the human rights arts & film festival
Offering 19 feature films, forums and an exhibition, the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival has no shortage of challenging and thought provoking highlights. The opening night film, Under African Skies, is a documentary by US director Joe Berlinger looking at Paul Simon’s controversial decision to break the sanctions against South Africa to make his greatest selling album, Gracelands. Equally controversial is Beer is Cheaper Than Therapy by Dutch director Simone de Vries, exploring the lives of US soldiers returned from active duty and living in Fort Hood, where the suicide rate is twice the national average.
The Australian feature by Sean Gilligan, Fantome Island, tells the story of Joe Eggmolesse who, at the age of seven, was removed from his family and sent to a leprosarium on an island off the Queensland Coast. The film sees Eggmolesse return to the site and through archive footage exposes the systematic racist treatment and destructive policy of eugenics that was in place at the time (see Danni Zuvela's review in RT106).
|Planet of Snail|
For the Melbourne leg of the festival, there is a series of free forums, including one on the power of art to educate and agitate and the dangers this sometimes brings to the artist; a discussion on the ethics of travel from a humanitarian and ecological perspective; and another on the role of street art as tool for activism. Many of the screenings include a discussion session.
There is also an exhibition titled Echoes Of Others, Illuminating the Gaps Amid Translation which explores how technology and global communication (which is not shared by all) effects human rights issues. While the majority of the action happens in Melbourne, small selections of films will tour Canberra, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, Alice Springs, Byron Bay and Perth over the next two months.
The Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, director Matthew Benetti, The Forum Theatre, ACMI and Abbotsford Convent, May 15- 27; see website for national tour dates, www.hraff.org.au
the seizure, the hayloft project
|Christopher Brown, The Seizure, The Hayloft Project|
photo Lachlan Woods
The Hayloft Project, The Seizure, Studio 246, Brunswick, May 3 – 19, http://www.hayloftproject.com
boo australia, tim welfare
|The King Pins, Polyphonic Ring Cycle (2009), courtesy the artists; Lauren Brincat, Drum Roll (2006), courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery, Sydney; Anna Davis & Jason Gee, Biohead (2008), courtesy the artists|
Boo Australia, curator Tim Welfare, Galería Concreta, Centro Cultural Matucana 100, Santiago, Chile, April 24-May 27 2012; http://www.m100.cl/
guerrilla girls, vca
|Guerilla Girls; b&w poster - Guerrilla Girls Proclaim Internet Too Pale, Too Male!, 1995; colour - Free Women of Zurich, 2011|
© Guerilla Girls
Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, Guerrilla Girls, Public Talk, May 16, 6pm, Federation Hall, Grant Street, Southbank; http://www.vcam.unimelb.edu.au/events?id=356, http://www.guerrillagirls.com/ (Update: Tickets to this event have SOLD OUT. You could chance your luck on the door and arrive by 5.45pm to place your name on a waiting list, as uncollected tickets will be released at 5.55pm)
a hoax, la boite
Commencing its premier season at La Boite in Brisbane is a new play by Rick Viede, The Hoax (to be reviewed in RT109). The play won last year’s Griffin Award for outstanding new Australian writing, a competition open to both established and emerging playwrights. The play will also have a season at Griffin, Sydney in July. The Hoax tells the story of a young Indigenous girl who receives public acclaim for a novel based on her life, however it’s later revealed to be a fiction written by a white, male social worker, with devastating consequences. Viede’s story is a not uncommon one, paralleling the Helen Demidenko/Darville debacle of the 90s in Australia, more recently American bestselling writer James Frey's faking of his memoir, A Million Little Pieces (fully revealed when the author was challenged by Oprah Winfrey) and another American, Laura Albert, with her invention of the addicted, transgender prostitute JT LeRoy. Viede writes “When you scratch the surface of these kinds of hoaxes, they’re really complicated studies of psychosis, desire, ambition, lack of self-esteem” (press release).
A Hoax, writer Ricky Viede, director Lee Lewis, La Boite, Brisbane, May 5- 26; http://www.laboite.com.au; Griffin Theatre, Sydney, July 20-Sept 1; http://www.griffintheatre.com.au/
cue function, hellosquare
Established in 2004, Canberra-based record label hellosQuare offers an impressive catalogue of 49 CD and CD-R releases ranging from label founder Shoeb Ahmad’s own output both solo and with his duo Spartak (see earbash) to Perth new music ensemble Decibel (see earbash) and Melbourne improv outfit Candelsnuffer. The hellosQuare team will be in residence at Canberra Contemporary Artspace over the next few weeks, where they will not only be presenting concerts by Spartak, Ollie Brown (Icarus), Shopgirl, Deafcat and Merewomen, but also an exhibition of visual works complementing the ethos and aesthetics of the label featuring Luke Penders, Elena Papanikolakis, Dylan Martorell, Helani Laisk, Robbie Karmel and Kate Ahmad.
CUE FUNKTION, hellosQuare exhibition and residency, Canberra Contemporary Arts Space, May 10-20; http://www.hellosquarerecordings.com/; http://www.ccas.com.au/
RealTime issue #108 April-May 2012 pg. web
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