20th Biennale of Sydney announces public programs and highlight performances

Words by My Art Guides Editorial Team
February 15, 2016

The 20th Biennale of Sydney today announced details of selected performances and public programs presented around Sydney from 18 March until 5 June 2016, exploring themes in the exhibition curated by Artistic Director Stephanie Rosenthal and titled The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed. Visitors to Australia’s largest contemporary art event are invited to engage with the 20th Biennale through daily guided tours, artist and curator talks, lectures, performances, workshops, salons, reading groups and gatherings held across the seven venues, or “embassies of thought”.

Biennale Opening Night: the must have ticket in March. Presented on Friday 18 March on Cockatoo Island, Biennale Opening Night offers the unique opportunity to view the art after dark, with ambitious installations and amazing artworks lit for one night only. Guests will also be treated to a performance by boychild, a persona born on stage in San Francisco’s thriving queer club scene. Taking place within Korakrit Arunanondchai’s denim-clad installation, boychild’s dynamic performance, accompanied by a live percussive score, will recast her body as cyborg. Biennale Opening Night also features renowned Sydney DJs and live acts. Food and beverages will be available to purchase, with some of Sydney’s best food trucks on hand. Limited tickets are available for $35 per person.

Also on Cockatoo Island (Embassy of the Real) artist Justene Williams collaborates with Sydney Chamber Opera to present Victory Over the Sun; a radical revisiting of the legendary Futurist (anti-) opera first performed in St Petersburg, Russia in December 1913. The performance will be presented during the Biennale’s opening weekend from Friday, 18 until Sunday, 20 March. Limited tickets are available for $25 per person. On Sunday, 29 May Cockatoo Island will host an Internet Yami-Ichi – or internet black market – first presented in Tokyo by IDPW (a ‘secret society on the internet that goes back more than 100 years’). The Yami-Ichi is a physical space where people can buy and sell goods or services inspired by the world we experience online.

An ‘in-between’ project positioned on the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia forecourt, Richard Bell’s latest iteration of Embassy (2013-16) is a re-staging of and homage to the original Aboriginal Tent Embassy that was first assembled by activists on the lawn of Parliament House, Canberra, in 1972. Bell’s Embassy serves as the setting for a series of screenings and talks with special guests, including Gary Foley, Emory Douglas, Jenny Munro and Lyall Munro Jnr, presented from Thursday, 17 to Saturday, 19 March and Friday, 13 to Sunday, 15 May. Also at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (Embassy of Translation), two dancers and an arts writer have been ‘hired’ for Adam Linder’s Some Proximity – one of the artist’s ‘Choreographic Services’ that will take place daily between Saturday, 19 and Monday, 21 March.

At the Art Gallery of New South Wales (Embassy of Spirits), a month-long chain performance titled ghost telephone, curated by 20th Biennale attaché Adrian Heathfield, will feature a series of interlinked performances from internationally renowned artists, presented daily from Tuesday,15 March until Friday,15 April. Working in situ, performers will channel and transform the spirits of specially chosen art works currently on display. Adrian Heathfield will also present the Nick Waterlow OAM Memorial Lecture, “Spirited Affinities”, on Saturday, 19 March at 2.30 pm in the Gallery’s Domain Theatre.

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