If you’re unfamiliar with it, Liveworks is one of the most exciting arts festivals in the city. Its program is often provocative, sometimes baffling and always intriguing.
Over the last seven years, we’ve seen dancer Joel Bray douse himself in fairy floss and slide across the room in Daddy; we’ve watched Betty Grumble print 1000 pictures of her hoo-ha in The Unshame Machine; and we’ve been captivated by Nat Randall and Anna Breckon’s 24-hour endurance piece The Second Woman, where a roster of men appear one at a time in a scene that repeats over and over.
Jeff Khan is artistic director and CEO of Performance Space, the arts organisation behind Liveworks. For him, standout moments have included seeing Singaporean artist Choy Ka Fai resurrect the spirit of the Butoh master Tatsumi Hijikata in Unbearable Darkness, as well as “gazing at the stars with artist Jen Jamieson on a custom-built grassy rooftop in Let’s Make Love, and watching the amazing William Yang narrate the history of Sydney’s queer underground party scene,” he says.
In the last two years, lockdowns forced the festival to present part of its program online. This year, Liveworks will return with primarily in-person events at Carriageworks, as well as digital experiences “that reach beyond our walls to audiences across the globe”, says Khan.
In its eighth iteration, we can expect more eye-opening performances, immersive installations, new music and inspiring ways to connect with one another. Though the program isn’t out till September, Performance Space says it’ll feature artists from across Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and New Zealand. There will be three program strands: Live Futures, a series of artist-led conversations; Live Dreams, showcasing works in progress; and experimental art program Live Now.
“You’ll be invited to bring your favourite plant to come and watch one of the performances with you this year,” says Khan. Most importantly, he adds, “You’re invited to hit the dance floor – an experience we’ve been sorely missing” in returning events such as queer party Day for Night.
Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art 2022 returns from October 20–30. The full program will be announced on September 1, with tickets available on the same day.