M: RISING acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we live, learn and work. We pay our respects to the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders
HF: We kind of really jumped in the deep end and went on a road trip, seeking out these pretty epic oceanic locations for sonic intervention
M: Hannah Fox and Gideon Obarzanek’s friendship began as artists working with sound collaborating on a large-scale public artwork.
GO: We share a common interest in art, cultural and ceremonial events, where the public really become part of the work itself.
HF: We had a lot of conversations about trying to compete with the ocean, and whether you really should.
M: The lessons they learnt as artists have shaped their current roles as the co-artistic directors and CEO’s of RISING; a surge of art, music, performance and ceremony.
HF: We start talking about the more traditional old school meaning of festival of it being this expression of culture, a kind of public ritual or sense of gathering; marking a moment in time.
And I think more than anything, we kept coming back to the idea of it being truly ephemeral, you know, like an unrepeatable moment that you had to be there for.
M: And then came 2020
GO: The Minister, who then became Health Minister later, he had this really grey ashen face as we were talking about COVID. And clearly, in hindsight, he understood way more than we did.
HF: I remember being in the office from just before about to tell the staff that the festival’s been postponed indefinitely, and I had to go and have like little weep in the boardroom. Just the thought of all the musicians that I know and artists that I know who had lost 100% of their income for the year in two weeks.
M: Gideon and Hannah assessed the possibilities for an arts festival in a post-covid world where local artists needed support.
GO: ‘Let's take these resources and speak to the artists of Melbourne, and put these resources out to people who are actually not able to work’. No gigs, you know, no rehearsals, no shows nothing; nothing was going on.
M: So a call to artists was sent out. RISING received over 1100 applications spanning performance art, dance, theatre, sculpture. They found that artists were one step ahead, reimagining the future of art.
HF: I was shrieking in my bedroom. I was really, just so thrilled to see the ambition, the kind of generosity of artists, you know, it was really just life affirming to read all of those applications from people who are in such dire straits to still be thinking about making something beautiful for someone else, that was really touching.
M: RISING will begin on the evening of the total lunar eclipse. A variety of experiences will radiate through the night, as the city re-synchronises and is re-energised with public art, performance and music spanning the emerging and iconic, the epic and intimate.
HF: what we originally set out to do was to commission Australian contemporary art performance and music at a scale yet to be seen in Melbourne in public space. And weirdly, this world event gave us this new level of permission to really do that properly.
M: This is the Rising podcast. I’m Mahmood Fazal, and I’m here to take you through some of the artworks from the festival.
This series challenges artists to unravel the concepts behind their work and bring the festival to you.
Our podcast will explore the work of Patricia Piccinini, Deborah Cheetham, The Necks, Lynette Walworth, Mohamed El Khatib, and the Back to Back theatre ensemble.
HF: A whole lot of blood sweat and tears. And grey hairs. And sleepless nights. The legacy of that only really lives on in the hearts and minds of the people that were present And for me that’s like a really deeply magical thing.
M: Listen at Litmus.Media or wherever you get your podcasts.