Progress Festival 2023 to explore the vital role that creative expression and ideas play in connectivity

Progress Festival 2023 to explore the vital role that creative expression and ideas play in connectivity

Monash University Performing Arts Centres (MPAC) is thrilled to announce the return of Progress Festival, a biennial festival of ideas and performance which will delve into the theme of connectivity, examining the benefits and challenges of living in a highly connected world. The festival will run 29 August – 2 September.

Progress Festival is a public event that fosters dialogue among artists, thinkers, researchers, and academics. Utilising the resources and great minds of Monash University it explores the trajectory of society, our species, and the planet. The festival’s theme this year is connectivity, examining its impact on us in so many ways. Through the natural world where our interconnected world shapes landscapes, climate and organisms, and  via technology where interactivity is a blessing and a curse. Remote access, easy collaboration and transformative educational opportunities have changed our lives for the better, but corporate surveillance, financial contagion and social media polarisation are real threats.

Raki opens the festival with a particular focus on First Nations’ approaches to connectivity, where the idea of interconnected nature, life and spirit offer new paradigms. Many western thinkers, artists and institutions are increasingly seeing these paradigms as offering potential solutions to some of the problems that arise from our interconnected world.

MPAC’s premier venues, including the Robert Blackwood Hall and The Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts, will host a range of events during the five-day long festival. The festival will also feature a hybrid format, combining live and virtual performances to accommodate a wider audience, and interactive experiences for those who want to connect themselves.

‘This year’s Progress Festival, produced by Monash University Performing Arts Centres, is all about connectivity. We live in an increasingly interconnected world, with data transmission at warp speed and notions of private space and individuation under attack. This interconnectivity is technology driven, but awareness of interconnectedness is an ancient wisdom, understood by our First Nations peoples for millennia. We will explore the old and the new, and the way they connect, in a week of performance and discussion, not to be missed. – Paul Grabowsky AO, Executive Director, MPAC. 

Highlights of the Progress Festival 2023 include:

Raki, August 29, Alexander Theatre

Raki, meaning ‘bush string/law,’ is a captivating cycle of songs performed by Daniel Wilfred, a Yolŋu man and song keeper from Ngukurr. Collaborating with the Australian Art Orchestra, Daniel shares these rarely heard songs in the Wagiläk language, deeply tied to his town’s history. The special opening night performance also features Paul Grabowsky and Peter Knight.

Connected, August 31, Online

Award-winning comedian Lawrence Leung presents an immersive and hilarious show, combining stunts, experiments, and mind tricks. This interactive online performance promises to captivate audiences of all ages and locations with this live-streamed segment from London.

Bell Curve, August 31 – September 1, David Li Sound Gallery

Bell Curve is a profound spatial performance by Speak Percussion’s Artistic Director Eugene Ughetti. The composition features twelve independent bell ringers, exploring rhythm, pitch, and resonance, revealing the pristine beauty of Victoria’s Federation Handbells. The performance is enhanced by a dynamically changing acoustic space created with the Meyer sound system in the David Li Sound Gallery.

Invenio Singers, September 1, David Li Sound Gallery

Invenio Singers, renowned sound designer Jethro Woodward, and composer Gian Slater present Spiral Now, an innovative and immersive performance utilizing the state-of-the-art constellation sound system in the David Li Sound Gallery. This premiere performance will be innovative, immersive, and intimate and examines the cycles of nostalgia triggered by our senses.

The Progress Festival will run29 August – 2 September at Monash University Performing Arts Centres.

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