A Curators' Guide to RISING 2022
Some program ideas from the people deepest in it—RISING's 2022 curators.
To help you navigate the RISING program, we're taking you straight to the source—the festival’s curatorial team. Read on for their personal hot picks, slow releases and hidden jewels.
Gideon Obarzanek, Co-Artistic Director
"Mette Ingvartsen is so captivating and charming, by the time you realise the shocking subject matter she is talking about and demonstrating, you have become a complicit voyeur. Not able to unsee or forget."
"This is one of the best dance-theatre shows I have seen in the last few years. And the fact that it’s about a burning Australian issue is a double bonus. Tough, unflinching and very moving, this show is going to tour the world so catch it here while you can."
"I have been looking forward to presenting this work in Australia for three years! Directed by Uruguayan choreographer, Tamara Cubas, Multitud is an incredible performance of collective action by 70 participants from all different backgrounds from around Melbourne. Only two nights at the Melbourne Town Hall."
"Rianto is an incredible Indonesian performer not often seen in Australia. In Hijra'h, ancient ritual dance informs the present. Witnessing Rianto’s show is mesmerising, a journey from the mundane into an ecstatic sense of otherness."
Hannah Fox, Co-Artistic Director
"Through the Looking Glass is one of the greatest minimalist albums of all time (if you’ve never heard it, turn off the lights and listen loud) and Midori’s performances are highly physical percussive sonic worlds. She is brilliant to watch—precise, graceful, and mesmeric."
Still Lives : Melbourne
"This is one of the many works we commissioned as part of A Call to Artists back in 2020. Luke George and Daniel Kok’s performance works are thoughtful and gentle investigations into social relations, queer perspectives, and in this case, Melbourne’s obsession with and connection to football. I loved this idea immediately and the work has grown into something quite grand, generous, and emblematic of a moment in time which is what festivals should be all about."
"Northside Records owner Chris Gill first described Heavy Congress to me as Carl Cox in a helicopter firing up a monolithic stone henge of speaker stacks in a baptism of bass fire. This aspirational description is not exactly how it turned out but that’s the spirit of it. It’s going to be huge and so exciting to see so many different soundsystem crews and communities coming together in an all-day-and-night festival of low frequencies."
Kimberley Moulton, Artistic Associate
wurukur djuanduk balag—Ancestors Are Calling
"This work is part of an iterative project I developed called MOVING OBJECTS. It looks at the meeting point of museum collections and First Peoples contemporary expression—and the transformative potential of artists responding to these spaces and histories.
"Working with Dr Lou Bennett AM on responding to the collection at Melbourne Museum from her Dja Dja Wurrung Ancestors has been a really special project to connect to. Not only has Lou engaged and restored the spirit of these objects, but she has also created an incredible musical performance to communicate this experience.
"It shows the strength and love and the continuation of cultural bonds. And also a deep reflection on the importance of community-led connections to Ancestral belongings and the colonial institutions that hold them.
Single Channel Video
"I love the concept of this work by Back To Back Theatre. Perhaps my first attraction was the museum/curator nerd in me and my connection to objects and the energy they hold. Back To Back Theatre continue to create important works, and right now, the idea of what means something to us—whether that be through people or things—is pertinent.
"The last few years have shifted what is important and for many, the people in our lives and the memories of our loved ones and happy times are central to this. Objects trigger memories and nostalgia (or sometimes just curiosity for the wonderful and weird), but they are important because they link us to people, to history and to belonging. I'm looking forward to entering this world where the performers share these stories and 'treasures'. It will be a special thing."
Woody McDonald, Artistic Associate—Music
"The Ana Roxanne album was my most played in 2020. It was a grim time and this record was the soothing soundtrack I needed. It’s almost like a singer-songwriter record but using electronic/ambient aesthetics. YL Hooi and Wilson Tanner give the bill a 'Monsters of Ambient' vibe."
"The Double is Jim White and Emmett Kelly. It’s part of Jim White's residency. Emmett Kelly is a songwriting genius but The Double is a guitar and drums hypno-beat psychosis—a new style of dance music. They pair with choreographer and dancer Jo Lloyd in what is sure to be something pretty wild!"
Chai and Buffalo Daughter
"As part of Japan in Focus. CHAI are from Nagoya. They defy genre but it has a bubblegum electro-feel to it. Their albums are called PINK, PUNK and WINK and have track titles like 'Donuts mind if I do' and 'maybe chocolate chips'.
"Buffalo Daughter are legends who came about in the '90s Tokyo scene. A lot of listeners associate them with the record store district in Tokyo—Shibuya—because they have such an unpredictable set of influences."
Grace Herbert, Artistic Associate
"I’m going to sort of cheat and pick the entirety of Golden Square. But I’m picking this because it’s such an unusual venue with a sort of absurd and beautiful menagerie of visual art and performance works. We have Su Hui Yu’s The White Waters here, which is an incredibly striking and dynamic performance work from Taiwan, originally commissioned for Performa in New York—essentially the queering of an old Chinese folk tale.
"Golden Square is also home to Paul Yore’s giant architectural faux megachurch and a somewhat absurd, loud, and poppy video work from Berlin-based video artist Guan Xiao—plus many visual art works and performances. And another work we are lucky to have, Jenny Holzer’s I CONJURE, just across the road at QVWC."
8/8/8 : WORK
"8/8/8: WORK by Harriet Gillies and Marcus McKenzie is another pick of mine. School House Studios in Coburg is an interesting space and community-led organisation that used to be a giant Coles supermarket. The work will be absolutely at home here; an absurd durational performance, examining the 8-hour workweek and office life with a lot of humour and critical reflection. I think worth the 8-hour commitment!"
"My third pick is Moses Sumney. Because I love them."