KE-ZU Guide to Sydney Festival 2020
8 - 26 January

This year’s Festival is humongous and trying to navigate through the many performances, installations and talks can be mind boggling, to even the most avid cultural fan.

So KE-ZU’s owner, Caron Grunschlag went along to the launch of the festival to get a bit of an inside running on those performances that are not as well known as the headliners and are going to be appealing to those of us with a heightened sense of visual processing.

Sydney director Wesley Enoch has declared :

“We are unashamedly diverse. We are equal parts cultural ambition and celebration. We happen where people gather in communities, on the streets and in the hallowed halls of culture. We are the summer festival that builds amazing memories, and the cultural leaders who take the world head on. We are both free and priceless; valuable and valued “
“I love all my children equally “ and sometimes as with the old woman who lived in the shoe, who had so many children and she didn’t know what to do – we have asked Wesley to highlight a few of those smaller children on the programme that might get overlooked but offer exciting and new experiences.

So let’s explore …

DODECLAI LUMINARIUM                                                        
Architects of Air and Insite arts – UK
Tumbalong Park – Darling Harbour 8 – 26 January
Ticketed sessions available – see website.
Price: Free

Explore an immense, radiantly lit, inflated labyrinth of winding paths and soaring domes in Darling Harbour’s Tumbalong Park.

Wander through the otherworldly interior of the Dodecalis Luminarium bathed in the radiant colours of daylight shining through its translucent fabric. Architects of Air create enormous air-filled domes and mazes inspired by natural forms, geometric solids, and Islamic and Gothic architecture.

Designers Alan and Meko Parkinson’s creation expands on the geometry of a dodecahedron, with three jaw-dropping Dodecadomes joined by a web of tunnels, awash in intense, neon-bright natural light.

Carriageworks - 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh
10AM - 6PM | 8th January – 1st March
Price: Free

Sydney-based Kudjala/Gangalu artist Daniel Boyd’s VIDEO WORKS is an abstracted journey through time immemorial, and a gesture to the impermanence of life on this planet.

Three major video installations – A Darker Shade of Dark #1-4 (2012), History is Made at Night (2013) and Yamani (2018) – map the walls of the gallery with Boyd's infinite cosmos of dynamic compositions and prismatic colour.

Set to a remixed soundtrack by long-time music collaborators Canyons, VIDEO WORKS is an experience that is both otherworldly and grounded; expansive and atomic.

Carriageworks - 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh
10AM - 6PM | 8th January – 14th June
Price: Free

This site-specific response to the unique light, space and architecture of the Carriageworks building.

Spanning over one-hundred metres in length, Radiant Flux sees every glass surface of the Carriageworks exterior and skylights covered in dichroic film, a dynamic material that shifts colour when viewed from different angles, and transmits the opposite chromatic spectrum to what it reflects.

The result is a spectacular immersion into a kaleidoscopic world of colour and light that responds continuously to the environmental conditions around it.

Baumann's practice oscillates between states of precision and variance, permanence and impermanence. An encounter with Radiant Flux will never be the same twice.

Carriageworks - 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh
7PM | 14 - 26 January
Price: $79 + BF (120min)

Marionette master Ronnie Burkett (The Daisy Theatre, Sydney Festival 2018) returns with a powerful new work where each audience member plays a part in the story.

Who wouldn’t love to be part of the story.

Carriageworks - 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh
7:30PM | 21 - 26 January
Price: $60 - $70 + BF (70min)

Choreographer-dancer-singer François Chaignaud and four period-instrument musicians slice through Spanish history from the Golden Age to the 21st century, in a joyously theatrical blend of Baroque music, cabaret, flamenco, and gender play.

Carriageworks - 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh
Refer to website for session times | 11 - 24 January
Price: $15 + BF (20min)

Will you take a lie detector test in front of an audience?

Award-winning social experiment TRUTHMACHINE uses biometric sensors and live voting systems to seek out truth in a world of fake news and alternative facts.

Put yourself to the test in this adventurous, intimate and playful melding of bold new technology with live performance, inspired by art history and the true crime genre.

Sydney Town Hall - 483 George Street, Sydney
7:30PM | 10 - 18 January
Price: $60 - $80 + BF (150min including interval)

You’re invited to the wedding reception of Māori woman Hera and Aboriginal man Kane, two ambitious and deeply in love career-hotshots who have their perfect day flawlessly mapped out. But there’s one thing Hera and Kane can’t control…their families.

As the biggest mob of Aunties, Uncles and cousins from both sides of the ‘ditch’ get worked up for the blackest wedding ever, reality sinks in fast. Will this international love story bring two strong cultures together, or will it blow Hera and Kane’s world apart?

QT Sydney - 49 Market Street, Sydney
Refer to website for session times | 8 - 26 January
Price: $349 + BF (135min)

An unforgettable evening of fine dining and awe-inspiring illusions with mentalist Scott Silven. Feast on the impossible at an intimate candlelit dinner of fine liquor and gourmet food, led by a charming Scottish raconteur serving absorbing stories, exquisite taste and astonishing illusions of the mind.

Ensemble Theatre - 78 McDougall Street, Kirribilli
Refer to website for session times | 4 January - 8 February
Price: From $74 + BF  (90min)

In 1868, 13 Aboriginal men from country Victoria became the first Australian cricket team to tour England.   Starring Australia’s first Indigenous sporting hero Unaarrimin, AKA Johnny Mullagh, they represented a nation in waiting that wouldn’t recognise their rights – or even their humanity – for another century.

Roslyn Packer Theatre -  22 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Refer to website for session times | 8 - 12 January
Price: $69–$109 + BF (120min)

First published in 1979, Joan Didion’s searing, seminal essay The White Album is a shifting literary mosaic. It takes readers from the Black Panther Trials to a troubled recording session with The Doors, to student sit-ins and strikes, and into the events that put an end to the hazy hopes of the Summer of Love: the Manson Murders.

One thing that is certain is you have so much choice and should not be disappointed. It's worth expanding your comfort zone to take in new experiences  -  you might just be surprised!

Images courtesy of Sydney Festival.