Current Issue #488

Vitalstatistix Launches 2017 Program: "Politics is never far away at Vitals"

The Port Adelaide-based arts hub’s 2017 program will focus on the “real heart of the organisation” after Federal funding cuts threatened Vitalstatistix’s future last year.

“Politics is never far away at Vitals and frankly at the moment it’s hard to imagine it being any other way,” says Vitalstatistix’s artistic director Emma Webb of the 2017 program. “Climate change, decolonisation, feminism, queer performance and progressive social change continue as key themes of many of the works we are supporting.”

Vitalstatistix will support the “development of new work through residencies, labs, and commissions”. This includes the national annual artistic hothouse Adhocracy as well as the Climate Century program, which returns for its fourth incarnation this year. The program will show six works and asked artists to respond to the question: how will we understand and remember the climate century? Artists also had to consider how they might imagine the effects of climate change beyond their lifetime.

“2017 includes an expanded residency program, six new commissions through our Climate Century program, a partnership with Performance & Art Development Agency supporting five new works, the return of Adhocracy for its eighth year, and partnerships and presentations with organisations including Aphids, Tarnanthi (Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art), Art Gallery of South Australia, and Country Arts SA,” Webb says.

vitalstatistix-2017-program-larissa-mcgowanLarissa McGowan will perform her new piece, Cher, in a city location in 2017

“Throughout the year we will present a program of public work-in-progress showings in Port Adelaide and the Adelaide CBD, alongside other events and exhibitions,” she says. “If you think of our annual hothouse Adhocracy, think of Vitals 2017 as Adhocracy extended across the year in some ways. We will also offer a range of other events and exhibitions, and some great new opportunities for South Australian artists which will roll out over the year.”

Adhocracy returns in September, running from September 1 to September 3, with this year’s artist-in-residency project a collaboration with fellow Port Adelaide-based arts organisation, Fontanelle. Together, they will present Second Hand Emotions which will be headed by artists Mish Grigor, SJ Norman and Sarah Rodigari. Adhocracy’s national call for proposals will open in late March for the arts lab and public program of artist talks and work-in-progress showings.

Climate Century will feature six works in late November and early December. The five-year program began in 2014 and will finish next year. This year’s work includes Jason Sweeney and Em Konig’s experimental soundwork Climate of Cruelty, the VR eulogy to the forgotten island nations of Oceania, In Loving Memory, and the Unbound Collective’s Sovereign Act III.

Jason Sweeney and Em Konig’s Climate of Cruelty honours animals that have suffered for our desires

“We were very relieved to find out at the end of last year that Australia Council has supported our program Climate Century for 2017 and 2018,” Webb says. “They have also supported Crawl Me Blood, a work we have been developing with Aphids, which will premiere here in 2018. The South Australian Government, through Arts South Australia and the Department of Premier and Cabinet have been extremely supportive – it’s really made all the difference to what we have been able to offer this year and allowing us the space to recalibrate and plan ahead in a different Federal landscape.”

Other 2017 projects include Vitals’ annual St Jerome’s Laneway collaboration, which turns their Waterside Worker’s Hall home-base into an arts haven for the music festival, acclaimed dancer and choreographer Larissa McGowan’s Cher, which will show an in-progress show at a city location in May as well as Rebecca Conroy’s Iron lady and David Rosetzky’s Speech Pattern.

Emma Beech is Vitals’ inaugural Shopfront Studio artist-in-residence. The performance-maker will expand on her brilliant work Life is Short and Long which premiered at Vitalstatistix’s Waterside Workers Hall last year. Other 2017 residencies include Nicola Gunn and Tamara Saulwick’s (with Chamber Made Orchestra) Super Imposition, the gothic scream and shout opera Speechless (an experimental opera homage to the forgotten children in detention centres) and Rebecca Meston’s Drive.

To view the full program, visit

Header image: Promotional still for Unbound Collective’s Sovereign Act III

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