When I attended hillsceneLIVE, I didn't know what to expect at all. I came with an open mind to simply experience all that it had to offer without over thinking it. After nearly 5 hours of non-stop entertainment that bombarded my senses with new experiences, I was happy to let the reins loose and give myself up to the night. I drove home with a smile on my face remembering the events of the night and thinking to myself what a great night I'd had.
Congratulations to the Project Manager Gareth Hart and the many hands that make it happen behind the scenes. In collaboration with the Burrinja team, the flow of the program on offer for the night was seamless. As was promised, hillsceneLIVE certainly championed the brave, the bold and the adventurous with what was on offer. It opened our eyes and thoughts to ask questions of what we might have formally assumed and accept that sometimes there are just no answers and to revel in the space of the in-between.
ODD SOCK: Libby Maitlaind (feat: Dave Thomson sound) at Tiffaney Bishop Collective and ROVING ARTIST Chun Liang Liu
Arriving at the Belgrave train station at 6pm, thanks to my lucky stars, map in hand, I teamed up (more like I followed her (a local) around or I would have been hopelessly lost) with Lynn who is an art therapist and runs workshops at many venues, Burrinja being one of them. With her local knowledge, she took me down lane ways I would probably have never discovered. On the agenda was durational performances, installations and 'live' art pieces affectionately called 'live fascinations'. We could choose our own adventure and either see all or some and in no particular order. Our first stop was at the Tiffaney Bishop Collective to experience Libby Maitland and her odd socks. What is the relationship status of an odd sock? S'Ok Cupid seeks to match-make 4 odd socks. Libby and roving artist Chun Liang Liu perform a song and dance for us about odd socks looking for love and on the walls are dating profiles for the socks that engages the public to interact by each one filling in the dating profile. Some of the responses were hilarious.
ELIZA PHILLIPS EXHIBITION: The Endangered Heart at Limerence.
Next stop was an exhibition by artist Eliza Phillips at Limerence. Launching 'The Endangered Heart', a mixed medium exhibition, she sure came up with a lot of curiosities. My personal favourite was an old vintage doll locked away in a box, looking like 'CHUCKY' complete with a pair of rusted scissors crossed beneath the doll. If you did not attend hillsceneLIVE, don't worry, you have not missed out in seeing Eliza's unique artwork. Her exhibition at Limerence is on till the end of the month so check it out and take the opportunity to own one of her gorgeous pieces.
I was thoroughly immersed in the baroque inspired Sooki Lounge at our next stop 'rubber necking' as I headed down the many stairs that took us deep into its bowels to check out Toni Main and Sara Di. It was an invitation to explore the unknown and the consequences once finding it out. The tools were miscommunication, translation, communication and interpretation between 2 strangers, 2 languages, 2 backgrounds in 1 room. All the seats were taken and it was standing room only milling by the doorway. With only an hour and a half to walk around Belgrave and explore 6 performances as given on the map, we decided to leave after a couple of minutes and did not fully experience this piece that was presented.
Walking towards Belgrave Arcade we were greeted by balls of wool strewn all over the ground, its strings leading down the lane way, up the stairs, entwined and weaving its way around the arcade. Justine Walsh greeted everyone with the hugest most engaging smile on her face, speaking not a word she offers us charcoal, ash and ochre. Since learning shes a muso I am surprised that her piece contained not a tune out of her in the timeframe I engaged with her work, even drawing a picture on the wall with the charcoal she offered me. Her 'weave/upheave' is an immersive and exploratory work inspired by the interlacing of internal and external and to engage we just needed to wander, explore, draw, sing, weave, deconstruct, engage as we wish and emerge above. Her huge smile and the engagement she offered was surprisingly enjoyable.
FROM ALL ANGLES: Vivienne Rogis at Belgrave Library & INKOMPLETE - Amy Middleton also at Belgrave Library
Last stop Belgrave Library. I breathed a sigh of relief to find out the last 2 events were at the same place as it was nearing 7.30 pm, a time we were due at the Masonic Hall for another 3 hours of entertainment. 'From all Angles' by Vivienne Rogis' is trying to expose the detail in the question. Its an invitation to move around what looks like a huge cardboard camera to see things from your own unique perspective. You can choose a tune, try your hand at framing, write a poem, draw a picture or sit and watch. As a performer, Vivienne's movements were fluid and elegant to watch. The last event was Amy Middleton's INKomplete. White markers were supplied and each person would doodle, draw and add to what was already there on the outside window of the library. To extend, connect and expand was the goal, and the two ladies in the picture thought it felt a little bit naughty like drawing on a space that would normally be forbidden.
Finally at the Masonic Hall. A roving artist covered in gold leaf from The Gold Series and the accomplished Project Manager Gareth Hart.
Arriving at the Masonic Hall, at the entrance we see a guy we'd seen wandering the streets earlier, not realising he was a roving performer. Called the 'Gold series: Burrinja chapter' takes what is most precious 'gold' and attaches it to the roving performer. Its intent is to highlight the important cracks and flaws of our social consciousness.
The hall was filling up with quite a few people and we grabbed a table close to the performing area. I met a few of the Burrinja team who were present for this night of events; the CEO Ross Farnell and his wife and Visual Arts coordinator JD Mittmann. At the same table was the Hillscene magazine creator and editor Adriana Alvarez and Colin Anderson.
Main: Ross Farnell, CEO Burrinja . Top: Ross Farnell, Editor of Hillscene Magazine, Adriana Alvarez, Photographer of the night, artist and sculptor Elaine Pullum. Bottom: Burrinja CEO Ross Farnell and wife, Burrinja Visual Arts coordinator JD Mittmann and Adriana Alvarez. Adriana and Colin.
The rest of the night was filled with unexpected entertainment. The 'Un-Lit Lounge' hosted a stage program of short works by a variety of artists. Who knew there was going to be a 'book reading' thrown into the mix. Such were the delightful surprises throughout the night and all for free. Wow!
A reading of her 1st book: Sandi Wallace with her book Tell me Why. Her mum on the top far left. Cheese platters and drinks for sale on the night and bottom row, poet Cameron Semmens
First were the speeches and the launch of the Hillscene magazine, then came local crime fiction writer Sandi Wallace reading several excerpts of her first book 'Tell me Why' which is set in picturesque Daylesford. It just so happened her mother came to sit next to me to take close up shots of her daughter on her camera as would all proud mums. A crime writing personal trainer, Sandi lives in the Dandenong Ranges. Cheese platter and wines in hand it was time to sit back and perhaps close our eyes, pick up a paint brush in our minds and paint the scenes entering our ears through the poetic sounds and rhythms of Cameron Semmens reciting his poetry.
I'm not quite sure that I 'got' the next act, Alex Gates and his unique sounds, but he was later joined by entertainer Laura McCulloch - Lolly Loop who kept calling him Freddy. She was thoroughly entertaining and accomplished at her craft. Her wit and girly voice embodied in an unmistakable sex symbol persona. She engaged the audience with her quirky comedy, however I'm not quite sure the kids 'got' her as I personally felt parts of her act were more suited to a 15 plus audience; perhaps a consideration for the next event. Watching the expressions (I generally look around to assess crowd reactions) on their faces and their reactions to some of the jokes, the older kids/young adults looked a little embarrassed and looked away.
The Ranges Young Strings were a group of delightful young people stretching their wings and performing 'Spring Tide at Wilsons Promontary' by local composer Dindy Vaughan, followed by two pieces from a Celtic Suite by English string teachers Kathy and David Blackwell and 'Riders of Rohan' by Keith Sharp. They were certainly accomplished and were a crowd pleaser for sure. One little girl caught my eye because she was so bubbly and had such a confident engaging personality, curious and taking part in everything. Shes in the picture below (2nd one down) with Sonic Sound's Peter McIlwain and she was questioning him about his craft. Gorgeous.
Next we had a few speakers that were given 30 seconds each to freely rant their thoughts, unfiltered, on contemporary, conceptual and controversial art. Put in the spotlight impromptu, they did very well and had the audience cheering them on for their quick wit and clever lines.
Peter McIlwain - The big inside and Dani-Ela Kayler, A fleeting solo dance
A fleeting solo dance was performed by Dani-Ela Kayler to Gulsen Ozer - Monomyth, music by Edward Willoughby expressing far deeper meanings than I could have imagined. The freedom of possibility in artistic expression and in life, considering ones own power, choice and responsibility.
Last but not least we had Peter McIlwain's 'The Big Inside'. A man who loves sounds, making up bird calls of imaginary birds and having said imaginary birds illustrated as to how he saw them in his minds eye. According to him, he wants to open up imaginative spaces in the minds of people he comes in contact with and loves the way sound takes us out of ourselves. He then played music for us by combining sounds and making textures in sound flow, inviting the music to float in time and space.
Finally, the end of the night. Hillscene has definitely achieved what it set out to do; to entertain in unusual ways and to see Belgrave as we've never seen it before. Come to think of it, I think I'm going to have to go on a little adventure to Belgrave and explore it during the day one day. Curious about the appointed photographer for the night, I had a chat to Elaine Pullum before I left. An artist and a sculptor, I just knew she was someone artistic. My suspicions confirmed she was a lady of great talent, I happily hopped in my car and drove home after a night jam packed with entertainment. I will certainly make sure I don't miss out when the next years event comes around again. How ever will they top tonight! I leave you with the sonic sounds and amazing visuals of Peter McIlwain.
Below, the Spring issue of the Hillscene magazine created in partnership with Burrinja. Cover is by Roderick Price. For submission and advertising enquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org Check them out on Facebook and you can read their blog HERE.
Why? Event Review only; giving insight on what not to miss out on when the next event comes around. Heres hoping its ongoing. It was soooo much fun to engage, be pulled out of your comfort zone & have your eyes and senses opened.
Great article Jen, and thank you for your very kind note, but I should point out as I didn't, unthinkingly, at the time, that I was just a bit-part photographer. The real, professional, photographer of the night was Ariel Haviland, who is also on Facebook as "Ariel Haviland Photographer". Cheers Elaine Pullum