your littul heart – breaks
your littul heart – breaks
It happened that in November last year the Centenary of Canberra gave me the heads up on a proposed new initiative for March 2011, a series of arts events in shopfront spaces and found venues around Canberra’s CBD entitled You Are Here. No, I said, no. They told me to think about it and mailed me a folder with my name on it. It was stuffed full of surveillance photos, police reports, everything I’ve ever done since I was sixteen. Then yes, yes, and hung up on them. Got my jacket and took the stairs three at a time, straight out to the nearest bar and an eight-hour black-out that ended on a concrete ledge two metres above midnight.*
[The Overhead Projector Jam is a free-for-all event of blissed-out music and hands-on visual toys, allowing you to become a lo-fi VJ circa. 1967 JUST LIKE YOU ALWAYS WANTED. Img: Finnigan and Brother]
So the first thing was to find a team. Companions, accomplices, ‘my bow’ ‘and my axe!’, smear the guilty blood across as many clean hands as possible. First Yolande Norris, visual arts curator, editor of BMA’s Exhibitionist and semi-professional archer (Yolande provided bass and backing vocals to the novelty single released as a fundraiser by Australia’s female archery team prior to the recent Commonwealth Games) – Yolande took on the job of assistant producer for the festival (the midwife in the Rosemary’s Baby re-enactment this festival will inevitably become), as well as curating the entire visual arts stream and editing the festival brochure. Then lighting designer / combination locks, windows and doors professional Anthony Arblaster, who will be technically coordinating You Are Here just prior to his extensive 25-55 year tour of Britain’s prison system. Then a selection of other violent miscreants, mostly recruited by calling numbers at random from the Canberra Times’ $25 Or Under Classifieds page: Simon Binns, George Edwards, Max Barker, Chris Finnigan, Vanessa Wright, Nathan Harrison, Holly Orkin, Nick Delatovic, Nikki Kennedy, Nick McCorriston, Rachel Roberts, Sarah Kaur…
[The Gadjo Family will set up camp in front of the Merry-Go-Round, delivering 24 hour circus to all you lucky punters.]
Then venues. Thanks to our diligent sacrifices (nine spotless white heifers with no history of BSE/Mad Cow Disease every third sunset) and the extraordinary efforts of our sponsor Canberra CBD Limited, we were placed in contact with Harry Notaras, who kindly offered us the use of the old Dick Smith shopfront in the Civic Interchange. Repaired, rearmed and refuelled, that space will rejoin the fray on Thursday 10 March as SmithDick, the headquarters for You Are Here. Accompanying SmithDick is the prosaically named The Mall, a shopfront on City Walk near Akuna Street which will be coated in visual arts the way your stomach lining is coated with acid.
[Applespiel’s Sexy Urban Design Team Canberra allows you to reimagine and redesign your nation’s yellow-eyed and feverish capital city.]
Then the artists. You Are Here has assembled a swarm of creatives from the twisted reaches of Canberra’s fringe and alternative arts scene, with a smattering of interstate and international artists hurled into the mix, and carved out the shape of a ten-day festival. From 10-20 March, a series of arts events will unfold in pockets and recesses all throughtout Civic – all extraordinary, all heartbreaking, all free. An array of short one-act theatre shows will be delivered as back-to-back double-bill performances in SmithDick, featuring a selection of stunning writer/performers from Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago and the Canberra it self. A stunning lineup of gigs and parties ranging from the so-exclusive-you-better-start-doing-your-hair-and-makeup-now PROM on the opening night to the lubed-up TongueFire street party on the final night – reminding you why you bothered to have a sense of hearing in the first place. Exhibitions and live arts exhibitions climbing atop one another in a tower of art so high that you will require a mask and oxygen to attend some events. And installations ranging from Applespiel’s Sexy Urban Design Team Canberra, an evolving 3D map of Canberra’s CBD which you can reimagine and transform to your liking, to the Bally circus tent setting up camp on City Walk in front of the Merry-Go-Round for four days, bringing you on-demand circus 24 hours a day. You Are Here! You’re!
You’re scared? We’re scared! This thing that didn’t exist three months ago has rushed into view like a family of brown snakes living in your shower. It’s like we didn’t need to create this thing, the code for it was already in Canberra’s DNA and all we did was flick the switch. Anyway, the point is that now we’re rushing towards the waterfall and it’s too late to slow down or steer to the shore – we’re going over the edge no matter what, and you’re either in the boat with us or you’re flailing choking in the white water by yourself. We can’t guarantee that things will be okay, that your problems will work themselves out; no-one can promise that. All we guarantee is that the future will be beautiful as well as frightening and you will lose your shit laughing at least once more before you die.
You Are Here Festival
10-20 March 2011
*for the trainspotters, yes that paragraph is entirely ripped from The Usual Suspects and William Gibson’s short story The Winter Market.