Leaving the nest: Crack Independent and Experimental Theatre and Performance Art Festival

posted on September 2nd 2009 in Art projects & Festivals with 0 Comments

I’m excited to say that the CRACK performance art and experimental theatre program I commissioned and curated as part of This Is Not Art (TiNA) has taken on a life of its own. In 2009 Crack will appear at TiNA as a fully-fledged festival in its own right, led by the eminently capable David Finnigan and Gillian Schwab, along with Thomas Henning of the Black Lung Theatre and Whaling Firm. Crack is a national festival and forum for Australia’s theatre and performance artists, and promises several days of inspiring performances, panels, workshops and several godawful experimental messes to boot.

Just as exciting is the news that the Spat+Loogie and Willoh S Weiland piece Newcastle Pie-off that was commissioned for the 2007 Crack program will be remounted as part of the MCA in Sydney’s 2009 Primavera exhibition.

Where it started: Crack 2007. After organising the 2007 festival within an inch of its life, I commissioned four performance collectives and four writers to disorganise, crash, remix, subvert or disrupt the festival in any way they wanted. The end results were a superb mixture of clever intervention and utter psychosis, giving festival-goers (and directors) a slightly harrowed look as they waited for the next act of total weirdness.

“Ingeniously anticipating criticisms that TINA might have become dangerously institutionalised or formulaic, a number of artists were tasked to perform interventions designed to disrupt the efficiency of the festival. Dressed in beige military get-up, collaborative group Brown Council took aim at TINA’s ambiguous identity, instituting their own splinter event, the This IS Art Festival. Throughout the weekend they could be found (clipboard folders in hand) inspecting presentations and workshops for signs of legitimate “art.” But perhaps the most wildly disruptive interventions were the terror(art)ist antics of Melbourne’s Black Lung Theatre. Ambushing one unsuspecting panel discussion, two performers raided the stage and gaffa-taping, stripping, urinating and urine drinking ensued. Whether or not this organised anarchy was entirely successful in every instance, it was indispensable as an affirmation of the healthy future of TINA. It seems to me that any festival that is conscientiously concerned with its own undoing is not in danger of forfeiting its life-force anytime soon.” – Dominique Angeloro, RealTime Arts 82, December 2007.

I’ll post up some images and a PDF of the program book here when I get a chance to make a low-res version.

Role: program initiator and curator 2007, 2008; festival founder 2009.

Website: Crack: experimental and independent theatre and performance art festival