Next Wave Festival 2014

There’s only two more sleeps ’till the Next Wave Festival commences and this year’s program is looking pretty neat. The almost month-long celebration of Australia’s emerging artists will run until Sunday 11 May and as always there’ll be plenty of chances to get inspired. 

Blak Wave 

Next Wave’s keynote initiative for the 2014 festival is called Blak Wave – seven new art projects, a talk series, and a print publication exploring the future of Australia’s Indigenous art and artists. Be the first to grab a copy of the Blak Wave publication (edited by Tahjee Moar) at the festival’s opening event at the Wheeler Centre on Wednesday at 6:15pm. Then join NITV’s Richard Bell for a panel discussion about the challenges and experiences of Indigenous artists both locally and internationally. 


Next Wave events tend to evade classification but we can loosely attribute ‘dance’ to some pretty gnarly performance art projects. For example Goodtime Studios host Shower Party which has something to do with booze, loud music, and a goldfish. Then there’s Deep Soulful Sweats: Peaks of Phantasm an exercise class at Northcote Town Hall that’s a little bit dance, a little bit yoga, and a little bit deep house. But for something a touch more traditional – if you can call it that – head to Maximum. A performance that sees choreographer Natalie Abbott fuse dance with bodybuilding in an exhausting exploration of the potential of the human body. 

Live Art 

What happens when emerging artists are encouraged to dream big? Well Katie Lenanton curates a scent-based treasure hunt called Smell You Later,Henry Jock Walker turns his Toyota Hiace into a mobile studio, and Stephen Paton fills Melbourne Museum with virtual cattle for My Bullock Modified. Oh and some guys from the Netherlands challenge you to foster political change through a fight club – The Club 3.0. 


Next Wave reckon the best art comes from the fringe or the edge of society so prepare yourself for some weird, provocative performances. A Wake is part narrative, part documentary theatre examining the qualities of cross-cultural collaboration and the nature of onstage violence with regard to 2011 world-wide sensation Battalia RoyaleShift will see a team of artists clean up the city and remind us of the byproducts of urban expansion. And theatre production Hello There, We’ve Been Waiting For You shines a light on our ever increasing tendency to manipulate truth in the pursuit of happiness. 


Sound can be one powerful artistic tool and Tania El Khoury will teach you how with her interactive sound installation Gardens Speak. Not for the faint hearted this work compiles found audio of ordinary people who’ve been buried in Syrian gardens to tell their story and recount their final moments. 

Further challenge your ears with a 12-hour musical experiment in which Sarah-Jane Norman and five other non-pianists, failed pianists, and former child prodigies take turns sight reading and playing Rachmaninoff’s ‘Concerto No. 3‘ (arguably the most difficult piece of music around). Or discover Dylan Sheridan’s Terminal an opera without voices about ideas of genetic memory, recurring dreams, and the relationship between personal and collective health. 


Artist talks will be popping up all over the Next Wave calendar so may we suggest a few for you to pencil in? Blak Wave – Artist Roundtable will take place at the Festival Club (Shebeen) on Saturday 4 May in the afternoon, and discusses how history and heritage impact the practice of three Indigenous artists. Breakfast Club is back this festival so you can talk art, culture, and ethics over a Yoghurt Culture breakfast and Small Batch coffee. Breakfast Club takes place on the weekends in May. 

You can also hear from young visionaries such as founder of the Everyday Sexism Project Laura Bates and triple j Host Brendan Maclean by attendingRebellion and Tomorrow at the Wheeler Centre, Tuesday 29 April at 6:15pm. 

Visual Art 

Lastly there’s boring ol’ visual art, right? Wrong. Must see exhibitions include Can We Please Play the Internet? An international exhibition featuring works about, for, and performed via the internet; The Testosterdome a puberty-themed games arcade; and We♥abattoir a peak into the lives of abattoir workers through glamour shots, videos, and recorded interviews. That’s just to name a few. 

Take a peak at the full program on Next Wave website.

Published on Everguide 14 April 2014. Image from Next Wave website.

Words: Alix Palmer