Underbelly. On an island. In a glamping tent.
July 29th 2015
Photo credit: Gabriel Glark
“So you could see an exhibition from some of Sydney’s best and boldest artists in a white wall gallery space…
Or you could see it on an island, glamping while the sunset sneaks onto your pillow.”
As the most recent Hahn Superdry ads tell us, we should all be ‘experience collectors‘. It’s no longer enough to just watch eat dinner, we want to eat it on a hot air balloon, in the South of France. (Or at home, by ourselves, on Netflix… but that’s beside the point).
So you could see an exhibition from some of Sydney’s best and boldest artists in a white wall gallery space… Or you could see it on an island, glamping while the sunset sneaks onto your pillow.
Underbelly Arts Festival will be providing just that on Cockatoo Island for the first weekend of August. The festival is made up of artists in the early stages of their careers, presenting works under the broad theme of ‘Future Tense’. What you get is a collection of works that relate to the everyday, while challenging what you might have taken for granted.
Take Lewis Doherty’s monumental emoji installation for example. Emoticons are so wrapped up in our everyday lives. At Underbelly they are used to draw attention to our digital culture and how we increasingly exist and manipulate ourselves online. A sculpture this size, pretty much floor to ceiling of the enormous turbine hall, couldn’t exist in any ordinary exhibition.
For those of you keeping score… Bold art: tick!
Last week Cockatoo Island was home to The Lab, a residency program for artists to share materials and ideas and create works in response to the environment. There are works that transform the space through sculpture (Digital Forest), movement (The Likes of Me), or sound (Relaxation Circuit). Though Atlanta Eke and Daniel Janatsch’s work Death of Affect Restaged with a Return to the Japanese Nude 2017, is all three – a movement and sound installation that echo’s through the turbine hall, bringing the cold steal building to life.
There’s also a magical and otherworldly quality about Cockatoo Island which brings these imaginative, futuristic visions to life. The fantasy can continue if you choose to shack up in the pre-erected glamping tents. The heavy-duty, more-water-proof-than-my-own-house canvas tents are what I imagine Jane slept in before she took off with Tarzan. Although with the added pleasures of modern day living, like warm showers and a flushing toilet, with these luxuries Jane would of never run off with the jungle-man.
After exploring all the wonders Underbelly has to offer, your glamping experience could look a little like this:
Pull out your luxury camping chairs onto the veranda and geeze out over the spectacular view. Once all the day-trippers are on the last ferry home take off around the Island and try to forget all the ghost stories you’ve been told. At the end of the night settle down into your cot cradling your hot water bottle and sleep as snug as a bug in a rug. And in the morning, whip out your Pancake Shake and fry up a breakfast your seven-year-old self would be proud of, before heading back across the harbour to your regular Sunday session.
Underbelly Arts Festival runs from August 1st – 2nd 2015.
Grab tickets for the festival here and get amongst the glamping here.