This Is Not Art Festival Sneak Peek

Now in it’s 10th year of operations, This Is Not Art festival is putting out all the stops in celebration of a decade’s worth of artistic mayhem and madness. With things set to get underway this Thursday the 1st of October I figured the time was ripe for me to give you a bit of a rundown on what not to miss…

A supercharged convergence of writers, performers, independent musicians, creative researchers, electronic artists, dilettantes and DIY culture makers in a showcase featuring over 400 local, national and international artists, This Is Not Art has long held a reputation amongst those in the know as not only one of our nation’s premier exhibitions of intersecting and challenging artists across a wide range of fields, but also as one of the best long weekend long parties on the national calendar.

This year looks ever crazier with the organisers inviting a new collaborative to the line up – Crack Theatre Festival – who join Critical Animals, Electrofringe, National Young Writers Festival and Sound Summit in filling your October long weekend full of inspiring, emerging and energetic art, music and media.

On the Thursday, you’ll be eased into the festival at Canoe Pool next to Newcastle Baths with Biographical Bathing: two contrasting expressions of place and memory on a journey into the auto/biography of thought. Poet Lou Smith (VIC) retraces her family genealogy through poetry, while writer and sound artist Penny Duff (USA) considers the soundscape with the ears of an outsider. Punters will then set off for the official opening night party at the brand new and amazing Festival Club.

If music is more your thing, then you’re in for a treat as the festival will play host to the raw pop collages of Ducktails (US); the lovable skuzzy surf punk of the Vivian Girls (US); DJ Ripley – a Cali based DJ/ academic just back from Jamaica; Susan Gray and the Katies – fresh faced and fashioned up direct from the sales in Melbourne; The Burning Brow (QLD); Bum Creek (VIC); and one super fine 1920s style ʻbig bandʼ!

Note be sure to see Bum Creek, they put on a show to say the least.

Standout artists and presenters on this yearʼs program include: Lawrence Leung (VIC – “Lawrence Leung’s Choose Your Own Adventure” for ABC TV); Margo Lanagan (NSW); and Marieke Hardy (NSW – Triple J Breakfast Show).

Locally the festival will be showcasing the finest independent and innovative artists, including a host of visual artists in the China Club Arts Hub, Kira Peru and the Very Geordie Malones, a Zombie Pride March (!) and Scream Screen with the best of local horror film shorts. This year also sees Sound Summit teaming up with New Weird Australia to explore the spaces of Renew Newcastle and fill the Festival Club with the sounds of a new breed of Australian musicians.

Somewhere amidst the noise of whooshing planes and the percussive drive of workshop-constructed beauties, you will find three sound artists performing for the Electro-Performance Evening. Settle in for the calm before the storm, as Christian Haines pays homage via mobile phone interface and Pimmon presents lush electronics in a rare intimate setting in Quiet Appreciation.

This year includes so many amazing visual arts pieces that organisers are now filling the cupboards and kitchen space of the Arts Hub! John Kilduff, the host and genius behind the art damaged Los Angeles public access program “Letʼs Paint TV”, will be joining the festivities in the Arts Hub and performing inside a glass walled room for your entertainment. There will also be a range of exhibitions at TAFE Front Room Gallery, John Paynter Gallery, Podspace Gallery, Loop Space, Newcastle Arts Space, the Masons, a variety of shopfronts, and a range of installations in Civic Park.

Crack Theatre Festival will keep you on the edge of your seat in it’s first year as an independent entity within This Is Not Art, with performances by gypsy cabaret outfit Mr Fibby, dance and video installation performances from The DeConvertors, joyous multimedia mash-ups courtesy of The Masters of Space and Time, dance battle collective the Sensitive New Age Gang and many more.

There will be one-on-one performances in an inflatable booth, a series of short sharp performances to satisfy your short attention span, and the grand finale of the “theatrically different” Playground: a one-day open event in which participants work together to devise, rehearse and perform an original piece of theatre. The end result will be a multi-faceted ‘chaos entertainment’ in the vein of 1960s happenings or the Merry Pranksters’ Acid Tests.

“We have spent the past 8 months putting together this program, and it is really exciting to be on the brink of launching it!” says Festival Coordinator Angelica Clunes. “I think there are some really exciting and innovative new events, along with all the old favourites. It is exciting to have the opportunity to expand and create in some of the new spaces we have secured for this year. Wait till you see the new Festival Club, and the China Club Arts Hub is phenomenal, not to mention our new ʻghetto-tasticʼ Sunday Fair location! It really is shaping up to be one hell of a ride!”

This Is Not Art 01 – 05 October 2009: Newcastle: NSW: Get on your bike and join the ride before it’s too late.

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