Performance Space presents Liveworks 2020: A reimagined festival of experimental art

Sue Healey's 'Live Action Relay'. Photo by Wendell Teodoro.
Sue Healey's 'Live Action Relay'. Photo by Wendell Teodoro.

Performance Space is thrilled to announce it will be returning with Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art in 2020. Exploring some of the most challenging issues of our complex times, Liveworks 2020 will be a reimagined festival in response to the uncertainty of the world around us. Blending live performance and digital events, and staged in a socially-distanced setting, artists have been forced to think outside the box. It has resulted in arguably the most inventive, thought-provoking and boundary-pushing Liveworks to-date. 

Moreblessing Maturure in Yana Taylor's 'Leading is Following is Leading'. Photo by Liz Ham.
Moreblessing Maturure in
Yana Taylor’s
‘Leading is Following is Leading’.
Photo by Liz Ham.

Running 21 to 25 October at Carriageworks, Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art will present new and intriguing developments in art by some of the most inventive artists of our time from Sydney and across Australia. The 2020 program has been re-configured to allow participants to celebrate the return of live performance and experience art in person at Carriageworks. However, about half of the program will also be devoted to online and digital gatherings to engage art lovers from across Australia and around the world. 

Artistic Director Jeff Khan believes there has never been a more important time to host a festival of experimental art. “Artists have always found inventive ways for us to gather together and reflect on the present, dream about alternative realities and consider the future. In this strange and suspended moment in history, when it seems impossible for any of us to know what the future holds, how else can we connect with each other and imagine new possibilities? It seemed urgent and important that we move ahead with a reshaped version of Liveworks this year to create a safe, welcoming and revitalizing space for audiences and communities to do these things together, and enable a deep-dive exploration into the biggest issues facing us all in the world today.’ 

Khan added, “Equally, we are also acutely aware that there are many artists whose worlds have collapsed due to the pandemic. They have had to reimagine the way they work and sometimes completely reinvent their arts practice. So, moving ahead with this festival was especially important for us to give those artists a platform to share their latest work and provide an audience for their innovation. That has always been integral to our workings at Performance Space, and it is more important than ever to provide that support to artists.” 

Carriageworks CEO Blair French said, “Supporting artists to deliver innovative performance work is central to Carriageworks’ mission. We are excited to again be partnering with resident company Performance Space to support experimentation in live performance, especially during a time when we have been starved of live experiences. We look forward to welcoming audiences to Liveworks in 2020 and are proud to be co-presenting Justin Shoulder’s AEON† and the return of annual festival favourite, Day for Night.”

'Why Risk Gathering', curated by Wesley Enoch. Photo by Liz Ham, commissioned by Performance Space.
‘Why Risk Gathering’,
curated by Wesley Enoch.
Photo by Liz Ham,
commissioned by Performance Space.

Since the first annual Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art in 2015, Performance Space has become an internationally recognised hub for Australian and Asia Pacific arts practice. This year’s team were faced with the challenges of social distance restrictions and forced to re-consider the framework of a festival. But Khan says the Liveworks team and their 2020 artists embraced the challenge to think outside the box. 

“We have had to completely reshape the festival format so people can gather safely in the current environment,” Khan explained. “But experimental artists are always about venturing into the unknown and finding new ways of doing things, so we have looked to our artists, drawn inspiration from their visions and worked through those challenges. Together, we have seen these restrictions as opportunities for creativity and experimentation and a complete re-think of the status quo when it comes to performance art and live art festivals.”

The 2020 festival program is divided into three streams. The first LIVE NOW comprises the full-scale experimental performance events, and exhibitions which will be either presented live at Carriageworks or streamed live online. The second two program streams will be presented both in-person at Carriageworks and streamed live online. LIVE FUTURES will feature exclusive panel discussions with a range of creatives diving into the important questions of the current time. LIVE DREAMS will present artists’ works-in-progress and sketches of new ideas to allow audiences to hear directly from artists as they explore new directions for their work, offering the public a chance to play a part in the creative process. 

For more information, visit performancespace.com.au

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