Tomorrow evening, a labyrinth will open in Chippendale.
Hedged in by heritage houses and rising contemporary structures, nine laneways will transform into the intricate cultural web that is BEAMS Arts Festival, inhabited by a host of mysterious creatures: wandering troubadours, performance artists, culinary masters.
And you, our dear visitors. What phenomena will we encounter in the labyrinth?
Light and art installations have crawled out of our creatives' imaginations to illuminate Chippendale’s dark crevices, and video projections dapple building facades with shifting shapes and colours. They await curious pedestrians.
Teggs Lane is home to such creatures. Jennie Feyen suspends a dancer’s body in a flickering cosmos, exploring how celestial and human life forms produce heat upon the release of energy. Projected onto the face of a laneway residence, Incandescence makes the starry sky visible in a district often clouded by light pollution. Beric Henderson charts this unveiled cosmos in his mandala-inspired Celestial #1 - a map punched on backlit black paper, for all our visitors who wish to crane their necks to the sky.
Queen Street will be wrapped in the soft, pink membrane of a dream. Tutti Frutti Dream Factory defies gravity with its floating lands and fantastical animals, emerging from the studio A network of artists with intellectual disability. My Name Is Hue traces a wavelength from the Big Bang, in all its resplendent colour, to future galaxies and unknown worlds.
Stroll back into reality on Little Queen Street, where Earth’s natural phenomena lies. Singing Light on Water is a multisensory meditation on the dialogue conducted at Sydney Harbour daily - between human voices and water. From these depths, the beauty of marine luminosity washes up on Little Queen’s shore in Bioluminescence, through nine mounted organisms that individually produce and emit light.
Watch the skies at Henrietta Street, where the Northern lights rise from within Savannah Stimson’s suitcase. The inexplicable Min Min lights will observe us from the dark in Liam Crowley and Nick Maurer’s projection and live feed sculpture, Fata Morgana. These spectacles that occur in natural wildlands will hover in downtown Sydney for one night, and fall upon the chillwave soundscapes of musical syndicate Botch House.
Talents from UTS Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building will uproot new interactive worlds from the earth of Chippendale Green. If not joining the silent disco, audiences can wade through a bio-morphic sea of Coral Bleaching and encounter handmade arachnids that swarm the Spider-tunnel. Sydney Origami Inc will also be teaching all to fold creations Big, Small and Everything in Between.
Let your inner child run loose across the green!
Live art will unfold on O’Connor Street! Witness Scott Marsh lead a graffiti renaissance, converting discarded construction hoarding into a glorious fifty-metre long mural that will stand long after BEAMS ends.And Place Associates have a mission for you: write a note and place it in an inflated balloon with an LED light. Once a garden of fifty balloons has been grown, the audience will be invited to pop one of their choice to reveal a stranger’s message inside - it’s bound to be a Pop Sensation.
With the hushed reverence of a theatre and the unadulterated madness of Sydney’s explosive talents, the performances on Dick Street will stun any unsuspecting guest. Join a campfire circle of Chinese whispers and storytelling under the stars at Soda Mountain Epic, pt.III or watch Flatline unfold a neon sketchbook, as their dancers’ movements are mapped and projected on the walls in fluorescent line. Everyone has a seat.
While Chippendale has long been a soundscape of industrial echoes and men at work in its past, BEAMS will fill it with a different sound - music.
Head to Balfour Street for an eclectic lineup spanning the vast musical spectrum. Ben Bleyerveen brings a squeeze of beatboxing grit. Goldheist’s ethereal aesthetics conjures echoes and shades of Kate Bush, MSMR and Florence and The Machine to extend her halo over Balfour Street Park.
Jive to the gleaming electronic melodies of Daisy Sherwood-Miller or sway with Frieda’s Boss, who’ll delve out chilled reggae beats to open and close the night.
Feeling ravenous? Kensington Street eateries can tend to that.
Prior to its November launch, Bistrot Gavroche will offer exclusive previews of upcoming dishes with Brasserie Gavroche chef Frederic Colin’s French flair. Cafe Glider will charm with the earthy, organic vibes of their coffee shop and a menu sourced from Thai home recipes!
Got a sweet tooth? Dessert by Reynold will be on the scene with some heavenly desserts. Polish up your evening with wine from Single Vineyards and a cocktail or two at the newly lacquered Bar Chinois.
Wander down Spice Alley, where hawker-style eatery Kopi-Tiam will serve up genuine Asian cuisine: Chinese at Alex Lee Kitchen, Thai/Vietnamese fusions from Bang Luck Thai Street Food, Malaysian spices at Old Jim Kee, and Hong Kong Diner infusing Sydney’s hidden courtyards with a taste of the Asian metropolis.
Visitors, take heed of the weather forecast: chance of showers, cooling temperatures in the mid-teens. Wrap up warm with some wet weather gear at hand, but don’t be discouraged by this foreboding weather - musicians will play with a rainfall percussion, the lights will glisten on the wet streets. BEAMS will be beautiful regardless.
What lies at the core of this year’s BEAMS Arts Festival is "phenomena" - natural forces at work that we observe and often marvel at. It’s a testament to the diverse talents that make up this city.
But phenomena can only be appreciated if its wonder is shared - from 5-10pm tomorrow evening, come and get lost in the labyrinth that is BEAMS Arts Festival!
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