"Artists are brilliantly skilled at going, conceptually, metaphorically and often literally, where angels fear to tread," Angharad Wynne-Jones, Arts House Creative Producer.
Going Nowhere promises to be a fascinating three days of experimentation, iteration and conversation exploring some of the biggest challenges we face as a global unit today. Artists and audience come together in an international partnership (Going Nowhere is one event happening in both Melbourne and in Cambridge, UK) to tackle the question of climate change from the remarkably unique premise of how communities and audiences can sustainably generate international creative experiences without getting on a plane.
Wynne-Jones' view is that it should be no news to anyone that climate change is the biggest challenge facing us right now. "We are already feeling its impacts on the global economy, on food security and the increase in environmental refugees amongst many other impacts."
For Wynne-Jones the answer began with a question – " What could we do as artists and as an arts venue to contribute positively to our situation?" – and a unique experience was born. "We wanted to tackle the hairiest problem in terms of sustainable arts practice head on…and air travel is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions so we created a brief for 4 amazing, adventurous Australian artists to create performances in collaboration with artists on the other side of the world. Without anyone getting on a plane to make it happen. And without anyone buying any new “stuff”."
The aim is sustainability but challenges do and will arise. "Artists are brilliantly skilled at going, conceptually, metaphorically and often literally, where angels fear to tread. Nowhere is one of those places," says Wynne-Jones. "And not leaving town is particularly challenging for artists for whom being invited on an international work trip is seen as a sign of success and endorsement, when that recognition is probably not coming through their annual income."
"The artists have brilliantly embraced the challenge and after a process spanning 2 years have come up with an incredibly range of intimate experiences that address both the concept and methodology of Going Nowhere. From one on one audio tours to intimate dinner parties and surrogate performers the four projects are extraordinarily creative responses to a tough brief. Choose one or choose them all, you’ll be guided through some existential questions, some hilarious scenarios and some truly beautiful reflective moments ."
The concept re. allowing artists and audiences to engage in experiences and discussion about environment and sustainability is fascinating. There is, in the air, a positive sense of co-operation and willingness to 'go there' which is exciting. Wynne-Jones explains:" The premise of the work is based on the generosity of the artists to try new processes of collaboration, to not be present to their own works and of the audiences to be part of the exploration, to engage with the surrogates, to embrace the pinchgut aesthetic."
"Working against the grain can be hard but I think the relief of moving beyond an appeal to an aesthetic response which is so familiar to the way we have been inculcated to consume culture, to an experiential, co investigation with the artists and audiences is profoundly exciting and empowering for us all."
Wynne-Jones believes the relationship between artist, audience and sustainability important because within this co-operative spirit lies the real potential for change.
We need a seismic cultural shift to change the way we do EVERYTHING. And we need policy and laws to compel us to do it. Who better to create that cultural shift than artists, audiences and participants to reach beyond the everyday, the ordinary thought of what’s feasible and make the impossible possible."
Going Nowhere begins tomorrow and runs across the weekend. Wynne-Jones is excited by the possibilities as well as the sense of collaborative spirit the project brings. Limitations, she says, are great , and are the source of amazing creative possibilities – and that's exciting.
"We can connect across the planet, that the weather connects us all,(The People’s weather report)that the chance to dance together ( the bush bash barn dance on Saturday night ) and talk together ( The Everyday Imaginarium) is irresistible and to top it off, on Sunday we get to work with anyone who has an idea that could contribute to the cultural shift we need to make, we have an ideas improver day with a gaming design Harry Lee and TippingPoint Australia facilitator Matt Wicking ( Game On!). The perfect week end to go nowhere."
November 21 – November 23