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01 Dec 2014

RealTime reviews Asia-Australia arts festivals


At culture360 we like to inform our readers about festivals and other arts events in Asia and Europe - but we know it is usually impossible to actually be there!  Catch up with this series of reviews from Australia's RealTime arts magazine of some of the major Asia-Europe festival events in Australia this year - sit back and enjoy.

In Cultural syntheses: north-south, east-west, Nicola Fearn reviews the 2014 Darwin Festival:
Two productions in the 2014 Darwin Festival reviewed here involve distinctive collaborations between Australian and Asian artists, exploring fusions of traditional and contemporary cultural practices. With Asia as northern Australia’s nearest neighbour and being closer to Darwin than other Australian cities, this kind of exchange is becoming more common, with artists engaging in longer-term and ongoing projects.
100% Darwin

Held in the amphitheatre in Darwin’s tropical Botanic Gardens, 100% Darwin is a surprisingly moving, community-building experience. Germany’s Rimini Protokoll have created 100% cities since 2008 starting with Berlin, then 20 other cities around the world. They work with 100 locals with the aim of “performing the diversity” of each city. [...]
Book of Shadows: Chapter One

Book of Shadows is an NT/Indonesian collaboration incorporating live actors, traditional Balinese and contemporary shadow puppetry and new media. In a festival usually reserved for completed works it was refreshing to participate in a work-in-progress showing with a discussion and feedback session. [...]

Yasukichi Murakami —Through A Distant Lens

Through a Distant Lens is a delicate and beautifully simple evocation of the life of Yasukichi Murakami, photographer, inventor, entrepreneur and part of Darwin’s high society in the 1930s. The performance begins with the whole end wall of Brown’s Mart theatre covered in a projection of trees moving gently in the breeze and the musician at the side of the stage playing traditional Japanese instruments mixed with recorded sound—wind and birdsong.

Writer Mayu Kanamori, a contemporary Japanese-Australian photographer and performance maker, probes Murakami’s colourful past and searches for truths about his life and his photographs—the latter lost when he was interned as an ‘enemy alien’ in Victoria after the bombing of Darwin in 1942.  [...]

Read Nicola Fearn's full review in RealTime arts magazine

In Accelerating cultural evolution, Chris Reid reviews the 8th OzAsia Festival 2014 in Adelaide:
Adelaide’s annual OzAsia Festival, which began in 2007 as a cultural bridge to Asia, spotlights the cultures of the disparate nations of the region. Elements include the family-oriented Moon Lantern Festival, symposia on cultural exchange and politics, a film festival, crafts, cuisine, workshops and traditional and contemporary theatre, dance, music and visual art.


The Samstag Museum is hosting two contrasting exhibitions highlighting postcolonial South East Asia and extending the perennial consideration of the nature of art: Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan’s In-Habit: Project Another Country, and Berlin-based art dealer Matthias Arndt’s Mooi Indie—Beautiful Indies. ‘Mooi Indie’ refers to the early 20th century Indonesian art movement that used Western forms to depict sanitised, beautiful images of the Dutch colony. The term is now used ironically, as the artists parody colonial, Western culture. [...]

Read Chris Reid's full review in RealTime arts magazine

In Culture's haunted houses, Ben Brooker focuses on the performing arts programme at OzAsia 2014:
The focus of the 8th OzAsia Festival is on China’s Shandong Province, famed birthplace of Confucius and home to around 100 million people. A meeting place of ancient and modern trade routes and the location of culturally significant sites for Taoists, Buddhists and Confucians, Shandong’s historical legacy and agriculture- and natural resource-derived affluence are obliquely reflected in this year’s marquee productions Red Sorghum and Dream of the Ghost Story, by the Shandong-based companies Qingdao Song and Dance Theatre and Shandong Acrobatic Troupe, respectively.
Both are conservative, visually lavish works, seemingly model companions for the chatter about soft diplomacy and measurable cross-cultural benefit that inevitably orbits the festival. To the contrary, Mayu Kanamori’s ascetic docudrama Yasukichi Murakami—Through a Distant Lens strove for verisimilitude in its unsentimental summoning of early 20th century Japanese-Australian ghosts, and Théâtre du Rêve Expérimental’s flawed but enterprising glance at Ibsen’s oeuvre, Ibsen in One Take, provided food for thought. [...]

Read Ben Brooker's full review in RealTime arts magazine.

RealTime is Australia's critical guide to international contemporary arts. Its focus is on innovation in performance (live art, experimental theatre, dance, music, sound), photomedia, film, video, interactive media and hybrid art


  • RealTime 123 Oct-Nov 2014 cover

  • Arisa Yura, Yasukichi Murakami—Through a Distant Lens | Elise Derwin, courtesy Darwin Festival

  • Riyadi Wedhar, Keributan, 2011, Mooi Indie | courtesy the artist

  • Ibsen In One Take | courtesy Ibsen International and OzAsia Festival

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