Photo by Nick Wilson
have come up with yet another giant body part to add to the company's 30-year legacy of subversive and thought-provoking public spectacles. Head to Alexandra Gardens, Peppercorn Lawn, St Kilda Road, Melbourne
on 10 and 11 February 2023 from 11am to 3pm
to view and interact with a 14-metre inflatable 'Cochlear
' performance-installation for free. Part of Midsumma X Ignite Melbourne
, be sure to check out other Ignite
and Midsumma Events
at the Festival before it all comes to a close on 12 February.
Travel through a world of curving lines, soft-edged chambers, geometric forms and colour-saturated light diffusing through fabric as strange puppet creatures appear and disappear, drawing you in like a siren to delve deeper into the soft sculpture. Listen deeper to some of the quietest voices in the city as the stories of 10 trans and gender-diverse collaborators are played over speakers throughout the space. Enter through an airlock into this winding cavern of interlocking tubes and passages that culminates in the spiral vortex at the centre of the inner ear.
This inspiration is a reminder of the need for more active and engaged 'listening' in safe spaces for gender non-conforming people - an interactive world that challenges the silencing of gender minorities by amplifying their voice and pushing against those harmful stereotypes and cultural norms within society. To highlight this need, multidisciplinary queer artist 'Opal' will host an immersive, interactive performance piece as the locus of Cochlear's hearing, inviting you to 'whisper loudly' into the inner ear of the general public.
This is what Snuff Puppets Director Nick Wilson had to say. "I was interested in the Cochlear as a symbol of both listening and balance, but also, I just love the pure geometry of it. It's a very beautiful and strange anatomical form. Its shape is designed to capture and interpret sound waves and to detect our balance and orientation in space. I find it incredible that so many people can voice such strong opinions about trans and gender non-conforming people, and yet the real and only experts on the issue are so rarely listened to in our culture. By amplifying the voices and stories of 10 trans and gender-diverse collaborators, Cochlear aims to push against harmful stereotypes, ignorant public discourses, and a broader culture that's complicit in the silencing of gender minorities