When it comes to ideas and originality, Tiny Stadiums are local heroes. The annual festival of live art by PACT Centre for Emerging Artists has been infiltrating Erskineville for six years with its plucky program of site-based performances and installations from some of Australia’s most interesting emerging artists.
The artists will take over the streets, a church, a park, a pub and other spots in Erko and fill them with insightful performances on life in the suburb and beyond.
We chat to three collectives about their projects, but make sure you check out the full line-up.
Girls to the Front
By Hissy Fit
Part-participatory work, part-punk rock initiation, Girls to the Front is a video and live performance piece that draws its politics from 90s feminist punk rock movement, Riot Grrrl.
Why is Riot Grrrl still relevant today?
Riot Grrrl was concerned with many issues that still affect women today – sexuality, gender-based violence, women’s empowerment. A key aim of the movement was to encourage women to ‘take up space’ in the social sphere.
Women’s safety in the public sphere is still a much contested concept – you only have to look to current issues like #gamergate to see how women are uniquely targeted and harassed by vitriolic misogynist browbeating masquerading as a questioning of journalistic ethics.
Does Hissy Fit take from the movement in other projects?
Hissy Fit looked to Riot Grrrl as part of bigger research on women in punk and rock that we completed for a work currently in development. Aside from the politics, it’s the musicians themselves and the frenzied energy in their live performances that we have found to be rich material for exploring the concept of the hysterical woman, who we see as a powerful feminist icon.
Why was it important for the work to be participatory?
The aim for us is to create a diverse visual catalogue that captures the frenetic energy and strength of the body ‘out of control’. We want to create a space where women from all walks of life feel confident and free to let loose for a moment and in doing so, become part of a collective statement about the importance of women’s right to make noise and take up space.
Video Installation: Saturday 15 November, 12-5pm & Saturday 22 November, 12-2pm
Performance: Saturday 22 November, 3pm
Venue: Erskineville Town Hall, Erskineville Village
By Team MESS
Inspired by Mexican soap operas, Team MESS presents a new video-performance or ‘television series’ called Trojans, which is shot nightly in front of an audience. A different writer provides the script each night, which the actors and crew don’t get a chance to see before shooting – instead acting to instructions fed through radio receivers.
Did you spend many hours watching Mexican soap operas in order to perfect your style?
We haven’t watched any at all actually. Not because we are terrible at researching our subject matter. Though we could well be terrible researchers…What we are doing is a playful experiment in what it would be like to appropriate the form of the soap opera, with the script of a television show arriving on the day of shooting and being delivered to actors through radio receivers. We have simply re-appropriated how they might unfold in our fictional version.
We loved the idea that because of audience enthusiasm and tight budget, these shows are shot in such a fast rhythm that the actors don’t even get the chance to see their script in advance of shooting. We were excited by the creative distance this model of performing could provide – between a projected idea and its outcome – so we’re revelling in that process and the great possibility of failure with an audience.
On a fiscal level, we entirely appreciate the difficulty of finding a viable way of working in the creative industry. We are fascinated by the way it emphasises the symbolic order of participation and the fallacy of agency. Actors in these programs essentially become participants in a game of the creatives’ design, which is what we do in our practice as well. Through playing these games, fluctuating narratives are produced that we like to think are both fun and telling of certain cultural attitudes.
Why is audience participation such a key part of the project?
The nature of the event makes everyone an active participant in the conceit; actors, writers, crew, background artists and the studio audience. It’s about collapsing the status of the artist as a virtuous talent and closing the distance with the audience/collaborators by inviting them into a shared and responsive space of play.
14 – 15 November, 20 – 22 November, 7–8pm
Venue: PACT, 107 Railway Parade Erskineville
Tickets: $15 pre-sale / $20 on the door
Artist talk: 20 November, 8–8.30pm
By Mook Gwa
The Mook Gwa Institute makes real estate un-real by blurring the lines between financial speculation as engaging in risk for profit and arbitrary valuation – and speculation as engaging with risk in memory and storytelling.
Why did you choose to portray real estate agents in your project?
The direct portrayal of real estate agents has actually diminished over the project’s evolution. Initially, we viewed the role of real estate agents as facilitators of exchange and ownership where place is concerned, while wanting to explore what sales-driven charisma can do as a mode of persuading the audience to invest their attention.
Why is the right to space important to you?
The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship…sorry, that’s always the first thing we think of.
We see the right to space as either the right to inhabit and enact within it OR if we were to speak to it from a physical or conceptual distance, something projected upon. This makes space as an enabler of action and imagination unfolding simultaneously.
How are you reflecting Erskineville’s identity?
With the actions and imagination of the audience members who pass through the main landmarks of Erskineville. Story Title is not an experience to be passively consumed – it will require an audience willing to be persuaded to occupy and activate each street corner – which we will ably and determinedly guide you through!
Saturday 15 & Saturday 22 November
Tours at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm
Venue: Erskineville Town Hall committee meeting room
Book in at the Info Desk
Tiny Stadiums is on from 14 – 33 November around Erskineville. Head to PACT to book.