Integral structures

North Melbourne’s Meat Market is one of Melbourne’s hidden gems. I, myself only work two minutes walk from it and I barely know what goes on there. During the Next Wave Festival, which has just drawn to a close, it was home to Structural Integrity, which describes itself as a monumental World’s Fair-styled exhibition and residency project that explores independent arts cultures from across Australia and Asia and includes the work of six Australian and five Asian Artist Run Iniatives (ARIs)

In the month leading up to the opening of the Next Wave Festival, each ARI created its own ‘pavilion’ inside the Meat Market. Those who created ‘pavilions’ were:

  • FELTspace, Adelaide
  • Locksmith Project Space, Sydney
  • Boxcopy Contemporary Art Space, Brisbane
  • Art Centre Ongoing, Tokyo
  • Six_a INC, Hobart
  • Post Museum, Singapore
  • Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou
  • West Space, Melbourne
  • Y3K, Melbourne
  • House of Natural Fibre, Yogyakarta
  • Tutok, Manila

My personal favourite was Supercharger by Six-a INC, partly because it was interactive and partly because it contained giant remote controlled vehicles called super-mobile-art-devices that observers can manoeuvre around the installation. It is the artists’ intention of giving the fate of the piece over to the visitors. Below is a video that I took of someone else using the installation, although my efforts weren’t much better.

Another installation that grabbed my attention was the effort was by West Space which included a Giant Smoke Ring Generator. However, during my visit it wasn’t in operation but the video below shows it in full flight.

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The UN goes to the dogs

I have to admit that I am a sucker for anything involves dogs. Therefore when it came to my attention that there was an event at the Next Wave festival that involved a whole bunch of dachshunds I knew I had to go and see it. The event I am talking about is the Dachshund U.N. by Bennett Miller and is described as both a large scale architectural installation and a performance work that examines the role of the United Nations as a risk management organisation.

Located adjacent to the Royal Exhibition Building it is a scale replica of the former U.N. office in Geneva, Switzerland where every Saturday afternoon during the festival it has played host to a meeting of the U.N.’s Commission on Human Rights with as the title suggests, dachshunds play the role of the delegates.

When I attended last Saturday there was quite a decent crowd in attendance with much anticipation of what would happen. But that is where the joy of this installation prevails because nothing really happens at all. The dogs, after being cajoled into their positions by their owners armed with treats didn’t do that much. A few barked, a number slept, some tried to climb out of their seats whilst most just sat there. This all said, it still had the crowd’s attention and mine as well.