All you Adelaide art buffs will no doubt be getting excited about the first project by the brand new, local, Performance & Art Development Agency (aka PADA).
PADA's co-director Emma Webb let us as close to their new project 'Near & Far' as possible:
PADA is a new organisation in South Australia, can you give us a snapshot of who you are and what you're doing?
Performance & Art Development Agency was founded at the beginning of 2015, so we are really new! Steve Mayhew and I formed the organisation as we are interested in contributing to the development of a broader range of contemporary arts organisations and activity in SA.
PADA will be doing a range of things including curating public programmes – such as our first one, 'Near & Far' – commission and developing new work with artists, hosting talks and conversations, and collaborating with like-minded organisations here in Adelaide and around Australia. It is early days but we really hope we can offer artists another way to develop and present their work.
Your first project, 'Near & Far', is an exhibition in the Queen's Theatre. Part performance, part installation and part conversation, can you tell us about the audience experience and in what ways people can engage with the exhibition?
There are five works we are presenting in 'Near & Far'. Two of these – Jason Sweeney’s 'Silent Type' and Sarah-Jane Norman’s 'Stone Tape Theory' – are solo, durational sound and performance works, where each artist will perform live in their spaces for six hours each night. Audiences will be able to see these works shift and change each night as well as over the course of the five-night event.
Then there are two performance exchange pieces. These are offered each night. Kviss Búmm Bang and Sandpit’s '101.IS TO 5000.AU' is a short participatory experience offered twice each night; and 'Reach Out Touch Faith II' by Sarah Rodigari with Josie Were, is a one hour performance at 8pm each night. Both these works have been made through artists working through an exchange process, whereby one stands in for the other in a sense.
As well as the exchanges, Jane Howard’s project 'Simple Art Transfer Protocol' is an experiment in conversation and art criticism. Audiences can subscribe to an email from Jane, which will expand into conversation not only about 'Near & Far' but possibly art being seen worldwide at that moment.
Additionally, on Sunday afternoon we have three sets of conversations with the participating artists facilitated by guests Jeff Khan from Performance Space, NSW and Angharad Wynne-Jones from Arts House, VIC.
As the first public project for PADA, how did the project come about and how did you select these five works to commission?
'Near & Far' reflects many of Steve’s and my interests; artistically and socially/politically. Including how artists make works across distances, issues around sustainability, queer performance art, personal agency, sound art and many other things. Each commission came about in different ways – for instance we were very aware of the fact that Jason Sweeney was looking to complete his trilogy of quiet works and we are delighted to assist in making that happen. Whereas Sarah-Jane Norman’s 'Stone Tape Theory' is entirely new and has been commissioned through a process of conversation with the artist and a partnership with Tarnanthi, the new Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia.
Is there a common thread through these works?
All the works explore distance, time, communication and personal agency in some fashion, however they are very diverse too. The two durational works are spacious, sound-based, sometimes silent, queer and expansive. And quite melancholic in some ways. The two performance exchanges explore delegated performance, sustainability and personal choice; they are collaborative, playful, sharp and witty.
Performance & Art Development Agency's 'Near & Far' is on at Queen's Theatre, 16-20 October.