Wake Up – Next Wave Festival

Words by Tabi Jackson Gee

Photos by Andy Donohoe

Wake Up Party, Level 1 225 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

On Wednesday night I went to space. Actual space (well, kind of) and West Space – which plays host to the keynote project of this year’s Next Wave Festival. Wake up and wait for the sun to rise, 500 methods for a new beginning is the project, featuring work from five young art collectives who were asked to explore the theme The space between us wants to sing. The defining feature of their efforts is its relaxed proficiency for interaction and engagement – encouraging everyone to get involved. This is art at its most accessible and interactive.

Self-professed inventors Tully Arnot and Charles Dennington occupied a walk in think-tank, mixing cocktails for intellectual stimulus. Steps away Hossein Ghaemi and Claire Finneran brought religion to the dance floor, investigating the cathartic powers of partying. UK collaborative Lucky PDF were directing an impromptu recreation of Plato’s cave, via video call. Next door, a few people lingered in a living room on the set of Becoming Carol Brown, the 80s throwback brought to life by Victoria’s own Tape Projects.

The highlight was undoubtedly At the request of Carl Sagan, an improvised tour of space craftily composed by contemporary performers Applespiel. We set off on our inter-galactic adventure, carefully equipped with all the essentials – headphones, mp3 players, pencils and some stickers. This may not sound like much, but if you have the remotest interest in the Final Frontier, or perhaps just a penchant for obscure theatricals, this tour is highly recommended.

The combined effect of the work on show is casual and ad-lib, and you will probably leave slightly unsure of what you’ve just seen. But one things for certain – art, for these young collectives, is not meant to be finely tuned or didactic. If you don’t have plans this weekend, go and see for yourselves – the artists in residence will be there until Sunday. Check the website here.