Find out more about Next Wave’s Discursive Projects, Writers in Residence and RealTime DanceWrite workshops, or read a note from Georgie Meagher, Artistic Director.
A note from the Artistic Director
Next Wave is underpinned by learning. And by Next Wave, I don’t just mean this Festival, but this organisation in the other 23 months of our biennium. Since we last saw you, we have deliberately shifted the way we frame what we do, to focus on learning as opposed to development. We did this because development seems to cast too clear a path between start and finish to properly reflect the process driven
approach that is central to Next Wave’s ethos.
Learning does not tend to have a fixed beginning or end point: it’s propelled first by curiosity, then by conversation, research, trial and error. It is a process, but it does not necessarily progress us. If development is black and white, learning is every colour in between. And while development implies charging ahead at great speed, learning can be slow and meandering. It can be useless. Learning can make things seem more complicated and interconnected than we ever thought. This is where we’re coming from.
In her essay The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, writer Ursula Le Guin describes a novel as “a leaf a gourd a shell a net a bag a sling a sack a bottle a pot a box a container. A holder.” I have been thinking about the Festival like this: a time-sack stuffed with disparate things banging around against each other. I’m interested in what this nearness can do, to the works, to our thinking, and to our universe. So, direct your attention to the paths you take between works in this Festival, notice frictions and affinities between experiences. Focus on the questions that surface, and as more bubble up, seek out the ones that keep repeating. There are more connections than I can tell you about.
What can we learn from being next to one another? The point isn’t to find an answer, nor to make a coherent argument—we happily foster disagreement—it’s to bring the results of coexistence into focus. This is inherently political, because it prioritises the personal and it comes from diverse voices and perspectives. By drawing attention to the glow around things, this Festival aims to disempower centres in favour of peripheries, to make space for both anger and imagination.
The way Le Guin describes her science fiction is the way I dream of this Festival: “full of beginnings without ends, of initiations, of losses, of transformations and translations, and far more tricks than conflicts, far fewer triumphs than snares and delusions; full of space ships that get stuck, missions that fail, and people who don’t understand.”
Don’t worry though, it shouldn’t make sense. The most interesting way to get somewhere new is to let yourself get lost. As for these three weeks, I can promise there will be a space ship, but the rest depends on you.
Or, if a festival could talk, what would it say? Discursive projects celebrate knowledge as something that is unstable and subjective, and something that can be both found and made. This Festival we’re taking an experimental approach to public programming through a series of digital interventions, new archives and intimate conversations that use fiction as a critical tool and time as a material to dismiss authoritative perspectives. Anchored by an exploration of local Indigenous languages, these projects are intrinsic to this Festival—making space for poetry, enquiry and dialogue across cultures and artforms.
Writers in Residence
Writers in Residence is a new Next Wave program that privileges the idea that there is no right or wrong way to experience art. In residence during the Festival are a group of writers who have been exchanging ideas and developing skills through a series of workshops presented in partnership with Writers Victoria. These writers are creating work in response to the Festival projects, mapping recurring themes and examining their own experiences of Next Wave Festival 2016. You might see their work in our online publication Worm Hole, infiltrating Next Wave’s social media channels during the Festival, or later—in magazines and newspapers and on screens and stages. Writers in Residence is part of a long-term strategy for Next Wave to be more inclusive of artists and audiences with disability. We believe that a diverse conversation is the only conversation worth having; and that the more expansive the conversation becomes, the better.
Writers include: Alistair Baldwin, Sophie Cassar, Paul Dalla Rosa, Honor Eastly, Katie Paine and Andrew Westle.
Next Wave is pleased to host RealTime DanceWrite, in partnership with Sharing Space. DanceWrite is an intensive writing workshop with a methodology designed to develop writers’ sensory awareness and their responsiveness to all dimensions of performance—movement, design, sound and context. The workshop participants and directors will see Next Wave dance performances together, then share their responses, and write and re-write drafts of their reviews for quick turnaround online publication. DanceWrite is presented as part of the Sharing Space program. Conceived by curator Hannah Mathews, this 12 month program brings focus to the shared terrains between artistic disciplines through a series of public lectures, workshops and masterclasses involving practitioners from various generations and disciplines.
RealTime DanceWrite has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.