Metro Arts Presents DEATHFEST

Metro Arts Presents DEATHFEST

Queensland's home of contemporary arts, Metro Arts has a death wish, literally. Its wish is to get the people of Queensland talking about death and embracing grief, and it plans to facilitate this happening through a program of arts and culture this November.

The first arts and culture festival of its kind in Queensland, Metro Arts' Deathfest, runs from 12 to 20 November. The brainchild of Metro Arts' Creative Director, Jo Thomas, in collaboration with ethicist Sarah Winch and Hummingbird House General Manager, Fiona Hawthorne, Deathfest comprises of world premiere performances, live music, discussions and provocation sessions about life, death and grief, movies, immersive interactive activities, cemetery tours and more.

Be the first to experience internationally renowned choreographer Fran Barbe's Exquisite as it makes its world premiere. A sensual experience of hope and heartbreak, Exquisite blends Barbe's sumptuous choreography with original music composed and performed by Mace Francis and his orchestra, exploring the processes of love and loss.

Get up close and personal with death in artist Julie Vulcan's five-hour performance, I Stand In, as it enacts a death washing ritual involving massaging, oiling and wrapping participants in a shroud. The work reflects upon the complexity of personally understanding and processing global human tragedy with the shrouds forming an exhibition following the performance.

Master stonemason Pete McFarlane's art installation I Am Not Here, Leave a Message, creates three grave sites for members of the public to engage with through sound, touch, smell, taste and writing.

Live musical performances include musician and composer Linsey Pollak and vocalist Lizzie O'Keefe's collaboration Dangerous Song, a eulogy for the planet combining human voice with the sounds of endangered and extinct animals.

To stimulate discussion on death, dying, grief and loss, a number of conversation and provocation events are planned. Join ethicist and author Sarah Winch for Wine and Die, an insightful and personal discussion about meeting your maker and how to die well. Yarn Storytelling will explore the complex relationships people have with loss and what is gained by these experiences in its session Good Grief. The provocation and conversation series will include public discussion forums. Dying Well, a forum about how to die well and what that means will be led by deathwalker Zenith Virago; and Death N Art, which explores how artists bring death and dying into their work and what that means for them.

Local artists' deathly works about the processes and rituals around death and loss will feature in the city's laneways. Works include Tarryn Gill's Tomb Guardians in Hutton Lane, Caitlin Franzmann's Magical Thinking in Fish Lane and Katina Davidson's Heart Land in Eagle Lane, and featuring at Metro Arts and projected on the William Jolly Bridge will be work by Judy Watson.

Tour one of Brisbane's historic cemeteries, the Christ Church Milton Memorial Garden and enjoy a twilight concert by the Threshold Choir, a movement which sings people over the threshold of death.

Metro Arts' Creative Director, Jo Thomas, hopes Deathfest will get people talking about dying and grief, instead of experiencing this alone.

"The past century has seen death and dying in the industrialised world move from an everyday part of life to being hidden from society," she said. "Death has become something that is done in private, with mourning no longer ritualised. This lack of awareness and experience with dying, the dead, the bereaved has resulted in widespread death anxiety.

"Hopefully, through the arts, we can promote intergenerational conversation and cultural perspective, to have these conversations in a different way and find new ways to embrace the inevitable. An understanding of the processes, the machinations and our options in death and grieving may just see us live well and die well."

For further information about Deathfest visit www.metroarts.com.au/deathfest/

Deathfest program

EXQUISITE BY FRAN BARBE & GUESTS
16 - 20 NOVEMBER 2016
SUE BENNER THEATRE, METRO ARTS
TICKETING: General admission $28, Concession $23, bookings essential via https://www.metroarts.com.au/events/exquisite/

Exploring grieving as an exquisite sensation, internationally renowned Fran Barbe blends her unique choreography with community immersion for a beautiful theatrical experience. Featuring Brisbane-based dancer Brian Lucas alongside Min Zhu and Fran Barbe, this transformative performance features original music composed and performed by Mace Francis and his Orchestra.

I AM NOT HERE, LEAVE A MESSAGE BY PETE MACFARLANE (ART INSTALLATION)
17 - 20 NOVEMBER 2016
OUT THE BACK, METRO ARTS
TICKETING: free event, no bookings required
https://www.metroarts.com.au/events/deathfest-not-leave-message/

Experience three unique memorials created by Pete Macfarlane that encourage interaction, observation and contemplation. Sensitive and contemporary, the creative memorials feature active and layered design through various mediums including plywood, fabric and soil. Within each memorial Macfarlane layers history and vision for an enriched storytelling experience unlike any other. Engage, observe, and reflect with memorials that represent the past, and inspire the future.

I STAND IN BY JULIE VULCAN (DURATIONAL PERFORMANCE)
18 - 20 NOVEMBER
BASEMENT, METRO ARTS
TICKETING: General admission $5 at the door provides access for session that day, installation on 20 November is a free event
https://www.metroarts.com.au/events/deathfest-i-stand-in/
Friday, 18 November 5pm - 10pm; Saturday, 19 November 2pm - 7pm;

Sunday, 20 November 11am - 6pm (Installation only - no durational performance), opened by the Brisbane Threshold Choir from 11am - 11.30am

I Stand In reflects upon the complexity of personally understanding and processing global human tragedy and mortality. We think we empathise but really we intellectualise. This work invites volunteer participants to 'stand in' for a faceless individual. Attending to each 'body' consecutively, Julie enacts a stylised 'corpse-washing' ritual. The final action is the placement of a shroud over the body subsequently imprinting it with oil. As the hours pass, the initially stark and empty space transforms to one inhabited by the ghostly shrouds, testament to the ephemeral space between life and death. Hanging on lines, they mimic laundry, becoming at once a metaphor for the everyday and the deeper questions of personal and cultural accountability.

The session of I Stand In on 20 November is free to attend and does not feature any durational performance. This session will be opened by the Brisbane Threshold Choir at 11am. The Threshold Choir, directed by Ann Bermingham, is part of a world-wide movement that sings people over the threshold of death. Be sonically bathed by the choir as they sing songs about life's thresholds, significant times of transition or deep suffering. They describe their work as "kindness made audible".

DANGEROUS SONG FULL PERFORMANCE BY LINSEY POLLAK AND LIZZIE O'KEEFE
(MUSICAL PERFORMANCE)
8PM, 19 NOVEMBER
THE LUMEN ROOM, METRO ARTS
TICKETING: General admission $28, Concession $23, bookings essential via
https://www.metroarts.com.au/events/deathfest-dangerous-song/

A eulogy for the planet - it is about the death of entire species using the sounds of extinct and endangered animals to create the music.

A concert by Linsey Pollak and Lizzie O'Keefe that combines the human voice with the sounds of endangered and extinct animals to create an intriguing and moving musical performance. Linsey uses breath, lip pressure and fingering to control real animal call samples. Lizzie joins him, weaving her voice in and out of the musical landscape of endangered and extinct animal sounds. This musical journey takes us to a world of sound where the human and the animal combine. It's a journey which speaks directly to the heart in a way that words cannot.

GOOD GRIEF
BY YARN STORYTELLING, COORDINATED BY RYAN SIM
(STORYTELLING)

7.30pm - 9.30pm, 18 NOVEMBER
THE LUMEN ROOM, METRO ARTS
TICKETING: General admission $5 at the door
https://www.metroarts.com.au/events/deathfest-good-grief/

At Good Grief, Yarn Storytelling will explore the complex relationships people have with loss, and what is ultimately gained by these experiences.

Grief is ugly and cold and obsessive. It's a preoccupation at the hands of which many other aspects of our daily lives may suffer. Grief ties us up, hunches our shoulders, makes us drag our feet around town. It pushes people away, happy people who are afraid of our grief, as though it were an airborne disease.

Maybe. Or could it be that grief is the act of repotting a plant so it may flourish again, or a raging bushfire which, in the end, encourages new growth? Is it digging through soil, finding the dead roots and holding them up so we can get a better look at them, so we might learn how to grow something more vibrant? Grief is synonymous with pain, but equally, the unique ways in which we learn to grieve are also gifts, a means by which we live through loss, and a defining aspect of our personalities.

Yarn Storytelling is a quarterly storytelling event, featuring true stories, told live and without notes.

PROVOCATION AND CONVERSATION SERIES
(SERIES OF TALKS)
1.30PM - 5PM, 20 NOVEMBER
THE LUMEN ROOM, METRO ARTS
TICKETING: free event, bookings essential via https://www.metroarts.com.au/events/deathfest-dying-well-death-n-art/

LET'S TALK ABOUT DEATH - FINALLY!

DYING WELL: A forum and conversation about how to die well and what that means

1.30 - 2pm Zenith Virago "All over the world, people are remembering their rites and rights, waking up and taking dying, death and ceremony back into its rightful place, back into our own hands."

2 -3pm Facilitated by Fiona Hawthorne
(General Manager Hummingbird House)

Sarah Winch (Health ethicist), Associate Professor Richard Roylance (Clinical Paediatrician and Chair: Human Research Ethics Committee), Priscilla Maxwell from Karuna House (transforming the way society and individuals think about and experience death), Jill Bolen (a personal perspective).

3 - 3.30pm Intermission

DEATH N ART: How artists bring death and dying into their work and what that means for them

3.30 - 5pm Facilitated by Margi Brown-Ash: theatre maker, therapist, researcher, theatre director and facilitator.

Dr Fran Barbe (lead creative, Exquisite) Trent Jamieson (author Death Works series) Peter Macfarlane (artist I'm Not Here) and Julie Vulcan (artist, I Stand In)


WINE AND DIE WITH SARAH WINCH
(YOUR CHANCE TO JOIN THE CONVERSATION)
7PM, 19 NOVEMBER
GALLERY, METRO ARTS
TICKETING: General admission $25, bookings essential via https://www.metroarts.com.au/events/deathfest-death-wine/

Death is a destination that we all share, that we all fail to discuss. Come meet your maker over drinks and nibbles to discuss all things related to death and dying. This is the chance to chat about that which cannot be changed by education, wealth, intelligence, beauty or charm. Divulge deadly details and embrace existence in an evening of conversation dedicated to death.
Featuring Sarah Winch, author of Best Death Possible.

SONGS OF THE LEAVING BY DAVID MEGARRITY
(MUSICAL PERFORMANCE)
2.30PM, 20 NOVEMBER
SUE BENNER THEATRE, METRO ARTS
TICKETING: General admission $12, bookings essential via https://www.metroarts.com.au/events/deathfest-songs-leaving/

If there is a beyond it is surely beyond words. Songs can sing what we cannot say. Sometimes they sing of the final going away. Join Kylie Southwell (Laique, The Pockets) Samuel Vincent (Doch, Trichotomy,Tyrone and Lesley) and David Megarrity (The Smiths, AC/DC) to sing of the leaving and the left behind. You may find smiles in the darkness. Some songs you'll know and love. Others you'll just love.

EPHEMERAL ARTWORKS IN BRISBANE LANEWAYS
(VISUAL ART AS PART OF BCC'S VIBRANT LANEWAYS)
14 - 20 NOVEMBER
MULTIPLE LANES THROUGHOUT BRISBANE
TICKETING: free event, no bookings required
The selected artists look at processes and rituals around death and loss. Inspired by old rituals, they fashion their own.

Tarryn Gill // Tomb Guardians in Hutton Lane

In Hutton Lane will be images of Tarryn Gill's Tomb Guardians. The artist has created her own guardians to stand watch over her final resting place, inspired by the Japanese tomb ornaments known as Haniwa, which are arranged around a burial site, in order to both protect the dead but also drive away evil.

Caitlin Franzmann // Magical Thinking in Fish Lane

Caitlin Franzmann's Magical Thinking is a series of hand collaged divination cards that the artist uses for tarot-like readings with participants. When performed, a participant must have a question, then draws a card from the deck. Included are seven images of particular cards that look specifically at death, loss, renewal and cycles of growth.

Katina Davidson // Heart Land in Eagle Lane

Katina Davidson's family were forced to live on Deebing Creek and later Purga Aboriginal Missions; the Deebing Creek site is currently proposed for commercial development. In response, Katina has created small sculptures of the wildflowers that now grow abundantly on the site as a memorial to the former mission. In previous iterations she has installed the small sculptures to approximately map the outline of the small houses they were forced to live in on the floor of the gallery. More recently, she has taken the sculptures to the actual site and documented herself mapping the position of former homes, creating a process of healing through an ephemeral memorial. For the Eagle Lane Lightboxes, Katina will be presenting paintings she has created from the video and photographs from the site.

Judy Watson // The holes in the land 3 on William Jolly Bridge

Internationally acclaimed artist Judy Watson's work is held in major Australian and international collections including: National Gallery of Australia, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, St Louis Art Museum, The British Museum, London, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Library of Congress, Washington and the University of Virginia. The holes in the land 3 is part of a series of etchings of Aboriginal artefacts made during Judy's artistic fellowship at the British Museum. This includes pituri bags, a symbol of Aboriginal resources that were bartered along trade routes throughout Australia. Pituri was highly sought after as a narcotic, native tobacco and was carried in specific crescent shaped bags woven out of Government issue blankets and sometimes human hair and wool, then traded with other Aboriginal groups. Some of these pituri bags were taken from the Gregory River, which lies in Judy's Grandmother's Country in north-west Queensland. Pituri bags are on display in the Christie Collection in the British Museum. "The Shadows of these bags and other Aboriginal objects echo their displacement from their Country and define the indentation left in the ground which still retains the energy of their presence and power," says Judy.

CEMETERY TOURS CONDUCTED BY DR HILDA MCLEAN
3PM &4PM, 12 NOVEMBER, 2016
CHRIST CHURCH MILTON
TICKETING: free event, bookings essential via https://www.metroarts.com.au/events/deathfest-cemetery-tour/

The Christ Church Milton Memorial Garden is a reminder of the large Paddington cemetery which, until 1914, was situated where Suncorp Stadium (formerly Lang Park) now is. Be taken on a guided tour with Churchill Fellow, Dr Hilda MacLean who has a research focus on visitor education in historic cemeteries. Or explore this historically significant cemetery unguided, to discover some of the graves that were part of the Paddington Cemetery where 4,000 people were buried.

DEATH SONG: A CONCERT FEATURING THE THRESHOLD CHOIR AND AN EXCERPT FROM DANGEROUS SONG BY LINSEY POLLAK AND LIZZIE O'KEEFE
5PM, 12 NOVEMBER 2016
CHRIST CHURCH MILTON
TICKETING: no bookings, donation at the door (donations go to the church)
https://www.metroarts.com.au/events/deathfest-death-song/

The Threshold Choir, directed by Ann Bermingham, is part of a world-wide movement that sings people over the threshold of death. Be sonically bathed by the choir as they sing songs about life's thresholds, significant times of transition or deep suffering. They describe their work as "kindness made audible".


FILMS:
THE SIXTH SENSE
6.30PM, 14 NOVEMBER 2016
THE LUMEN ROOM, METRO ARTS
TICKETING: General admission $12, bookings essential via www.metroarts.com.au

AFTER LIFE
6.30PM, 15 NOVEMBER 2016
THE LUMEN ROOM, METRO ARTS
TICKETING: General admission $12, bookings essential via www.metroarts.com.au

DEPARTURES
6.30PM, 16 NOVEMBER 2016
THE LUMEN ROOM, METRO ARTS
TICKETING: General admission $12, bookings essential via www.metroarts.com.au

GRIEF WALKER
6.30PM, 20 NOVEMBER 2016
THE LUMEN ROOM, METRO ARTS
TICKETING: General admission $12, bookings essential via www.metroarts.com.au

Facilitated post film discussion with Elham Day of Hummingbird House.


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