2016 PuSh Festival Curatorial Message
November 09, 2015
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
Between the backwards and forwards is the present moment, a space of not-knowing. As existential as it all is, it’s also exciting—transformation is possible. Creating the future takes a leap of imagination in the present. What will spark bold new ideas? What will inspire?
Given the current state of the world, the stakes are high, and the issues are overwhelming. Questions of leadership and the kind of wisdom and thinking that will move us forward as citizens, as humans, are paramount.
Artists are masters of transformation. Their stock-in-trade is the unknown. They shock us out of complacency and back into our selves. Artists are infrequently regarded as leaders but there is no shortage of them ready to take the torch.
Septuagenarian Uncle Jack—from child of the Stolen Generation to a key figure in Indigenous theatre in Australia—has lived life to the utmost. Jack Charles V. the Crown offers powerful wisdom that shows us other ways of seeing and understanding the world. Along with Miss Understood, transgender poet Antonette Rea’s story of her life, these are two remarkable stories of resilience and hope overcoming incredible hardship and pain against all odds.
Charlie Demers is no stranger to PuSh. He is one of the funniest and most politically astute people I know. Leftovers is his soap box, using political comedy as a tool for activism. From the individual we zoom out with a wider lens to re-examine transformational moments in recent history. BOOM is a crash course in the moments and figures that shaped the baby boomer generation, while Century Song is a women-centric, experimental take on the past
Dance offers an embodied, rather than intellectual, wisdom for our times. The double bill of Inked and Murmur rises above debates about traditional versus contemporary form. In Le Temps scellé, the hypnotic, perpetual movement of bodies bends time in a never-ending reincarnation. In Relative Collider principles of movement are combined with physics, an examination of the particles of energy between spectator and performer.
Art might not provide immediate solutions to current problems, but it does provide multiple pathways to empathy and understanding. It offers hope and belief in our own power, and as citizens we could always use a little more power.