tic­i­pa­tory work in what was once a tim­ber-dry­ing shed on Cock­a­too Is­land. It’s an am­bi­tious project in­volv­ing a kiln and a salt farm. Us­ing ma­te­ri­als gath­ered from the is­land and salt from the sur­round­ing wa­ter, Smith will cre­ate a for­est of ce­ramic tree branches. The public con­trib­utes by of­fer­ing their labour to the pro­duc­tion of clay ves­sels for salt har­vest­ing, Kataoka ex­plains. “I think ce­ram­ics is a very im­por­tant thing to un­der­stand be­cause it em­bod­ies so much hu­man his­tory and how we use nat­u­ral el­e­ments: earth and wa­ter made into some kind of form us­ing fire. It is how our civil­i­sa­tion was formed.” Cock­a­too Is­land, Syd­ney Har­bour 2039. 3 Ciara Phillips Cana­dian artist Ciara Phillips will es­tab­lish a work­ing print­mak­ing stu­dio at the Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art and will in­vite com­mu­nity groups to work along­side her to pro­duce new art­works. “It is look­ing at the na­ture of print­ing it­self,” Kataoka says. “Print­mak­ing is so im­por­tant in the his­tory of mul­ti­ply­ing im­ages and text and dis­tribut­ing them to the world … For Ciara, print­mak­ing is about giv­ing a voice to peo­ple and speak­ing out about some­thing.” à 140 Ge­orge St, The Rocks 2000. 4 Ja­cob Kirkegaard Dan­ish artist Ja­cob Kirkegaard’s 2013 work ‘Through the Wall’ asks view­ers to con­tem­plate both sides of the bar­rier sep­a­rat­ing Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans. “It is a wall built in the

MCA gallery space with sound con­tained in­side – sounds recorded from both sides of the wall in Pales­tine,” Kataoka says. “It’s an in­ter­est­ing idea, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing both sides of the wall. Nor­mally we see only one side.” Among the sounds are over­lap­ping con­ver­sa­tions, about is­sues in­clud­ing land own­er­ship and forms of gov­er­nance. 140 Ge­orge St, The Rocks 2000. 5 Oliver Beer Bri­tish-born and now Beirut-based per­for­mance artist Oliver Beer will set the Syd­ney Opera House ring­ing with one of his Res­o­nance Projects, a per­for­man­ce­in­stal­la­tion in which the hu­man voice is used to stim­u­late ar­chi­tec­tural spa­ces to re­sound at their nat­u­ral fre­quen­cies. “We wanted to go back to the Syd­ney Opera House be­cause

it’s where the Bi­en­nale started in 1973,” says Kataoka. “Oliver is one of those ge­nius peo­ple who can find a res­onat­ing tone of the space. It’s like ring­ing a wine glass. You can do the same thing with ar­chi­tec­ture.” The Res­o­nance Project will take place in one of the Opera House’s usu­ally in­ac­ces­si­ble-to-the-public ar­eas, and the per­for­mance lim­ited to the ten peo­ple in­vited to par­tic­i­pate. Ben­ne­long Point, Syd­ney 2000. 6 Akira Takayama In one case, the par­tic­i­pa­tory el­e­ment will have oc­curred long be­fore the art­work is shown. On Jan­uary 28, Ja­panese artist and film­maker Akira Takayama in­vited Syd­neysiders to sing songs to their an­ces­tors from a hanamichi, a wooden bridge tra­di­tion­ally part of a Kabuki theatre set. More than 70 peo­ple took part in the Syd­ney Town Hall event, singing in lan­guages in­clud­ing Gadi­gal, Yid­dish, Ara­bic and Dutch. “Akira says the ori­gin of Kabuki is re­lated to the im­mi­gra­tion of peo­ple to other com­mu­ni­ties,” Kataoka says. “We had close to 40 dif­fer­ent lan­guages. It is amaz­ing to see how di­verse the cul­ture is in Syd­ney, and it’s so beau­ti­ful how those cul­tures co­ex­ist.” The fin­ished work will be a film, The Syd­ney Kabuki Project, screened at 4A Cen­tre for

Con­tem­po­rary Asian Art in Hay­mar­ket. “It is an epic of the en­tire 20th cen­tury,” says Kataoka. “I like to think what we see in Akira’s work is a mi­cro­cosm of the his­tory of the whole world.” 181-187 Hay St, Hay­mar­ket 2000. www.bi­en­na­le­of­syd­ney.art. Mar 16-Jun 11.

Marco Fusi­nato ‘Con­stel­la­tions’

Ja­cob Kirkegaard ‘Through the Wall’

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