After a two-year hiatus due to natural disasters and COVID, a progressive arts festival is set to take over Jugiong and beyond this weekend with a celebration of landscape, community and art.
The Wired Open Day Festival is an all-day event connecting communities with the arts in innovative ways.
The event is produced by The Wired Lab – an artist-led not-for-profit community and cultural development organisation located in the Eastern Riverina.
It will feature a range of unique live events from a rowdy pub-like quiz to a talking car and a bespoke “pharmacy” to aid one’s ailments.
Starting with an event called the “Daytime Odyssey”, festival participants will be taken on a journey through the lush green and gold fields characterising the picturesque South West Slopes this time of year.
During the 90-minute adventure they will also experience the works of Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey, Cat Jones and NYZ.
Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey will debut Bellwether. This artificially intelligent vehicle traverses the terrain and discusses with passengers the improbabilities, precarity, future narratives and weather of the land on which they travel.
Bellwether was made in person on Country, on verandas, in cars and virtually by a fantastic collection of local people including Wi-Sky director Jock Graham, local Wiradjuri man Pete Beath, farmers Jill and Rick Baldwin, Rachel Lenehan, George and Chris Main, Louise Freckleton, Phil Bowden and students from Sacred Heart Central School Cootamundra.
Then there’s Cat Jones who recently visited the region to facilitate her signature OPEN LAB! workshops with residents impacted by the 2019/20 Dunns Road bushfires.
This weekend she presents Medicament for Your Predicament, an experimental pharmacy of political medicines. Expect everything from antidotes for ire to diuretics for disillusionment, tonics, salves, gargles and powders that soothe our soluble and insoluble bodies.
OPEN PHARMACY! will also be installed at Wired Open Day Festival showcasing the medicaments and offering up quick and dirty prescriptions, medicinal beverages and bespoke merchandise – as well as the effervescent power of conversation.
Wagga-based artist and scientist Dave Burraston (NYZ) will investigate the impacts of the 2019/20 bushfires through a data sonification/musification installation of the real-world air quality index for the Muttama region plus research that explores the potential agricultural impacts of air quality on livestock, crops and farmers.
Comedian and actor Damian Callinan, writer and star of The Merger, will declare himself “Mayor for a day” before proceeding to tap into the collective psyche of Jugiong’s townsfolk, providing an outsider’s view of the nuances of a small community while celebrating of the characters who shape the village’s identity.
From 3 pm, the festival will progress, again via bus, to the bucolic pastoral run of Rosemount Farm, where some of Australia’s best experimental contemporary artists will showcase in an evening program of performances.
This event will feature works from Julie Vulcan, pvi collective and Speak Percussion.
Speak Percussion will activate the lanolin-infused surrounds of the old Rosemount shearing shed with interactive percussion event Systems of Control.
Pvi collective will present eaters – a performance that elevates the traditional pen and paper pub quiz to a participatory game show.
It will feature an array of guest voices such as known eater and local legend Scott Ludlam, Boorloo’s own Gina Williams, eco-feminist Vandana Shiva, song KWEEN Odette Mercy and Harden political journalist Gabrielle Chan.
Julie Vulcan, an artist from the regional village of Balmoral will present DARKswell, an audio-visual performance that draws the audience into the minutiae of life after fire.
This personal work – part documentary, part love letter – combines Julie’s lived experience of the Black Summer bushfires with the experiences of fire-affected local producers and land carers impacted by the Dunn’s Road fires.
The team behind Wayballi Murruway will present a short film chronicling their journey since 2016, which has resulted in a celebration of Wiradjuri language, heritage and ceremony.
Founder and artistic director of The Wired Lab Sarah Last said the past couple of years had been really tough for the many communities, especially the arts sector and regional areas.
“So we’re thrilled to be actively presenting again and bringing the Wired Open Day Festival to Jugiong,’ she said.
“Location should never be a barrier to accessing arts experiences of a global standard and we’re proud to say we’ve put together a particularly compelling program for this year’s festival.”
For the first time ever, Wired Open Day Festival will be free to attend thanks to a grant from Hilltops Council via the NSW Government.
The Festival runs Saturday, 17 September from 10 am to 10:30 pm. Access is strict via the festival bus departing Jugiong village, and tickets must be reserved via wiredlab.org.